'The most esteemed philosopher to have produced a general introduction to his discipline since Bertrand Russell' Independent
In these essays, one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century writes about communism and socialism, the problem of evil, Erasmus and the reform of the Church, reason and truth, and whether God is happy. Accessible and absorbing, the essays in Is God Happy? deal with some of the eternal problems of philosophy and the most vital questions of our age.
Leszek Kolakowski has also written on religion, Spinoza, Bergson, Pascal and seventeenth-century thought. He left communist Poland after his expulsion from Warsaw University for anti-communist activities. From 1970 he was a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.
'His distinctive mix of irony and moral seriousness, religious sensibility and epistemological scepticism, social engagement and political doubt was truly rare ... a true Central European intellectual-perhaps the last' Tony Judt, The New York Times Review of Books
Leszek Kolakowski (1927-2009), born in Radom, Poland, was Professor of the History of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw until expelled from that post for political reasons by the Communist authorities in 1968. He left Poland that same year and from 1970 was Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He was also Professor at the Committee on Social Thought at the University at Chicago. He is the author of, among others, Main Currents of Marxism, Religion, Bergson, God Owes us Nothing and Horror Metaphysicus; a large number of essay collections, among them Modernity on Endless Trial, The Two Eyes of Spinoza, Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? and Freedom, Fame, Lying and Betrayal; and three books of stories, The Key to Heaven, Conversations with the Devil and Tales from the Kingdom of Lailonia. He was the recipient of many honorary doctorates, both in Europe and in the US, and many prizes and awards - among them the Erasmus Prize, the Prix Tocqueville, the Jefferson Prize, the MacArthur award and the Kluge Prize.