Primary research areas in philosophy focus on:
- history of philosophy;
- contemporary philosophical orientations and debates;
- cognitive processes;
- methodology and philosophy of science
- issues of contemporary culture;
- philosophical anthropology;
- practical philosophy with emphasis on business ethics.
Apart from these the Institute carries out long-term historical, bibliographical and editorial projects. Historians of ancient philosophy are currently involved in the study of Plato and philosophy in late antiquity. Another important area of research is comparative study of ancient and mediaeval philosophy. Studies in mediaeval philosophy focus on Paris Averroism and philosophical discussions on the cognitive status of theology. Particular stress has been put on the studies of the heritage of Central Europe. Editorial work has been done on manuscripts from Polish and Czech collections (Benedict Hesse, Konrad of Sołtowo, Mikołaj Biceps, Heimeryk de Campo).
The Institute has been engaged in a project, financed by the Committee for Scientific Research (KBN), to catalogue mediaeval manuscripts at the Jagiellonian Library. In the area of modern philosophy editorial work on a seven-volume edition of Andrew Dudith’s correspondence is in progress. Research is also carried out into Italian Aristotelian philosophy, the philosophy of the Polish Renaissance (Bartłomiej Keckermann) and the thought of the Polish Enlightenment, Hugo Kołłątaj’s works in particular. Modern philosophy studies focus on 19th century German philosophy as well as Russian, Spanish and Polish philosophy of the 19th and 20th century.
For a number of years IFiS has witnessed and responded to a growing interest in philosophical anthropology: from reflections that continue classical achievements (Scheler, Lorenz, Plessner) through anthropology inspired by psychoanalysis, to the original project of apophatic anthropology. Both the individual and collective research projects at IFiS (philosophical and sociological alike) focus increasingly on cultural issues.
In recent years research has been conducted into the media and visuality in contemporary culture; it resulted in publications on the role of narration, feminist thought, the cultural representations of death and the category of fate. What has radically evolved in the Institute recently are studies in the history of religion. They take the form of interdisciplinary studies of social religious phenomena and religious consciousness. Researchers increasingly focus on new religious movements in Central European countries. From its beginning the Institute was involved in research into the philosophy of science and epistemology, supplemented recently by epistemic logic and research into philosophy and cognitive sciences combined. Studies in this field comprise:
- the formal structure of scientific and non-scientific cognition;
- the theory of knowledge and the methodological issues of teaching logic;
- methodology of science;
- the problem of the cognitive subject;
- the philosophical aspects of contemporary physics;
- the cognitive status of protobiology.
The Institute runs two programs in practical philosophy: in praxiology and in the ethics of business. For over forty years the Institute has collected bibliographical data for the comprehensive bibliography of Polish philosophy. Volume IV has just been finished, covering works up to 1918, with most materials for volume V (the inter-war period) already collected. An important part of the Institute’s mission is to preserve high standards of philosophical publications. The Institute is a publisher or co-publisher of seven journals. In order to promote Polish philosophy abroad, the Polish Philosophical Review (in English) was launched in 2002. The editor and the editorial board of the PPR have been appointed on the basis of a national competition. The editorial board represents all the major philosophical centres in Poland.
Work on the first volumes is now in progress. The Institute is engaged in initiatives to popularise philosophy. For several years our philosophers have taken part in Festival of Science, an annual event aimed at popularisation of science in Poland. Part of the festival is a philosophical workshop for young people conducted at the Institute. In co-operation with Collegium Civitas the Institute runs a master program in philosophy. The Institute is engaged in initiatives to popularise philosophy. For several years our philosophers have taken part in Festival of Science, an annual event aimed at popularisation of science in Poland. Part of the festival is a philosophical workshop for young people conducted at the Institute. In co-operation with Collegium Civitas the Institute runs a master program in philosophy.