Professor Peter Simons – Elected to Prestigious Polska Akademia Nauk (PAN)

16 February 2018

Peter Simons, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Trinity, has recently been elected to the prestigious Polish Academy of Sciences (Polska Akademia Nauk, PAN) as a Foreign Member. The Academy, which was established in 1951, is Poland’s leading scientific body. Election of foreign members is rare, especially in the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, where Professor Simons is currently the only philosopher among 29 foreign members. Professor Simons is only the second member elected from Ireland, after Professor James Dooge.

In a letter to Professor Simons, PAN’s President, Professor Jerzy Duszyński, said: “The distinction constitutes a clear indication of our great appreciation and of your leading position in science, as well as of your significant contribution to the development of scientific cooperation with Poland.”

Professor Simons’ interests include metaphysics, ontology, the history of logic, the history of Central European Philosophy, and the application of metaphysics to engineering and other non-philosophical disciplines, has been elected in recognition of his contribution to scientific thought in Poland. He  began researching into modern Polish philosophy and logic in the 1970s, and established himself as an authority on the Lvov–Warsaw School, specialising in particular in the logical researches of Jan Łukasiewicz and Stanisław Leśniewski, as well as the ontology of Roman Ingarden.

Reacting to the news, Professor Simons said, “Election as a Foreign Member is a rare privilege. Having studied the Polish tradition in philosophy and logic for many years and admired their tremendous intellectual achievement and moral fortitude, I am extremely delighted and honoured to have been elected to the Academy, whose former members include such great philosophers as Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz, Tadeusz Kotarbiński, Roman Ingarden, Józef Bocheński, Mieczysław Krąpiec and Leszek Kołakowski, but also the great post-war Polish thinkers in other disciplines. The story of how Polish philosophy came to prominence and its logic to world-leading status in the early twentieth century is one of the great chapters in the history of contemporary letters. The seriousness and precision of Polish thought in this period, as well as their prescient advancement of women, constitutes a veritable new enlightenment, whose example may serve for all cultures striving to free themselves from former domination.”

Professor Simons has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 2004, and chaired their Philosophy Section from 2007-11.  In 2006 he was elected to the Academia Europaea and in 2013 to the Royal Irish Academy.

Further information regarding Trinity’s Department of Philosophy may be found here.

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