Konstantin A. Bogdanov attempts to account for the reasons behind Lev Tolstoy’s critical response to the experiments of Louis Pasteur, who proposed a method for treating rabies with the aid of vaccination. Tolstoy’s logic consisted of the following: Pasteur and his adherents were seeking to subject the “supernatural” conventionalism of reality to a rational ordering. But for Tolstoy this order was nothing more than a synonym for human presumption. Tolstoy evaluated Pasteur’s activities on a moral level, rather than a medical one — under the headings of ethical freedom and the complexity and non-obviousness of causal connections (including the connection between an animal bite and the appearance of an illness), as well as nonresistance to the inevitability of death and a refusal to commit an evil act, even if that evil turns out to be the murder of a rabid dog.
Eighteenth-century Russia knew not only physical death sentences, but also various ways of socially and personally destroying a condemned individual, including public dishonoring, branding, loss of status, political punishment, and so forth. During the period of Elizaveta Petrovna’s rule, so-called political death, or being put on the block, was forbidden insofar as it was a practical imitation of a death sentence and so evidently contradicted the Empress’s promise not to enact this type of punishment. Under Catherine II the term political death was gradually changed to civil execution and applied exclusively to representatives of the nobility. But despite all the nuances of applying punishments that “injured one’s honor,” they possessed a common quality: the state strove to defend itself by means of depriving what it understood to be the contents of a person’s dignity.
The text highlights the role of logic gates in the distributed architecture of neural networks, in which a generalized control loop affects each node of computation to perform pattern recognition. In this distributed and adaptive architecture of logic gates, rather than applying logic to information top-down, information turns into logic, that is, a representation of the world becomes a new function in the same world description.
Review of the most complete collection of works by Vasilisk Gnedov.
Mikhail Velizhev and Timur Atnashev’s article addresses the question of determining the specifics of this discipline using the example of the interdisciplinary book series Microstorie (“Microhistory”), which is not well known among Russian academics, and they also provide a short summary of the key arguments of the discussions that were a part of the round table on microhistory. What is the fate of microhistory research in Russia and what has been the most important within this framework? To what extent does contemporary Russian research need something like the Microstorie book series?
Pavel Nerler presents a collection of materials written by M.L. Gasparov in connection with the Mandelstam Encyclopedia, including comments on the glossary, a 2001 round-table presentation on the project, and a fragment from a body of article s prepared by Gasparov for the encyclopedia (on the poems “I don’t know since when…”, “The Horseshoe Finder,” and “Milemarkers of the distant transport...”). The publication is preceded by a brief description of Gasparov as a Mandelstam scholar and as author of the Mandelstam Encyclopedia.
Velizhev’s article highlights the functions of madness in Russian culture and legislation during the first half of the nine-teenth century (particularly in the context of the 1836 Chaadaev case, or the arrest of the “insane” M.A. Dmitriev-Mamonov). He interprets the use of “apparent” madness as a way to get out of criminal punishment, which suggests a corrective to the methodological view of madness laid out in Foucault’s Madness and Civilization. Velizhev argues that in the first half of the nineteenth century both the authorities and the imperial subjects could perform various acts with reference to the concept of “madness.” Defining which acts were performed by what actor and in what circum-stances is only possible through a reconstruction of the context of the actor’s utterance and his presumable “intentions.” The article is based on previously unpublished archival materials.
David-Fox`s article addresses the diversity of approaches to the concept "modernity" in historiography (mostly Anglo-American) of pre-Soviet, Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. Although the concept of modernity is foundational for most historians, its meaning is still contentious. David-Fox lays out four basic approaches to modernity in application to Russia. Representatives of the first approach reject the notion that there has ever been modernity in Russia: for them, Russia is still a pre-modern state. the second approach suggests that Russian modernity exists and essentially resembles modernity in other countries; it is part of general international historical development. The third approach acknowledges the existence of many different modernities, each unique to its own state and region. Finally, the fourth approach proposes many modernities that are capable of intertwining amongst themselves, mixing with traditional elements and creating various hibrid formations.