Fortunetellers and Sorcerers in the Service of a Russian Aristocrat of the Eighteenth Century: The Case of Chamberlain Petr Saltykov
The case of Petr Saltykov, which stretched on between 1758 and 1765, with a surprising coda in 1796, is noteworthy in many respects. The material collected in connection with Saltykov’s crime is useful for an investigation into magic belief as such, offering parallels and supplementary information to the dozens of “magic trials” of the 18th century. However, what makes the Saltykov case unique is how the chancellor’s “superstition” managed so compellingly to bring together two cultures – traditional folk culture and the “Europeanized” culture of the imperial court. The case of Saltykov’s “sorcery” brought the diametrically opposed cultures of the court elite and the masses into confrontation. But even opposites can come together. As it turned out, the magic beliefs of the masses and medical practices of archaic traditional culture continued to attract adherents at court, getting along just fine in a high-culture, “Europeanized” environment. The chasm that lay between the culture of the aristocratic court elite and popular culture in the 18th century was not unbridgeable, although possible intersections of these two cultures sometimes took on rather strange configurations.
Les travaux récents consacrés au rôle de l’Italie et Rome en particulier comme étape la plus emblématique du Grand Tour au XVIIIe siècle mettent l’accent non seulement sur la réflexion pédagogique ou à l’expérience de jeunes nobles complétant leur éducation, mais aussi sur la relation sociale majeure du temps: la sociabilité. Cette étude s’inscrit aussi dans cette tendance sur l’exemple d’un voyage qui n’a jamais été étudié: celui que les comtes Nikolaï et Sergueï Roumiantsev ont effectué en 1775–1776 en compagnie de Friedrich Melchior Grimm.
This paper examines correlations between the genetic characteristics of human populations and their aggregate levels of tolerance and happiness. A metadata analysis of genetic polymorphisms supports the interpretation that a major cause of the systematic clustering of genetic characteristics may be climatic conditions linked with relatively high or low levels of parasite vulnerability. This led vulnerable populations to develop gene pools conducive to avoidance of strangers, while less-vulnerable populations developed gene pools linked with lower levels of avoidance. This, in turn, helped shape distinctive cultures and subsequent economic development. Survey evidence from 48 countries included in the World Values Survey suggests that a combination of cultural, economic and genetic factors has made some societies more tolerant of outsiders and more predisposed to accept gender equality than others. These relatively tolerant societies also tend to be happier, partly because tolerance creates a less stressful social environment. Though economic development tends to make all societies more tolerant and open to gender equality and even somewhat happier, these findings suggest that cross-national differences in how readily these changes are accepted, may reflect genetically-linked cultural differences.
The article concerns the problem of the Russian absolutist monarchy of the XVIII - the beginning of XX-th centuries in a comparative perspective. The social function of absolutism consisted in national integration, cultural unification and social transformation of traditional society by using of legal and coercive measures. The crucial problem is the changing role of the bureaucracy which could be the main protagonist of reforms or, just the opposite – its main opponent. From this point of view the author summarizes positive and negative aspects of absolutist reforms making outlook on the comparative experience of other absolutist empires of Europe and Asia.
Transhumanism is the brand-new term, which appears only in the beginning of the 21st century. The adherents of this term consider further development of humanity in a close contact with nanotechnology. People were always interested in how to improve the quality of life and prolong it. Medieval alchemists didn’t find the philosopher’s stone, the Holy Grail is still a legend. The Third Reich scientist’s experiments influenced in the development of medicine, but didn’t reveal the secret of immortality. In the 21st century scientists came more than ever closer to the creation of perfect man with the help of nanotechnology. How do philosophers consider this breakthrough in philosophy of technics?
The article is devoted to a previously unknown translator, Vassily Grinkov (the middle of the XVIII century). His translation, made from German in 1745, of Lodovico Guicciardini’s compilation, is not widely known, but the circumstances of its appearance and the reconstruction of the environment in which it appears are extremely important to understand the mechanisms of European culture reception in Russia.