Leo Tolstoy’s Moralism is a call for the purification of moral universals as the foundations of culture, in which there is no contradiction between the values of an individual life and the values of the social “world.” A “moralist preacher” must fulfill two main requirements. First, he must personally fulfill the principles of his teaching. Second, he must be absolutely sure that he speaks on behalf of the truth he knows. Otherwise, his preaching will be deceptive and will serve the destruction rather than creation of a moral culture. Lev Shestov rejects this pathos of preaching as incompatible with existential perception of the world. Shestov replaces “absolute morality” with the absolute of human individuality, but this absolute is incompatible with the universalism of cultural values.
This article discusses the varying circumstances of the extensive travels abroad in 1875–1876 of Russian philosopher Vladimir Sergeevich Solovyov (1853–1900). The author devotes particular attention to Solovyov’s time spent in the Italian town of Sorrento near Naples, where, in the old Hotel Cocumella, Solovyov finished his treatise The Sophia (in French) that he had begun in Egypt, a treatise in which he outlined the earliest contours of his great philosophical system. Using a wealth of documentary materials, the author examines events associated with Solovyov’s stay in Sorrento, and later in Florence, Venice, and Genoa
The article considers a fundamental contradiction between a hypertrophied desire to freely pursue one's goals and the insuperability of fate that is inherent in Mikhail Lermontov's novel Hero of Our Time [Geroi nashego vremeni] in which the drive for “freedom” precipitates meaningless rebellion. The collision between thought (awareness contradiction) and the vital impulse (élan vital) causes the identity of the hero to split: thought turns out to be fruitless and life hopeless. This contradiction is symptomatic of cultural degeneration, and of the transformation of cultural values into “simulacra”—the “superfluous man” is a simulacrum of identity.
The author examines the key philosophical problem of theodicy and freedom as it was first formulated by Fyodor Dostoevsky and later developed by Nikolai Berdyaev.
This article examines the possibilities of constructing a discourse of the medial that involves no essential distinction between the spheres of the technical, the natural, and the human. Because the only area in which this distinction occurs is culture, this article analyzes the status of this distinction, its rationale, and its relevance to reality, as well as various ways to handle sign systems. The author considers theories in which this distinction is made in other ways (A. Gehlen, F. Rapp, A. Feenberg). Without an essential distinction (as in the works of A. Whitehead and G. Simondon), the natural, the technical, and the human can be differ- entiated on common grounds, forming an environment in which permu- tations of all the elements of formation might be called recombinations. The medial is then examined within this combinatorial environment. A special attention is paid to sound and its various theorizations in the media studies of B. Siegert, C. Cox, and E. Ikoniadou.
The author analyzes Dostoevsky's ideas about confession and theodicy and shows how they were influenced by Vladimir Solov'ev and St. Augustine
This article outlines the main threads in the reception of Friedrich Schelling’s ideas by Alexei F. Losev as reflected in his philosophical works. The author singles out three main sets of issues where Schelling’s influence on Losev manifests itself especially vividly: the dialectical interpretation of primordial essence, the conditions for the possibility of language, and the theory of the symbol and philosophy of mythology. The author shows that within Losev’s reception of Schelling’s philosophy, there could be observed a tightly woven solidarity with Schelling’s position, an instrumental appropriation of individual Schellingian concepts, productive misunderstanding, and precise hermeneutic penetration into the semantic interrelations of various semantic clusters within Schelling’s extensive corpus of texts.
This article delves into the history of classical philology and the relationship between two prominent classical philologists, one Russian and one German: Alexei Losev (1893–1988) and Bruno Snell (1896–1986). The article shows that both scholars worked at the intersection of philosophy, philology, and history of concepts, and both were interested in the history of ideas, terminology, aesthetics, and mythology and in the language of ancient Greek epics. Unlike Snell, who did not speak Russian and was unable to familiarize himself with Losev’s work on the history of ancient thought, Losev relied on Snell’s work from the mid-1920s until the very end of his life, using Snell to defend his own views on various controversial issues (e.g., reconstructing Homer’s archaic notions of the cosmos, debating the meaning of Heraclitus’ term “ethos,” or discussing the usage of the word sēmainō, and so forth). The subject of analysis is Losev’s 1962 review of the Dictionary of the Early Greek Epic (Lexicon des frühgriechischen Epos), edited by B. Snell, as well as the two scholars’ correspondence in 1959–1960.
This article analyzes the individual projects of Tatishchev and Karamzin 5 as Russian historians. Vasily N. Tatishchev (1686–1750), a civil servant during the Petrine era, spent thirty years creating his Russian History as a set of commentaries on “chronicle records.” Nikolai M. Karamzin (1766–1826) gained entrance to European intellectual culture through his travels around Europe, which served as a source for his Letters of a 10 Russian Traveler and later publication of his journal Vestnik Evropy (1802–1803). The exposure to European intellectual life stimulated Karamzin’s project, the twelve-volume History of the Russian State. This article examines the similarities and differences in the thinkers’ methodologies for constructing history, which relied on European histor- 15 iography and a substantially different set of personal experiences: one the builder of Empire under Peter, and the other an intellectual educator, writer, creator of the Russian literary language, and professional historiographer in the court of Emperor Alexander I.
