The purpose of this study is to describe the development of philosophy in Poland since the end of the Second World War and the development of Marxist-Leninist philosophy which, owing to international political events, has assumed an important role in the intellectual life of contemporary Poland. This task could not have been accomplished without relating post-war developments to those of the interwar period. Consequently, the period studied covers the years 1918-1958.
Yet another extension was necessary. Marxism-Leninism regards sociology as a part of philosophy. Moreover, Marxism-Leninism often resorts to sociology to support or justify some of its philosophical views. Finally, its criticism of 'bourgeois philosophy' is often concerned with social philosophy and sociological theories which supposedly are implicit or explicit in 'bourgeois philosophy'. For this reason it was desirable to consider in this study some theoretical and methodological problems of the social sciences. They are taken into account when they illuminate philosophical controversies or the evolution of Marxist-Leninist philosophy.
Marxism-Leninism is not only a new line of development but also a new point of departure in Polish philosophy. It provides a striking contrast with the established philosophical tradition which originated roughly at the time when G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell initiated the analytical trend in English philosophy. The contrast can be epitomised by the contradistinction of philosophy and ideology, chosen as the title of this study.
To make this point clear, it was necessary to inquire more closely into some of the philosophical theories of Marxism-Leninism. In view of the fact that the more specifically philosophical parts of Marxism-Leninism are little known. this detailed inquiry might hold some intrinsic interest. It considerably enlarged the scope and length of this study, but also revealed some new facts which shed light on the changes wrought in Marxism-Leninism under the impact of its encounter with academic philosophy.
Considering the ideological nature of Marxism-Leninism, its rise in Poland was bound to lead to sharp clashes of philosophical attitudes and opinions. Owing to political circumstances, these clashes turned into an internecine war, which Marxism-Leninism declared upon the existing philosophical tradition, its methods and techniques, its general programme and particular views. The war was not waged solely by intellectual means and did not respect the procedures necessary in the search for truth. Yet the outcome of this conflict was not the destruction of philosophy by ideology. On the contrary, it was ideology which slowly changed its initial position, reducing its claims, revising its points of view, modernising its outlook, and discovering the value of objectivity, logical consistency and free inquiry.