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Article

Spravedlivost’ [justice]: The origins and transformation of the concept in Russian culture

Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas. 2005. Vol. 53. No. 4. P. 545-564.
Pecherskaya N. V.

This paper discusses the genesis of a basic concept of moral discourse – the concept of “justice” [spravedlivost’] – in Russian culture. This study was inspired by the lack of Russian and foreign research of the evolution of the concept of “justice” in the Russian language. The methodological basis of this work is the late Wittgenstein’s philosophical principles of interpreting social phenomena through the real word usage. This paper presents historical study of “justice” on the basis of sources from the late 11th through the 20th century. The analysis consists of two stages: 1) Identifying the time of the appearance of a given word-concept in the Russian language and explaining its origins in its socio-cultural con- text; and 2) tracing the semantic evolution of the concept in connection with social and cultural dynamics.