In this issue of Societas/Communitas we pay tribute to Ossowska (1896-1974) as well as to the plurality of research themes developed by her and her followers. For founders of our Institute, Ossowska was the Teacher; some had been her students, some had the privilege of working with her as assistants. The year 2017 will be the 70th anniversary of the publication of Foundations of the Science of Morality (Podstawy nauki o moralności, Warsaw 1947) by Maria Ossowska. We may consider it a paradox that the plea for value-free and non-normative ethics was written by a person who was witnessing and actively resisting the totalitarian racist national socialism that was exterminating millions of people because they did not fit its racist vision of a healthy and pure breed. But it was the culmination of decade-long work in which every argument that moral judgments may be logically deduced from empirical observations was duly considered but inevitably refuted. And despite the next totalitarian system that was to shortly silence Ossowska, she soon added the psychology of the normative (Motywy postepowania, Warsaw 1949), followed by her major opus on Bourgeois Morality (Moralność mieszczańska, Warsaw 1956), and then the first version of the Sociology of Morals (Socjologia moralności, PWN, Warsaw 1963), Moral Thought of the English Enlightenment (Myśl moralna Oswiecenia angielskiego, PWN, Warsaw 1966), and Moral Norms (Normy moralne, PWN, Warsaw 1970) addressed to teachers and reminding them of norms that otherwise would escape their attention due to absence from both official Marxist ethical teaching and its arch-enemy, official Catholic ethics. The last book, long in preparation, was The Chivalric Ethos and Its Varieties (Etyka rycerska i jej odmiany, PWN Warsaw 1973).
After the introductory commemorative articles the editorial debate attempts a re-appraisal of Ossowska’s work by an international group of philosophers, ethicians and sociologists of morals. The articles in both subsequent sections deal with various normative aspects of social life, and justify our claim that in the more general concept of ethos the sociological study of morals and sociological study of law are merging and that the sociology of law, which has its own intellectual pedigree, cannot be separated from the sociology of morals.