Lem at Amazon

Stanislaw Lem at Amazon

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„Philosophy of Chance” opens with a reflection on the theory of literature;  Lem seems angry at learned professors and eventually tries to create an adequate concept of literary work that would herald new trends in literary criticism.  However – as frequently with Lem's essays – his argument grows and becomes „a theory of everything”, turning to the apology of chance as a universal factor that helps understand mechanisms of all sorts of evolutions;  it determines us, the universe, the world of living creatures and culture  in which we grow. 

Literature is one of those spheres of human activity that is both marginal and inconceivable, because its theory is entangled in biology and — author’s and reader’s — psychology, in their sociology, in the theory of organization and information, aesthetics, epistemology, cultural anthropology, and so on. One can therefore proceed in two ways: either scientifically i.e. rationally by announcing what belongs to the theory of literature in the strict sense while in all entangled issues by referring to the relevant sciences. Or foolishly, by trying to find out ”everything" related to literature on one’s own, within the volume of one book written by one man.