The Plurality of Realities

Collected Essays

Leon Chwistek. Translated with an introduction by Karol Chrobak.

Jagiellonian University Press

The Plurality of Realities

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Pub Date: September 2018

ISBN: 9788323344360

242 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $50.00£40.00

The Plurality of Realities

Collected Essays

Leon Chwistek. Translated with an introduction by Karol Chrobak.

Jagiellonian University Press

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The Plurality of Realities contains four texts by Leon Chwistek that deal with his original philosophical conception called the theory of plurality of realities. This collection is essential not only for understanding the full-fledged version of Chwistek’s conception but also for surveying its development over a span of five years (1916–1921). Reading these essays in chronological order allows us to notice all stages of its development, beginning with its first sketches, drawn in the book Meaning and Reality, where only two realities are considered, and finishing with Chwistek’s most famous essay, The Plurality of Realities, in which he discusses four different realities: the reality of things, the reality of physics, the reality of impressions, and the reality of imaginations. The collection is preceded by two introductory essays by Karol Chrobak. The first presents Leon Chwistek against the background of the intellectual, cultural, and political life of the interwar period in Poland. The second focuses on Chwistek’s conception of the plurality of realities and gives a critical account of its most widespread interpretations.

About the Author

Leon Chwistek (1884–1944) was one of the most emblematic personalities of the interwar period in Poland. His versatile interests were manifested in as varied disciplines as philosophy, mathematics, logics, art, and literature. To philosophy he contributed with the theory of plurality of realities, and to art with two original artistic trends: zonism and motivism. Born in Zakopane, he spent most of his life in Krakow, where he was well known as an avant-garde intellectual and member of the artistic group called the Formists. In the 1930s he moved to Lvov, where he was appointed to the chair of philosophy at the University of Jan Kazimierz. After the outbreak of the World War II, he remained in Soviet-occupied Lvov, and in 1941, after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, he fled first to Georgia and then to Moscow, where he participated in the formation of the Union of Polish Patriots.


Karol Chrobak is assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences SGGW. His main field of interest is Polish and German contemporary philosophy. His PhD thesis was about Leon Chwistek’s critical rationalism (Niejedna rzeczywistość. Racjonalizm krytyczny Leona Chwistka, published in Polish in 2004) and his Habilitation thesis treated Helmuth Plessner’s philosophical anthropology (Między naturą a kulturą. Filozofia życia Helmutha Plessnera, published in Polish in 2014).