Alexander Radischev – Dialectics of Enlightenment and the Origin of Russian Thought


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The article constitutes an attempt at reconstructing the views of Aleksander Radishchev, the 18th and 19th century Russian writer and thinker. In considering his most famous work, the novel A Journey from Petersburg to Moscow, the author questions the validity of the decade-long held opinion of Radishchev as the precursor of Russian intellectual consciousness. In analysing various motifs within his thought – his political programme, historiosophy, and moral philosophy he shows that Radishchev was at the same time an advocate of modernisation and a pessimist aware of its very limitations. This determines the difference between his position and that occupied later by intellectual progressivism and allows one to consider him as the precursor of contemporary post-Enlightenment consciousness
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