The articles included in the present issue of Soviet Studies in Philosophy are drawn entirely from two recent issues of Voprosy filosofii, the oldest and most widely read Soviet philosophy journal. The items have been selected in an effort to provide a picture of that journal's current status and objectives, both as described by its editors and as reflected in the scope and character of some of its philosophically most interesting contents.
With the destruction of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Communist Party, Russia in the past few years has experienced a philosophical revolution unparalleled in suddenness and scope. Among the salient features of this revolution are the displacement of Marxism from its former, virtually monopolistic status to a distinctly subordinate and widely scorned position; the rediscovery of Russia’s pre-Marxist and anti-Marxist philosophers, in particular the religious thinkers of the past two centuries; increasing interest in Western philosophical traditions that (...) were neglected or condemned during the Soviet period; and special attention to the philosophy of culture, with particular reference to the role of philosophy in the national culture of Russia. In all of these new directions, a recurring and controversial theme is the widely perceived need for a new “Russian idea,” or something to “fill the ideological vacuum” left by the demise of Russian Marxism. (shrink)
By way of countering Tolstoj's reputation as an alogical and inept philosophical thinker, this paper explores the tension between maximalism and reasonableness in his defense of the ethics of nonviolence. Tolstoj's writings of the last decade of his life show that he was perfectly capable of making appropriate conceptual distinctions, recognizing legitimate objections to his position, and responding rationally to them; in so doing, he made valuable points about the unpredictability of human actions, the futility of using violence to combat (...) violence, the equal worth of all humans lives, and the immorality of revenge. Yet his conception of the moral ideal, together with his missionary zeal, led him to exaggerate the absoluteness of his moral message, causing him to predict the unpredictable and demand the impossible of human beings. (shrink)
For an American philosopher participating in a cultural exchangeprogram with the Soviet Union in 1964–65, a year spent in thePhilosophy Faculty of Moscow State University, studying and doingresearch in the history of Russian philosophy, provided manyinteresting insights – some of them surprising – into the theoryand practice of Marxism-Leninism and the nature of philosophicaleducation in Russia in the 1960s.
When this volume was first published by Oxford University Press in 1967, it was hailed as a superb historical study of an intellectual current that died in Russia with the defeat of the Constitutional Democratic Party and the ascendancy of the Bolsheviks, namely, the later nineteenth- and early twentieth-century thinking of those Russian philosophers who championed the liberal values of democracy, individual rights, and a state based on the rule of law. Now reissued in a changed world by the University (...) of Notre Dame, the book takes on additional, highly contemporary significance: the destruction of Soviet totalitarianism has given new life to liberal values, and the ideas of these forgotten thinkers are now relevant to the most burning political issues of the day in Russia. Not surprisingly, a Center for the Study of Russian Liberalism has been established within the Russian Academy of Sciences, and a Russian translation of Walicki's book is in preparation. (shrink)
After thirty years as Soviet Studies in Philosophy, this journal begins a new volume year with a new name—Russian Studies in Philosophy. The title change reflects not a shift in content but simply the disappearance of the term "Soviet" from the world map. Even before the dissolution of the USSR, items selected for translation in this journal were drawn exclusively from Russian-language Soviet publications, though the authors were not always Russians: they have included Ukrainians, Armenians, Georgians, and representatives of other (...) former Soviet republics. This same range of publications and contributors will provide the contents of the journal under its new name, with appropriate additions as new Russian-language publications arise in the increasingly open post-Soviet world. (shrink)
A prominent contribution of Soviet philosophy journals to the reform movement now under way in the USSR is the publication of articles analyzing the ills of present-day Soviet society. One of the more outspoken and probing of these critiques is that of the historian Andranik Migranian, published in Voprosy filosofii [Problems of Philosophy] in 1987 and translated as the opening article in this issue of Soviet Studies in Philosophy.
In the last issue of Russian Studies in Philosophy, Sergei Khoruzhii discussed Eurasianism as one of the "transformations" of Slavophilism in twentieth-century Russian thought, with emphasis on the Eurasian movement's origins among Russian émigrés in the 1920s. The present issue is devoted entirely to recent Russian studies of Eurasianism by Khoruzhii and others, examining the movement both as a historical phenomenon and as a set of ideas with renewed appeal in Russian intellectual life today.
Even before the mass defections from the Communist Party and its ideology that followed the abortive coup of August 1991, many Soviet philosophers had voiced dissatisfaction with Marxist philosophy, as we have seen in previous issues of this journal. Generally, however, it was the Marxism of Stalin and Lenin that bore the brunt of the criticism, with only a few bold writers like Aleksandr Tsipko attacking the Marxism of Marx himself.
The articles in this issue of Russian Studies in Philosophy are drawn exclusively from two new philosophical journals published in Moscow—Nachala [Beginnings] and Paralleli [Parallels]. Both began publication in 1991, after glasnost' had made possible the dissemination of philosophical views other than Marxism-Leninism. They are part of a vigorous expansion in the number of philosophical publications in Russia in recent years—an expansion that became particularly intense after the breakup of the USSR and the demise of the Communist Party at the (...) end of 1991. Altogether more than a dozen new philosophical journals have appeared since 1990, bearing such titles as Chelovek [Man], Logos, Stupeni [Stages], and Voprosy metodologii [Problems of Methodology]. (shrink)
The years since the collapse of Communist authority in Russia have seen the public emergence of several outstanding scholars whose non-Marxist or anti-Marxist views did not allow them to pursue professional careers in philosophy, or even to publish their philosophical writings, during the Soviet era. One of the most respected of these figures is Sergei Sergeevich Khoruzhii, an associate of the Steklov Mathematics Institute in Moscow, who is known to philosophers as one of the new Russia's foremost authorities on the (...) history of Russian religious philosophy and Orthodox theological thought. Khoruzhii's stimulating essays now appear regularly in Russian journals and books, and a number of them were collected last year in a volume with the apt title After the Intermission: Paths of Russian Philosophy. (shrink)