(also Staszyc). Born November 1755, in Pila; died Jan. 20, 1826, in Warsaw. Polish public figure, man of the Enlightenment, publicist, and scholar.
Of bourgeois origin, Staszic was ordained a priest in 1779. He studied first at the theological seminary in Poznań and later at the universities of Leipzig and Göttingen. In 1787 he anonymously published Thoughts on the Life of Jan Zamoyski, in which he criticized the social and political system of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and proposed an antifeudal reform program. Staszic further developed these ideas in his treatise A Warning to Poland (1790), which had a great influence on the Polish Four-year Sejm (1788–92). In 1800 he helped found the Society of Friends of Science in Warsaw, becoming its president in 1808. He played a significant role in promoting public education and strengthening the mining industry in the Kingdom of Poland, where he headed the department of industry and trades from 1816 to 1824.
Staszic summarized his geological research in On the Geology of the Carpathians and Other Mountains and Plains of Poland (1815). His chief philosophical work was the long narrative poem The Human Race (1819–20), an encyclopedia of the Polish Enlightenment. In the spirit of the French Enlightenment writers, Staszic regarded the history of mankind as a stage in the development of nature, and he linked the various historical periods with their dominant form of property. Staszic founded a peasant society in Hrubeszów in 1816, to which he bequeathed his land.
WORKSIn Russian translation:
Izbr. proizv. progressivnykh pol’skikh myslitelei, vol. 1. Moscow, 1956. Pages 101–290.
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1957.
REFERENCESNarskii, I. S. Filosofiiapol’skogoprosveshcheniia. Moscow, 1958.
Osipova, E. V. Filosofiia pol’skogo prosveshcheniia. Moscow, 1961.
I. S. MILLER