Toward the non-cognitive humanities: A case of Bauman’s Culture as Praxis
Stanisław Pietraszko, the founder of the Wrocław school of cultural studies, argued that, while a part of the humanities might be roughly described as a quest for knowledge, there is also a different style of humanistic inquiry which he called the non-cognitive humanities, characterized as expressive, creative and valuative, nevertheless requiring knowledge about the human world. Normative poetics and religious texts are the examples of this kind of the humanities. Not long before his death, Pietraszko managed only to sketch this idea without giving any hints on how to practice or study the non-cognitive humanities. This paper attempts to apply Pietraszko’s concept in order to analyse Zygmunt Bauman’s Culture as Praxis and its ideological context. Bauman, openly declaring himself a socialist, encourages us to liberate ourselves from various social oppressions. The ultimate goal of his work is not only to state what the world is but to evaluate and, following Marx, to change it. In this respect Bauman’s writings’ affinity to the non-cognitive humanities seems rather indisputable. Moreover, this text deals with more general questions on the non-cognitive humanities, their relations to culture and the possible future directions in research on this topic.