The Institute of Philosophy of the University of Zagreb was founded in Zagreb on 27 June 1967 by Decision of the University Advisory Council. As an independent institute organised within Zagreb University, it operated until 1 November 1977, when, in compliance with the regulations of the Scientific Activity Act, it merged with the Centre for Historical Sciences, constituted in 1974 of three institutes in the field of the humanities: Institute of Croatian History, Institute of Art History, and Institute of Archeology. From the merging onwards it was known as Department of the History of Philosophy of the Centre for Historical Sciences, having also redefined its basic research orientation, because all Institute’s departments, with the exception of the Department of the Research of the History of Croatian Philosophy, merged with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. In 1991 the Institute witnessed another change of status: by a decree of the Council of the Institute of the Historical Sciences issued on 17 September 1991, Department of the History of Philosophy was to continue work independently as Institute of Philosophy of the University of Zagreb at a new address and modern premises – Avenija Vukovar 54, Zagreb. This decision was confirmed by the Assembly of Zagreb University of 26 November 1991. According to the Institutions Act in 1993 the Institute became a public research institute outside of the University.
The Institute systematically explores the history of philosophy, in particular the history of Croatian philosophy, as well as basic philosophical problems. Moreover, it systematically and continuously collects philosophical works, in particular Croatian philosophical works, as well as organises their research, translation and publication. Concerning the research into the history of Croatian philosophy, it is, on the one hand, focused on editing and translating the most important works from the Croatian philosophical heritage, which resulted, for example, in the publishing of bilingual (Latin-Croatian) editions of R. Boscovich’s Theoria Philosophiae Naturalis (1974), of F. Patricius’ Nova de Universis Philosophia (1979), of F. Patricius’ Discussiones Peripateticae (2009, 2012, 2013) and so on. On the other hand, in a series of studies – monographs and papers – we explore specific problems, as well as the most important individuals and periods in the history of Croatian philosophy. In most of the research the emphasis is placed on the European context in which a particular thinker worked. Generally speaking, an important part of the Institute’s mission is highlighting the Croatian contribution not only to European philosophy, but also to science and culture in general. Finally, the digitisation of texts from the history of Croatian philosophy and making them available on the Internet is lately considered by the Institute a significant aspect of this part of its mission.
The mission of the Institute includes also exploring the history of philosophy in general. Most of the main periods of the history of philosophy are studied in the Institute, especially ancient philosophy, Renaissance philosophy, as well as philosophy of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. In this area as well, the mission is achieved in a twofold manner. On the one hand, research is aimed at achieving internationally recognizable results, which can be published in international publications, and in this manner represent a significant contribution to human knowledge in general. On the other hand, this part of the mission is aimed at filling certain gaps in Croatian culture that are primarily related to the lack of editions and translations of some classical philosophical works.
Finally, research in the field of philosophy conducted in the Institute is concentrated on some of the fundamental philosophical problems, primarily – but not exclusively – in disciplines such as logic, philosophy of mind, political philosophy, aesthetics, philosophy of science and metaphysics. In this area the Institute strives to contribute to human knowledge and the position of human beings in the world, primarily by publishing high quality international publications. Research in this area is increasingly characterised by interdisciplinarity.
Although the main form of conducting this part of the Institute’s mission includes the publication of research results in the form of specialised books and papers (as well as the aforementioned digitisation activities), we also perceive our mission in a wider sense. Strongly believing that philosophical reflection is an important and essential part not only of the history of humankind, but also – in certain aspects even more – of its present, we consider emphasising the importance of philosophy for society in general to be a part of our mission. To this aim, the Institute strives to promote the values of the philosophical way of thinking and its relation to other forms of human activities, such as science and art. Apart from the usual means of public presentation, such as forums, roundtables, public lectures and the like, this aspect includes special activities, such as organising philosophy workshops for children.