Leszek Kolakowski was awarded the 2003 Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity. Writing from within the Soviet system, Kolakowski’s voice was influential across Europe and provided the intellectual foundation for the Solidarity movement in Poland. Kolakowski authored more than 30 books and 400 other writings in a variety of formats and in four languages: Polish, French, English and German. His principal lines of inquiry were in the history of philosophy and the philosophy of religion. In addition to his sustained anti-dogmatic philosophical inquiries, his essays used charm, resourcefulness and gentle self-mockery to raise questions about the sometimes mindless modernity of contemporary Europe and North America. His ideas informed the anti-totalitarian youth movement inside Poland, and he became an adviser and active supporter of the Solidarity movement that challenged and began unraveling the Soviet system in Eastern Europe.

For transcript and more information, visit