review of: Helmut Holzhey / Vilem Mudroch (eds.), Die Philosophie des 18. Jahrhunderts. 5,2: Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation, Schweiz, Nord- und Osteuropa, Basel: Schwabe, 2014
Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie, roughly translatable as an “outline of the history of philosophy”, is a monumental undertaking that aims to cover the whole of the history of philosophy as comprehensively, correctly, and objectively as humanly possible. For English-speaking readers, it may be comparable to a mixture of a biographical encyclopedia and a handbook or companion. In addition, most chapterscontain detailed doxographical overviews of philosophical works. Comprehensive bibliographies both of sources and the secondary literature are contained in the volume as well.
The two outstanding Russian thinkers of the 20th century, Fedor Avgustovich Stepun (Friedrich Steppuhn) and Boris Petrovich Vysheslavtsev, shared not only many of their philosophic ideas, but the vicissitudes of fate as well. Both completed their studies of philosophy in Germany, both emerged as important figures in the Russian pre-revolutionary thought and both were expelled from the country on board the ill-famous "philosophers' steamboat" in 1922. Once abroad, their lives took different courses, but they never lost view one of another. Either one in a different manner, they both pointed out that 20th century is the time of the triumph of irrationalism which totally overwhelmed and suppressed what had been remaining of the rationalist and positivist 19th century. According to them, it was the irrationalism which became the major cause of all the tragedies they witnessed. The author also publishes Stepun's letters to Vysheslavtsev illustrating their intellectual affinity and mutual interest. In Appendix the reader will find published an hitherto little known text by Stepun on bolshevism.