Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka

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Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka
Prof.Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka.JPG
Born (1923-02-28)February 28, 1923
Marianowo,[disambiguation needed] Republic of Poland
Died June 7, 2014(2014-06-07)
Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S.
Residence Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S.
Nationality American
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Phenomenology
Main interests
Epistemology, Ontology, Aesthetics

Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka (February 28, 1923 – June 7, 2014) was a Polish-born American philosopher, one of the most important and continuously active contemporary phenomenologists, founder and president of The World Phenomenology Institute, and editor (since its inception in the late 1960s) of the book series Analecta Husserliana, presently published by Springer.[1]


Education and teaching career[edit]

Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka was born into an aristocratic Polish-French family. Her acquaintance with philosophy started at an early age with reading of the fundamental work of Kazimierz Twardowski, the founder of the Lvov–Warsaw Philosophical School, Zur Lehre vom Inhalt und Gegenstand des Vorstellungen (On the content and object of presentations), as well as works by Plato and Bergson. To the philosophy of the latter she was introduced by her mother, Maria-Ludwika de Lanval Tymieniecka.

After the end of World War II she began systematic studies of philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków under the guidance of Roman Ingarden, student of the famous teachers Kazimierz Twardowski and Edmund Husserl. Simultaneously she studied at the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts.

After completing the entire university course within two years she moved to Switzerland to continue studies under another important Polish philosopher and logician, Józef Maria Bocheński, at the University of Fribourg. Her doctoral study, dedicated to explorations of the fundamentals of phenomenology in Nicolai Hartmann and Roman Ingarden's philosophies, was later published as "Essence and Existence" (1957). She obtained her second Ph.D., this time in French philosophy and literature, at the Sorbonne in 1951.

In the years 1952-1953 she did postdoctoral researches in the field of social and political sciences at the College d'Europe in Brugge, Belgium. From that moment on Tymieniecka started her own way in philosophy by developing a special phenomenological attitude that was neither entirely Husserlian, nor entirely Ingardenian.

In 1956 she married Hendrik S. Houthakker, Professor of Economy at Stanford University (1954-1960) and Harvard University (from 1960) and member of President Nixon's Council of Economic Advisers from 1969 to 1971.

In 1979 she published, in collaboration with Karol Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II, an English translation of „Osoba i czyn” (Person and Act). Person and Act, one of Pope John Paul II's foremost literary works, was initially written in Polish but has been translated to French, Italian, German, Spanish and English among other languages. Tymieniecka's English translation is, however, widely criticized. Critics of this work claim that Tymieniecka "changed the Polish translation, confusing its technical language and bending the text to her own philosophical concerns." It is also said that John Paul II did not agree with this translation. Besides, it was published before the definitive edition of the Polish version, which shows that it was not the final version that the author desired. [2] Her critics suggest that the English title used by Tymieniecka, "The Acting Person" is indicative of the problems involved with the work as the author's title was meant to convey the tension between subjective consciousness (person) and objective reality (act), an idea central to the written work and the message the author tried to convey. It is even said that John Paul II did not agree with this translation. Despite widespread disagreement, Tymieniecka continues to insist that her work is the "definitive" English edition of Osoba Y Czyn.[3]

She served as Assistant Professor in Mathematics at the Oregon State College (1955–1956) and Assistant Professor at the Pennsylvania State University (from 1957). She spent the years 1961–1966 at the Institute for Independent Study at Radcliffe College. In 1972–1973 she was Professor of Philosophy at St. John's University.

Foundation of phenomenological societies and the World Phenomenology Institute[edit]

In 1969 Tymieniecka founded the International Husserl and Phenomenological Research Society, in 1974 the International Society for Phenomenology and Literature, and then the International Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences (1976), International Society of Phenomenology, Aesthetics, and Fine Arts (1993) and the Sociedad Ibero-Americana de Fenomenologia (1995). The first three societies comprised the foundation for creation of the World Institute for Advanced Phenomenological Research and Learning in 1976, reorganized later into The World Phenomenology Institute. The initiative to establish this institute was supported, among others, by Roman Ingarden, Emmanuel Levinas, Paul Ricoeur, and Hans-Georg Gadamer as well as by the Director of the Husserl-Archives in Leuven, (Belgium) Herman Leo Van Breda. Since its foundation and up to now Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka has remained its permanent President.

As the president of the World Phenomenology Institute Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka continually organizes numerous international and world phenomenological congresses, conferences and symposia.

Analecta Husserliana[edit]

Since its creation in 1968[4] (though the first book of the series seems to have formally appeared only in 1971), Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka has been the editor of the book series Analecta Husserliana: The Yearbook of Phenomenological Research, which aims to develop and disseminate Edmund Husserl's ideas and phenomenological approach. The series was created as a continuation of Jahrbuch für Philosophie und Phänomenologische Forschung edited by Husserl himself. The main themes of this edition, therefore, are the human being and the human life condition. Not incidentally, these are also the main topics of interest for Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka herself.

In addition to Analecta Husserliana, The World Phenomenology Institute publishes the journal Phenomenological Inquiry, and Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka acts also as Editor of the Springer (formerly Kluwer Academic Publishers) book series: Islamic Philosophy and Occidental Phenomenology in Dialogue,[5] with co-Editors Gholamreza Aavani and Nader El-Bizri.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Tymieniecka, A.-T. Essence et existence: Étude à propos de la philosophie de Roman Ingarden et Nicolai Hartmann (Paris: Aubier, Editions Montaigne, 1957).
  • Tymieniecka, A.-T. For Roman Ingarden; nine essays in phenomenology (’s-Gravenhage: M.Nijhoff, 1959), viii + 179 p.
  • Tymieniecka, A.-T. Phenomenology and science in contemporary European thought. With a foreword by I. M. Bochenski ([New York]: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1962), xxii + 198 p.
  • Tymieniecka, A.-T. Leibniz’ cosmological synthesis (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1964), 207 p.
  • Tymieniecka, A.-T. Why is there something rather than nothing? Prolegomena to the phenomenology of cosmic creation (Assen: Van Gorcum & Comp., 1966), 168 p.
  • Tymieniecka, A.-T. Eros et Logos (Paris: Beatrice-Nauwelaerts, 1972), 127 p.
  • Tymieniecka, A.-T. Logos and Life (Dordrecht; Boston: Kluwer Academic, 1987–2000, 4 vols.).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ June 9, 2014 (2014-06-09). "Obituary: Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka Houthakker". The Belmontonian. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  2. ^ Witness to Hope – The Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Wiegel, 2001, page 174
  3. ^ Witness to Hope – The Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Wiegel, 2001, page 175
  4. ^ "Analecta Husserliana: About the Series". Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  5. ^ "Islamic Philosophy and Occidental Phenomenology in Dialogue: About the Series". Retrieved 2010-09-05. 

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