This article explores the fundamental structure of “man who manages to do without Being” and whose constitution lacks the relation to Being and God. Within synergic anthropology, this phenomenon is regarded as “the Ontic Man,” whose extreme experience does not actualize the ontological difference (the difference between the existent¹1. In the author’s text the German das Seiende is translated as “the existent,” but in the referenced English translations of Heidegger’s it is usually translated as “beings.”View all notes and Being). To establish his genesis, we analyze the borderland between the Ontological and Ontic Topics, in which the Ontological Man who actualizes the ontological difference does so only in a rudimentary and deficient manner. This analysis is based on the discourse of concealment found in Heidegger’s later works and studies closely the figure introduced by Heidegger en passant, a man who is prone to concealment—the Lathon (Greek for “concealing himself,” “shutting himself off [from Being]”), who does not tell Being from the existent. However, according to Heidegger, the Lathon cannot stop being the Ontological Man, because this is the only anthropological formation. Synergic anthropology, alternatively, propounds a different view: man’s relationship to Being as something distinct from the existent can be eliminated entirely. This happens as concealment increases until it reaches a limit—an event best described by Plato’s notion to exaiphnes, “suddenly.” In this event man acquires a different constitution: the Lathon becomes the Ontic Man. We introduce the basic concepts of this anthropological formation and establish its principal characteristics.
In this article, the author examines one of the most important issues in the spiritual maturation of Russian culture. Peter the Great brought Russia back to Europe as a military and political power. We could rightly call Karamzin a Russian European who laid the groundwork for the development of a great culture.
The article analyzes the image of Goethe the writer and Goethe the theorist as constructed by Alexei F. Losev in different periods of his career. The author shows that Losev’s own dialectic of artistic form has a complex, dialogical relationship with aesthetic principles central to Goethe’s creative writings.
This article analyzes Nikolai Berdyaev’s (1874–1948) ideas concerning the spiritual origins of the 1917 Russian revolution. The philosopher believed that its sources were “demons” living in the Russian national spirit, discovered and awakened in the works of the Russian classics, such as Nikolai Gogol, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Leo Tolstoy. The main reason these demons were able to take hold of the Russian national consciousness was the collapse of everyday life, and the false orientation of this consciousness toward a violent establishment of a new social order. This order attempted to create a moral of equality and fair distribution of property, while lacking a religious-metaphysical foundation. Berdyaev’s views are compared with the contemporary realities in Russia at the time and the search for a resolution to the deep sociopolitical and moral contradictions inherent in these realities.
In this article, the author considers the main milestones in the development of Russian Enlightenment ideas, using Nikolai Karamzin’s creative output as an example. Karamzin undoubtedly represented a new type of Russian enculturated person, who had traveled a long path to understanding what it means not only to consider oneself an enlightened individual but actually to be one.
N.M. Karamzin’s multivolume work History of the Russian State occupies a special place in Russian culture. It could with good reason be considered a great intellectual and moral feat for the Russian thinker and historian. Karamzin rediscovered Russian history and returned it to the mainstream of national life. Inspired by philosophical ideas from the Enlightenment, Karamzin created a historical encyclopedia of the Russian people. As a heroic poem about Russia, Karamzin’s creation has deep moral meaning. According to Karamzin, by turning towards the events and customs of the past, society fosters in itself the sense of history as a basis for its moral and civic development in the present and future.
This article disputes the possibility and reason for any general theory of revolution (philosophical or metahistorical) that claims to reveal the “essence” of this phenomenon without regard for the context in which any particular revolution occurs. The article describes revolutions as contingent and self-constituting events. Their triggers, but not their causes, are the dysfunctions of existing orders (the incompleteness of the structuredness of these orders). Such events are a special kind of historical and political practice and are characterized primarily as the initiation of a mechanism that Kant called causation through freedom, and the emergence of collective actors possessing the properties of a political subject (as strictly an event, not metaphysical subject). Such events are possible only in the context of Modernity, just as Modernity itself persists until and to the extent that it bears the imprint of these events, both in its institutional organization and in its historical memory (as a belief in the feasibility of an alternative to existing structures of domination, and not as an homage to the “museum of revolution,” which fixes it in a “glorious” but lifeless past).
This article discusses Vladimir Vasil’evich Veidle (1895–1979), a philosopher and scholar of cultural study of the Silver Age and a brilliant expert on Alexander Pushkin’s works. The focus is on the evolution of Veidle’s views on Russian-European identity. The unique aspect of the thinker’s position, especially given that his émigré works belong to what scholars have called “New Westernism,” is that, in contrast to the Russian “anti-Westernizers,” who defended the concept of a separate and self-sufficient “Russian civilization,” Veidle believed that Russia loses nothing by being in Europe; on the contrary, it acquires its cultural identity. Veidle considered the work of Pushkin, whose “Europeanness” and “Russianness” were inseparable, as evidence of this. In his émigré works, Veidle challenged Dostoevsky’s hypothesis about the “universal responsiveness” of Pushkin’s art and, through profound philosophical and cultural study analysis, showed that Pushkin himself “set limits” on his own “omni-responsiveness,” while remaining a principled disciple of “cultural Europeanism.”
The structure of G.V. Florovsky’s concept of neopatristic synthesis is analyzed and reassessed here in light of the current state of philosophy and theology. As a result, the concept receives a new configuration, in which its core is formed by the ancient Orthodox idea of the Living Tradition, understood as the union of the work of the Church Fathers and the hesychast practice. As for the idea of Christian Hellenism, which formed the core of the previous configuration, it has been relegated to the periphery of the concept. This article reveals the philosophic potential of the concept that has not yet been realized — its hermeneutical aspects, its connection with the mainstream of phenomenology, and so forth. The new configuration is then projected onto the situation of Russian philosophy. I demonstrate that the concept possessed vast conceptual, epistemological, and methodological resources capable of stimulating the creation of a new philosophic formation that would be distinct from the modernist thinking of the Silver Age. However, those resources have remained untapped.