- Slides: 26
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University) Alexander Shishkin Department of Philosophy History of Russian Philosophy Lecture 2 Early Slavophiles A Response to the Identity Crisis
Early Slavophiles A Response to the Identity Crisis q Ivan Kireyevsky: The Character of Russian Culture • Philosophy of Culture: Comparing Russia and Western Europe • Anthropology: The Concept of Integral Personality q Aleksey Khomyakov: Philospohy of Sobornost • Social Ontology: The Concept of Sobornost • Epistemology: The Idea of Integral Knowledge • Philosophy of History: Iranism vs. Kishitism q Konstantin Aksakov: Autocracy and Freedom • • The State as a Necessary Evil The “Land” and the “State” A Weird Apologia for Autocracy and Freedom of the People q Yury Samarin: The Communal Spirit and Populism • Apologia for Communitarianism (Organic Unity) • Truth and Nationality
Early Slavophiles A Response to the Identity Crisis • Ivan Kireyevsky (1806 – 1856) • Aleksey Khomyakov (1804 – 1860) • Konstantin Aksakov (1817 – 1860) • Yury Samarin (1819 – 1876)
Ivan Kireyevsky (1806 – 1856) Principal Writings • The Nineteenth Century (1832) • On the Nature of European Culture and Its Relationship to Russian Culture (1852) • On the Necessity and Possibility of New Principles in Philosophy (1856)
Ivan Kireyevsky The Character of Russian Culture The Roots of Western Culture The Roots of Russian Culture Western Europe has inherited the spirit of classical (more specifically, Roman) antiquity. Russia encountered classical antiquity already transformed by Christianity. Both forms of Western Christianity, viz. Catholicism and Protestantism, evolved in isolation from the Universal Church. Having adopted Christianity through Greece, Russia has ever since been in communion with the Universal Church. West European societies were born out of violence: most Western states owe their origins to foreign conquests. The Russian state is indigenous: foreign conquerors have always kept away from the Russian people.
Ivan Kireyevsky The Concept of Integral Personality The Western Mentality The Russian Mentality The Western mentality is characterized by hypertrophy of only one of mental faculties, viz. abstract reasoning. The Russian mentality is integral. This view of personality is based on the assumption of heterogeneity of mental faculties operating independently of one another. Integrity is understood as organic unity of all spheres of mental life, including the rational, the ethical, the esthetical, the emotional, etc. The prevalence of negative (abstract) reasoning generates the attitude of negation, that of individualism and egoism. Mental integrity results in the spirit of communitarianism.
Aleksey Khomyakov (1804 – 1860) Principal Writings • On the Old and the New (1839) • The Church Is One (1840 s) • Some Remarks by an Orthodox Christian Concerning the Western Communions… (1853, 1855) • Some More Remarks by an Orthodox Christian Concerning the Western Communions… (1858) • “Semiramis” (I. I. ) (publ. 1871 -72)
Aleksey Khomyakov The Concept of Sobornost Catholicism Unity without (at the expense of) freedom Protestantism Freedom without (at the expense of) unity The Universal Church (Orthodox Christianity) Freedom in unity (unity freely sought)
Aleksey Khomyakov The Concept of Sobornost is “unity free and organic, of which the living source is the Devine grace of mutual love”.
Aleksey Khomyakov The Concept of Sobornost «Единство, – возвестил оракул наших дней, – Быть может спаяно железом лишь и кровью…» Но мы попробуем спаять его любовью – А там увидим, что прочней… “Unity”, an oracle of our days has said, “can be welded only by iron and blood. ” Well, we’ll try to weld it with love And then see which proves to be the stronger. Fyodor Tyutchev. Two Unities.
Aleksey Khomyakov The Idea of Integral Knowledge Human reason as such is incapable of attaining truth, even if it works on the data provided by sensual perception. Cognition is based on will and belief (faith) that alone enable us to distinguish between objective reality and its subjective appearance. Inadequacy of formal reasoning Will and belief (faith) as cognitive faculties The veracity of the belief (the faith) is ascertained by a collective (soborny) entity, the Church. The social nature of knowledge Understanding and knowledge are thus not the faculty and achievement of an individual: truth is accessible only to a community of minds united in and by love.
Aleksey Khomyakov Philosophy of History § The subject and characters of history Ø The life of the mankind Ø Communities (as defined by communions) § A new paradigm of the science of history Ø Popular beliefs as historical sources Ø The “poetic instinct” as a method of research Ø Retrospection as a method of study (“the retrograde motion”) § The essence (the content) of the historical process is the strife between the spirit of freedom and the spirit of necessity as exemplified by Ø Iranism and Kushitism Ø The commune (“obshchina”) and the company (“druzhina”) Ø Russia and Europe § The future of mankind and the mission of Russia Ø Integration of mankind on the organic spiritual rather than the “mechanical” (imperialistic) grounds
Konstantin Aksakov (1817 – 1860) Principal Writings • On the Ancient Mode of Life of Slavs in General and Russians in Particular • A Brief Historical Sketch of the Zemsky Sobors • A Memoir on the Internal State of Russia (1855)
Konstantin Aksakov Autocracy and Freedom Man’s true vocation is spiritual and his law is within himself. If men were saintly, that internal law would suffice and there would be no need for the state, for we would have the Kingdom of God here upon earth. Man’s true vocation When there would be no need for state power Men fall short of this ideal, and because of the weakness and sinfulness of human nature, we need external law, we need a state as the embodiment of worldly power. State power from the moral standpoint The need for state power But the state’s use of violence, although necessary, is in itself evil; this is true not of this or that form of state, this is true of the very idea and principle of state.
