Ossowski first contributed to logic and aesthetics before moving on to sociology. He studied philosophy at the University of Warsaw, his teachers were i.a. Tadeusz Kotarbiński, Jan Łukasiewicz and Władysław Tatarkiewicz. He also studied in Paris (Collège de France), in Rome and in London. He took part in the 1920 war. Doctorate (Analysis of the notion of a sign, 1925) wrote to Tadeusz Kotarbiński at the University of Warsaw. He took part in the September campaign. He spent the occupation in Lviv and Warsaw. He taught sociology at an underground university.
He was a proponent of humanistic sociology and antinaturalism, differentiating between the natural sciences and the social sciences. He believed that all phenomena of social life had a consciousness aspect. For example, a social bond, especially ethnic or national, is the result of imaginations and beliefs. Their pathological forms, such as racism or chauvinism, were strongly denounced by Ossowski, while praising positive manifestations such as patriotism ("private homeland" or "ideological homeland").
In 1949 Ossowski was a founding member, and from 1959 to 1962 vice-president, of the International Sociological Association. In 1956 he was a founding member of the reactivated Polish Sociological Association and became its first president (1957–63).
In 1951 he was removed from teaching. He was returned to the right to conduct classes after Polish October 56.
An indication of the esteem in which he was held by certain sections of Polish society is a statue of him erected in Central Warsaw.
- U podstaw estetyki (1933)
- Nauka o nauce (1935)
- Więź społeczna i dziedzictwo krwi (1939)
- Struktura klasowa w społecznej świadomości (1957)
- O osobliwościach nauk społecznych (1962)
- O ojczyźnie i narodzie (1984)
- Originally published in Polish as "Nauka o nauce" in the Polish journal Nauka Polska (Polish Science), vol. XX, no. 3, 1935; reprinted in English in Bohdan Walentynowicz, ed., Polish Contributions to the Science of Science, 1982, ISBN 83-01-03607-9, pp. 82-95.
- A synonym for "science of science" is the back-formed term "logology" (Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' Pharaoh: the Creation of a Historical Novel", The Polish Review, vol. XXXIX, no. 1, 1994, note 3, pp. 45–46; Stefan Zamecki, Komentarze do naukoznawczych poglądów Williama Whewella (1794–1866): studium historyczno-metodologiczne [Commentaries to the Logological Views of William Whewell (1794–1866): A Historical-Methodological Study], Warsaw, Polish Academy of Sciences, 2012, ISBN 978-83-86062-09-6, [English-language] summary, pp. 741–43). The term "logology" provides convenient grammatical variants not available with the earlier terms, "science of science" and "sociology of science": i.e., "logologist", "to logologize", "logological", "logologically".
- Bohdan Walentynowicz, ed., Polish Contributions to the Science of Science, Dordrecht, D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1982, ISBN 83-01-03607-9.