Kotarbińska, Janina

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KOTARBIŃSKA, JANINA (b. Dina Sztejnbarg ; 1901–1997), Polish philosopher. Kotarbińska was born in Warsaw, and at Warsaw University became the closest pupil of the foremost Polish philosopher, Tadeusz Kotarbiński, whom she married after World War ii. In prewar Poland she was one of the few Jewish scholars to obtain even a modest academic post; in 1934 she received the status of a privatdocent and worked as a senior assistant in the philosophy department at Warsaw University. Her prewar work was devoted to the methodology of empirical sciences, her main published study dealing with the problem of indeterminism in physics, biology, and the humanities (1932–33). She survived both the German prison in Warsaw and Auschwitz. Immediately after the war she was appointed associate – and eventually full – professor of logic and methodology of science at Warsaw. Her later work was devoted mainly to the theory of definition, especially ostensive definition, and to semantics, in which she made an extensive study of the concept of sign. During the 1960s she served as dean of the Faculty of Humanities and chairman of the Department of Logic at Warsaw University.

[Edward I.J. Poznanski]