Biografía de Kazimierz Twardowski

¿Quién fue Kazimierz Twardowski?

Kazimierz Twardowski (3 de febrero de 1866, Grodek near Lviv — 18 de septiembre de 1938, Viena) was a Polish philosopher (simultaneously a philosopher of mind and a linguist) and a professor at the Lwów Polytechnic. In philosophy he is particularly noted for his work on intentionality and his revision of Brentano’s Theory of Descriptions, and in linguistics he advocated the study of language from a perspective that combined attention to formal rules and consideration of the Husserlian notion of intention.


Twardowski was born in the village of Grodek in southern Galicia, just west of Lviv. Admitted to Lviv University in 1886, Twardowski studied philosophy under Ingarden, Bocheński, Leśniewski, and Smolorzewski. From 1889 to 1891 he also studied natural sciences, earning a degree in physics and engineering, before returning to the study of philosophy alone. Although he suspected that he would never be a practicing engineer, he returned to the Lviv Polytechnic, where he began teaching philosophy and logic.

In 1900 Twardowski contributed a short work, On the Content and Object of Presentations, to the first issue of the journal Acta Philosophica Fennica. In it he laid out two opposed conceptions of intentionality—the first attributing intentionality to mental states, and the second to acts. This essay launched his career as a philosopher, and he would explore the consequences of his distinction between states and acts in a series of works, culminating in his book On the Content and Object of Presentations: A Psychological Investigation (1911).

In May 1914, Twardowski was awarded a professorship and became the head of Lviv University’s Department of Philosophy. In his first semester he taught a popular logic course to 300 students, although it was officially a free elective with no requirements. In that same year he delivered the Lauréat Discourse at the Academic Francophone Association (Association Francophone Académique) and was elected to its board. In 1916 he became a full member of the Lviv Academy of Sciences, and in 1923 he became a full member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (Polska Akademia Umiejętności) in Kraków.

In the 1920s Twardowski contributed to the philosophy of science by introducing the idea that a scientific theory can be evaluated according to the scope, degree of confirmation, level of disagreement, and so forth. He argued that no theory can be known to be true, but at most can be known to be useful in a particular way. In 1927 Twardowski founded the Lviv Seminar for Problems in the Methodology and History of Science (a forerunner of today’s Lwik seminar) and presided over it as its chairman.

Twardowski also participated in the formalization of modern Husserlian phenomenology. He published several articles on Husserl’s notion of intentionality, some of them (like the essay «Intentionality in Elements of Phenomenology») in German and French dealing with Husserl’s ideas on the subject and others (like the article «Husserl’s Perceptions and Their Objects») that attacked Husserl’s ideas and offered arguments in favor of a more psychological perspective. In 1933 Twardowski delivered the inaugural lecture for the newly founded Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in New York (the first event of its kind), about the phenomenological method.

Twardowski didn’t remain in Lwów for long after the death of Husserl in 1938. In September he went to Jasło (a spa town in southern Poland) in search of help for his rheumatic illness, but instead settled in Vienna, where his wife had already found a job. In Vienna, he became the chairman of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences, while also working as a private professor at Vienna University. He died from meningitis the following month.

Theory of mind

According to Twardowski, intentionality is the characteristic of psychological phenomena; i.e., it is that aboutness which constitutes the very being of thoughts, desires, etc. [Twardowski 1969, chapters 5, 6]

According to Twardowski intentionality is relation to contents. [Twardowski 1927]

In addition, one can become acquainted with the content by means of presentation, which is a state (mental state) with a content. Presentations differ from each other in their states. It is important to differentiate content and object in the case of presentation presentational object. They are fundamentally different: while content is simply a correlate of the subject, presentational object is existent (reals or created by the imagination) and it is in the content.

Escrito por: Gonzalo Jiménez

Licenciado en Filosofía en la Universidad de Granada (UGR), con Máster en Filosofía Contemporánea en la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM)
Desde 2015, se ha desempeñado como docente universitario y como colaborador en diversas publicaciones Académicas, con artículos y ensayos. Es aficionado a la lectura de textos antiguos y le gustan las películas y los gatos.