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Roman Ingarden

Roman Ingarden
Portrait of Roman Ingarden by Witkacy
Born February 5, 1893
Kraków, Poland
Died June 4, 1970 (Aged 77)
Kraków, Poland
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Phenomenology
Main interests
Aesthetics, Epistemology, Humanity, Ontology

Roman Witold Ingarden (; February 5, 1893 – June 14, 1970) was a Polish philosopher who worked in phenomenology, ontology and aesthetics.

Before World War II, Ingarden published his works mainly in the German language. During the war, he switched to Polish, and as a result his major works in ontology went largely unnoticed by the wider world philosophical community.


  • Biography 1
  • Works 2
    • Main works in German 2.1
    • Main works in Polish 2.2
    • Main works translated into English 2.3
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


Ingarden was born in Kraków, Austria-Hungary, on February 5, 1893. He first studied mathematics and philosophy in Lwów under Kazimierz Twardowski, then moved to Göttingen to study philosophy under Edmund Husserl. He was considered by Husserl to be one of his best students and accompanied Husserl to Freiburg, where in 1918 Ingarden submitted his doctoral dissertation with Husserl as director.[1]

Ingarden then returned to Poland, where he spent his academic career after obtaining his doctorate. For a long period he had to support himself by secondary-school teaching. In 1925 he submitted his Habilitationschrift, Essentiale Fragen, to Kazimierz Twardowski at Lwów University (now Lviv in Ukraine). This thesis was noticed by the English-speaking philosophical community. In 1933 the University promoted him to professor. He became well known for his work on The Literary Work of Art.[1]

1939-1941 during the Soviet occupation of Lwów he continued his university activity. After the Operation Barbarossa 1941 under the German occupation Ingarden secretly taught students mathematics and philosophy. After his house was bombed, he continued work on his book, The Controversy over the Existence of the World.[1]

Ingarden became a professor at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń in 1945 shortly after the war, but was banned in 1946 because of the Communist government. He then moved to the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, where he was offered a position. In 1949, however, he was banned from teaching due to his alleged idealism, supposedly being an "enemy of materialism". In 1957 he was reappointed at the Jagiellonian University after the ban was lifted, and so he went on to teach, write and publish. Ingarden died on June 14, 1970 as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage.[1]


Ingarden was a realist phenomenologist, and thus did not accept Husserl's transcendental idealism. His training was phenomenological, nonetheless his work as a whole was directed rather towards ontology. That is why Ingarden is one of the most renowned phenomenological ontologists, as he strove to describe the ontological structure and state of being of various objects based on the essential features of any experience that could provide such knowledge.

The best known works of Ingarden, and the only ones known to most English-speaking readers, concern aesthetics and literature. The exclusive focus on Ingarden's work in aesthetics is to some extent unfortunate and misleading about his overall philosophical standpoint.

Main works in German

  • Intuition und Intellekt bei Henri Bergson, Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1921
  • Essentiale Fragen. Ein Beitrag zum Problem des Wesens, Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1925
  • Das literarische Kunstwerk. Eine Untersuchung aus dem Grenzgebiet der Ontologie, Logik und Literaturwissenschaft, Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1931
  • Untersuchungen zur Ontologie der Kunst: Musikwerk. Bild. Architektur. Film, Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1962
  • Der Streit um die Existenz der Welt, Bd. I, II/I, II/2. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1964
  • Vom Erkennen des literarischen Kunstwerks, Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1968
  • Erlebnis, Kunstwerk und Wert. Vorträge zur Ästhetik 1937-1967, Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1969
  • Über die Verantwortung. Ihre ontischen Fundamente, Stuttgart: Reclam, 1970
  • Über die kausale Struktur der realen Welt. Der Streit um die Existenz der Welt, Band III, Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1974

Main works in Polish

  • Niektóre założenia idealizmu Berkeley'a [Some of the Tenets of  
  • O poznawaniu dzieła literackiego (The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art), Ossolineum, Lwów: 1937
  • O budowie obrazu. Szkic z teorii sztuki (On the Structure of Paintings: A Sketch of the Theory of Art), Rozprawy Wydziału Filozoficznego PAU Vol. LXVII, No.2, Kraków, 1946
  • O dziele architektury (On Architectural Works), Nauka i Sztuka, Vol. II, 1946, No. 1, pp. 3-26 and No. 2, pp. 26-51
  • Spór o istnienie Świata (Controversy over the Existence of the World), PAU, Vol. I, Kraków: 1947, Vol. II, Kraków, 1948
  • Szkice z filozofii literatury (Sketches on the Philosophy of Literature), Vol. 1, Spółdzielnia wydawnicza "Polonista," Łódz, 1947
  • Elementy dzieła muzycznego (The Elements of Musical Works), Sprawozdania Towarzystwa Naukowego w Toruniu, Vol. IX, 1955, Nos. 1-4, pp. 82-84
  • Studia z estetyki (Studies in Aesthetics), PWN, Vol. I Warszawa, 1957, Vol. II, Warszawa, 1958
  • O dziele literackim (On Literary Works). PWN, Warszawa, 1960
  • Przeżycie - dzieło - wartość (Experience - Work of Art - Value). Wydawnictwo Literackie, Kraków, 1966
  • Studia z estetyki Tom III (Studies in Aesthetics, Vol. III), PWN, Warszawa, 1970
  • U podstaw teorii poznania (At the Foundations of the Theory of Knowledge), PWN, Warszawa, 1971
  • Książeczka o człowieku (Little Book About Man), Wydawnictwo Literackie, Kraków, 1972.
  • Utwór muzyczny i sprawa jego tożsamości (The Work of Music and the Problem of Its Identity), Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, Warszawa, 1973.

Main works translated into English

  • Controversy over the Existence of the World. Volume I, translated by Arthur Szylewicz, Bern: Peter Lang, 2013.
  • Time and Modes of Being, (selection from Der Streit, translated by Helen R. Michejda. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, 1964.
  • The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art, Translated by Ruth Ann Crowley and Kenneth R. Olson. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1973
  • The Literary Work of Art, Translated by George G. Grabowicz. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1973
  • Letter to Husserl about the VI [Logical] Investigation and ‘Idealism’ In Tymieniecka, 1976
  • Man and Value, Translated by Arthur Szylewicz. München: Philosophia Verlag, 1983
  • On the Motives which led Edmund Husserl to Transcendental Idealism, Translated by Arnor Hannibalsson. The Hague: 1976
  • The Ontology of the Work of Art, Translated by Raymond Meyer with John T. Goldthwait. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1989
  • Selected Papers in Aesthetics, Ed. by Peter J. McCormick, München: Philosophia Verlag,1985

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Roman Ingarden (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)". Retrieved 2008-06-04. 

Further reading

  • J. Mitscherling Roman Ingarden's Ontology and Aesthetics, Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1997.
  • Robert Magliola, "Part II, Chapter 2: Roman Ingarden," in Robert Magliola, Phenomenology and Literature: An Introduction (Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 1977; 1978), pp. 107-141 [see review by W. Wolfgang Holdheim in Diacritics, Vol. 9, No. 2 (summer 1979), via JSTOR, here].

External links

  • The Roman Ingarden Philosophical Research Centre
  • Roman Ingarden, by Amie Thomasson, at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Polish Philosophy Page: Roman Ingarden
  • Theory and History of Ontology: Roman Ingarden: Ontology as a Science on the Possible Ways of Existence
  • Annotated bibliography of and about Ingarden
  • "Roman Ingarden’s Objectivity vs. Subjectivity as a problem of Translatability", by Gabriel Pareyon
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