Witold Marciszewski. Dr.Habil., Ordinary Professor.
Home and for Correspondence Address: 00-864 Warszawa, PL, Krochmalna 3 m.917
CURRICULUM. PhD 1959 at KUL (Catholic University of Lublin). Diss. on a scholastic theory of necessary propositions compared with modern theories of analyticity, supervised by S.Kaminski.In my early youth, I was impressed by logical empiricism as the claim to build the whole knowledge on sense perceptions and to mould it into a logically formalized system. Encouraged by J.Iwanicki and J.Kalinowski, my professors of logic, I tried to adopt this methodological doctrine to Thomistic philosophy in which the empirical attitude and logical rigour of Aristotle were appreciated.
- 1956-1961, lecturing at KUL: courses on logic, methodology of philosophy, history of modern philosophy.
Though the enterprise proved hopeless, my professors merited sincere thanks. The obstinate attempts at justifying philosophical insights on the basis of observational statements, proceessed by formalized deduction, occasioned my involvement both in the problems of empiricism and in mechanized reasoning (mechanization being meant as machine implementation of a formalized reasoning). The way from the scholastic dream of formalization to eager reading Hilbert, and then to learning computers, proved fairly straight.CURRICULUM cont. In 1961 I left KUL, and engaged myself in a research project run by Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz in the Logic Department of Polish Academy of Sciences. My contribution resulted in the article `Reductionism in the light of an analysis of observation statements' (Studia Filozoficzne, English Version, 1963), and paved the way to the employment in the Chair of Logic at Warsaw University (then held by Janina Kotarbinska, previously by Tadeusz Kotarbinski) in 1963-72.In the course of that research, I had opportunity to discuss with Ajdukiewicz the Vienna Circle's empiricist reductionism, examined by me through a logical analysis of conceptual prerequisities of observation procedures. The point (stated in the article quoted above) is to the effect that:
Thus some primitive concepts, presupposed in empirical sciences, prove non-empirical, hence they must be defined by propositions being non-empirical postulates.
- such procedures give rise to sentences which have to be stated in terms of observational predicates,
- those have to be introduced (to the language in question) through ostensive definitions,
- and those presuppose the notion of equivalence class,
- while that notion cannot be defined ostensively again, without committing vicious circle or infinite regress.
- This conclusion is fairly trivial, but was deemed unscientific by most Warsaw philosophers of that time, firmly believing in positivistic dogmas. This was my first step toward the theory od innate ideas, like that of Leibniz.CURRICULUM cont. The degree of Dr. Habilitated - in the scope of logic - in Fall 1971 on the basis of dissertation Podstawy logicznej teorii przekonan [Foundations of Logical Theories of Belief], PWN 1972.The habilitation thesis - as quoted above (1972) - provides devices to describe logical behaviour of rational beliefs. It suggests how to make some classical conceptions of rational belief more precise, owing to meaning postulates which make use of classical logical constants.
- In 1972 nominated for Docent (independent position in research and teaching), I moved to the branch of Warsaw University in Bialystok to establish, 1975, Department of Logic, now run by me under the name `Chair of Logic, Informatics and Philosophy of Science'.
- 1979: Extraordinary Professor; 1987: Ordinary Professor (then in the sense like that in Germany and Austria; now this term has a misleading sense).
- From 1980, Sept. to 1981, Febr. - Vicerector of the University of Warsaw in the charge of managing its Branch in Bialystok (dismissed by the military rule authorities).
- In 1981 there appears with Nijhoff, the Hague, Dictionary of Logic as Applied in the Study of Language. Concepts, Methods, Theories - editor, and Author of the half of the volume (Polish version in 1987 with PWN).
- 1985 - a series of lectures in the Netherlands at the invitation of Beth Foundation.
- 1987 Visiting Professor at the Institute of Philosophy, Salzburg University (seminar on Leibniz, etc).
- In 1988 there appears Categorial Grammar, Benjamins, in whose editing I collaborated with J. Van Benthem and W.Buszkowski; as an author I contributed a historical study and a case study on an approach to natural language.
DIRECTOR OF STATE-SPONSORED RESEARCH PROJECTS
- 1987-90: Logical Systems and Algoritms for Proof-Checking - the project involving a dozen teams and particular projects, whose main success is Mizar. It resulted in two textbooks of "mizar-ed" logic (by G.Malinowski and by M.Mostowski), the volume Mechanization of Reasoning in a Historical Perspective, Rodopi, Amsterdam 1995, by W.Marciszewski and R.Murawski, and - most important - an extensive, automated and proof-checked, library of mathematical texts, run until now by Mizar's author A.Trybulec.
- 1992-94: An Electronic Information System for Philosophy in Poland; resulted (after a series of transformations) in this domain "calculemus", and in a book for Internet users (in Polish) by W.Marciszewski.
- 1997-99: Inquiries into Natural and Artificial Intelligence based on Automation of Reasoning. Managed together with K.Trzesicki and R.Matuszewski, supported by the governmental Committee for Electronics, Computer Science and Telecommunication.
In 1994 there appears my book Logic from a Rhetorical Point of View, de Gruyter. Its key notion is that of internal code in human bodies to connect Pascal's idea of esprit de finesse, Leibnizian rationalistic nativism, and von Neumann's comparison between the computer and the brain (as to differences between their codes). Esprit de finesse is explained as a use of so coded nonverbal knowledge - operating according to inborn logic - in the processes of cognition and, specially, communication (hence its rhetorical import). Some of these ideas are also found in Mechanization of Reasoning (see above, item 1 in Research Projects).
- My address to Leibniz Gesellschaft (June 1995) `Hätte Leibniz von Neumann's logischen Physicalismus geteilt?' gives rise to a number of papers in which I discuss von Neumann's and Turing's approaches to the hardware-software relation as well as find a bit of Turing and a bit of von Neumann, these "bits" opposing each other, in Leibniz's philosophy of mind and matter.
- Two opposite approaches, the rationalistic, supported by a theory of deductive proof (Descartes) and the empiristic, supported by a theory of probablity (Hume, etc), are examined. These opposite approaches, though, have in common that the process of forming rational beliefs is in them deemed as entirely belonging to the level of consciousness. The book does not exceed that consciousness-oriented paradigm.
- When seeing it from a perspective which came later - due to studies in Pascal and Leibniz (both omitted in my thesis), and a familarity with computers - human beliefs happen to be more rational than either Descartes or Hume dreamt of. They are so because of some non-conscious mechanisms of information processing, a part of this information being somehow innate (eg, grammatical structures, as claimed by Chomsky) and, posssibly, unconscious too.
- These mechanisms enjoy rationality which may attache to biological processes, and to some extent can be understood owing to analogies with computers. A lot of our beliefs results from such a processing of inborn information items, without our being aware either of these processs.
The point to sum up this story might be as follows.
Contrary to the common view, following Descartes, the processing of information is no priviledge of the human conscious mind. Instead, it is ubiquitous in Nature, including animal brains and cells (some day it may prove to occur at the level of quanta and even below - in accordance with Leibniz's idea of `divine computation').
However, the emergence of human consciousness means a revolutionary turn in the world of information. To trace its consequences and their feedback on the preconscious information processing, to find out the roles of langauge and logis in that scenario - these are the issues for a continued quest.