Konstantin Aksakov Autocracy and Freedom The fewer people are involved in the unholy activities of government and the sinful business of politics, the better. Politics from the moral standpoint Autocracy that limits the number of those involved to the absolute minimum, is, therefore, the best (or, rather, the least bad) form of government. The advantage of autocracy The business of government is, moreover, The advantage better entrusted to them that are not of hereditary power seekers; such is the Russian monarchy hereditary monarch. Power is service, not privilege The Russian autocrat (czar) sees his power as duty and service, not as privilege.
Konstantin Aksakov Autocracy and Freedom This duty and service is to safeguard and protect the subjects’ life and freedom and provide security necessary for their prosperity, both material and spiritual. The matching duty of the subjects is to obey the state and provide whatever material support (“men and money”) is required for it to function properly. The duties of the State The duties of the Land This separation of “Land business” (the people’s everyday life) and “State business” (matters of administration) is the characteristic feature of Russian Society. Russia has an exemplary form of government Separation of “Land” and “State” The best solution to the great question of the state versus the people: the people do not meddle in governmental matters, the state does not meddle in the people’s life.
Konstantin Aksakov Autocracy and Freedom Whenever a people aspires to political power, it is distracted from its inner, moral, endeavors. Political freedom undermines inner freedom. Political freedom versus inner freedom It would be a misunderstanding (resulting from application of alien Western concepts) to see this Russian attitude to state as manifestation of “slave mentality”. The irrelevance of Western concepts Indifferent to political freedom, the Russian people seek a higher moral freedom, the freedom of the spirit, communal freedom. The government’s right to rule is balanced by the people’s right of opinion What the Russian people seek An independent relationship between a powerless people and an all-powerful state can take only one form – that of public opinion.
Konstantin Aksakov Autocracy and Freedom The external truth, for the State, the internal truth, for the Land; the unlimited power, for the Czar, freedom of opinion and speech, for the people.
Konstantin Aksakov Autocracy and Freedom The Russian people has a direct right, as a people, to what constitutes the common property of mankind, not thanks to the permission of Western Europe. Konstantin Aksakov. On the Russian Outlook.
Yury Samarin (1819‑ 1876) The Communal Spirit and Populism Principal Writings • Stefan Yavorsky and Feofan Prokopovich (1840‑ 1844) • On the Historical and Literary Opinions of Sovremennik (1847) • Two Remarks on Nationalism in Science (1856) • Revolutionary Conservatism (1875)
The Communal Spirit and Populism Apologia for Communitarianism (Organic Unity) Konstantin Kavelin. An Examination of Juridical Life in Ancient Russia When we say that the people acts, thinks, feels we express ourselves in an abstract manner: as a matter of fact, the people consists of individuals, persons, and it is they who act, think and feel. Personhood, conscious of its infinite, unconditional value, is the necessary condition for a people’s spiritual development.
The Communal Spirit and Populism Apologia for Communitarianism (Organic Unity) We fail to comprehend the logical process behind the development of a society, other than an artificial provisional association, out of the German principle as such, the idea of personhood alone. How can the principle of separation turn into the opposite principle of conciliation and unity? Yury Samarin. On the Historical and Literary Opinions of Sovremennik.
The Communal Spirit and Populism Truth and Nationality The function of nationality in science is twofold. On the one hand, the affinity of the cognizing thought with the thought made manifest in history, is one of the essential conditions of understanding the inner sense and the motives behind the manifestations in question; on the other hand, the freedom of a national outlook of the prejudice and one-sidedness of other national outlooks allows an outlook common to all mankind to gradually expand get rid of the narrow frames that limit it temporarily. Yury Samarin. Two Remarks on Nationalism in Science.
The Communal Spirit and Populism Truth and Nationality To us, like to anyone else, the goal is truth, not nationality; but we speak about nationality, and it may seem to follow from what we say that nationality is our goal because at present, due to the way we were educated, we have a point of view that is not true, but foreign, we have acquired a foreign outlook. Yury Samarin. Remarks on Russky Vestnik Comments Concerning Nationalism in Science.
The Russian people has a direct right, as a people, to what constitutes the common property of mankind, not thanks to the permission of Western Europe. Konstantin Aksakov. On the Russian Outlook.