philosophy is a cultural phenomenon that emerged in late XVIII century as a
reflection on Russia’s abruptly introduced modern condition, its departure from
Orthodox tradition, and its future as a part of and/or a contender to Western
civilization. The two hundred years that followed saw the proliferation of
philosophical debates and programs that tried to cope with the overwhelming
richness of Western philosophy and the rapidly changing world, seeking answers
to perennial questions, while also developing its characteristic set of problems.
Philosophy in Russia was taken seriously from the start, and philosophical
ideas were sought to guide the change or to thwart change. Much of Russian
modern thought proceeds to advance broad cultural, social or political
projects, with systematic theoretical philosophy often becoming only a
secondary concern. The pace of history offered little time for metaphysics to
come to fruition, and frequent interventions from the outside, particularly by
the state, altered or disrupted the flow of philosophical thought. With its
comparatively short, yet dense, rapid and often violent development, Russian
philosophy is rich with ideas that are relevant to current and prospective discussions.