Roman Ingarden

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Roman Ingarden
Witkacy Roman Ingarden 1937.jpg
Portrait of Roman Ingarden by Witkacy
BornFebruary 5, 1893
DiedJune 4, 1970 (aged 77)
Alma mater Lwów University
University of Freiburg
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Phenomenology
Realist phenomenology
Neoplatonism [1]
Main interests
Aesthetics, epistemology, formal ontology

Roman Witold Ingarden ( /ɪnˈɡɑːrdən/ ; 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.


Ingarden was born in Kraków, Austria-Hungary, on February 5, 1893. He first studied mathematics and philosophy at the Lwów University 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 the University of Freiburg, where in 1918 Ingarden submitted his doctoral dissertation with Husserl as director. [3] The title of his thesis was Intuition und Intellekt bei Henri Bergson ("Intuition and Intellect in Henri Bergson").

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 ("Essential Questions"), to Kazimierz Twardowski at Lwów University. This thesis was noticed by the English-speaking philosophical community. [4] In 1933 the University promoted him to professor. He became well known for his work on The Literary Work of Art [3] (Das literarische Kunstwerk. Eine Untersuchung aus dem Grenzgebiet der Ontologie, Logik und Literaturwissenschaft, 1931).

From 1939 to 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. [3]

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. [3]


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 towards ontology. That is why[ citation needed ] 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 widely known to English-speaking readers, concern aesthetics and literature. The exclusive focus on Ingarden's work in aesthetics does not reflect Ingarden's overall philosophical standpoint, which is focused on the ideas regarding formal, existential and material ontology set forth in his Controversy over the Existence of the World.

Main works in German

Main works in Polish

Main works translated into English

See also

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  1. ]]
  2. Wolfgang Huemer, "Husserl's critique of psychologism and his relation to the Brentano school", in: Arkadiusz Chrudzimski and Wolfgang Huemer (eds.), Phenomenology and Analysis: Essays on Central European Philosophy, Walter de Gruyter, 2004, p. 210.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Roman Ingarden (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)" . Retrieved 2015-12-04.
  4. See the review by Gilbert Ryle, Mind, 36, 1927, pp. 366–370.

Further reading