Andrzej Szahaj, born in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in 1958. Ph.D. from the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań. Associate Professor at the Institute of Philosophy, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń.
Mellon Fellow (1 September 1998 – 31 January 1999)
During my stay at NIAS I succeeded in finishing my book devoted to the problems of the philosophical and political ideas of good life and good society seen in the perspective of the famous debate between liberals and communitarians. In the volume I reconstruct and evaluate main arguments of liberals (J. Rawls, R. Rorty, J. Gray), communitarians (A. MacIntyre, Ch. Taylor, M. Sandel, M. Walzer, A. Etzioni), republican liberals (Q. Skinner, R. Dagger) and universalists (J. Habermas, K.O. Apel) concerning the way in which good life and good society should be projected. I try to defend liberalism showing that it can be reconstructed in such a way as to absorb some elements of critique directed against it by the above-mentioned thinkers. I call this new version of liberalism postmodern liberalism and try to prove that it can be treated as a very good political project for countries such as Poland.
In my book I also demonstrate that a certain new vision of community can be constructed. This new community should be inclusive rather than exclusive, open to new members, free from coercion and domination. A new sense of citizenship, membership, solidarity and self-management should be the main feature of it. In such a community, which is the most important element in the political project of postmodern liberalism, the value of individuality would be connected with a full understanding of the role of brotherhood in human life.