Russian Thought after Communism: The Recovery of a Philosophical Heritage

Russian Thought after Communism: The Recovery of a Philosophical Heritage

Russian Thought after Communism: The Recovery of a Philosophical Heritage

Russian Thought after Communism: The Recovery of a Philosophical Heritage


An examination of Russia's philosophical heritage. It extends from the Slavophiles to the philosophers of the Silver Age, from emigre religious thinkers to Losev and Bakhtin and assesses the meaning for Russian culture as a whole.


A striking feature of the cultural upheaval accompanying the demise of communism in Russia has been an explosion of interest in the history of Russian philosophy and particularly in the ideas of those Russian thinkers who were consigned to oblivion by the communist authorities during the Soviet period. the names of Vladimir Solov'ev, Nikolai Berdiaev, Lev Shestov, and a host of other independently minded philosophers, earlier expunged from reference books and library catalogues in the ussr, are now encountered at every turn in Russian journals, conferences, university courses, and most of all in a storm of publications of their own works--in almost every case the first publications of their writings in Russia since the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. After three-quarters of a century, Russia's philosophical heritage is once again alive in the land of its origin.

The present volume is an examination of that heritage from the point of view of its actual and potential impact on Russian culture in the postcommunist world. the essays that comprise the volume approach the rediscovered Russian philosophical heritage in various ways, on a continuum ranging at its extremes from exclusive focus on features of the heritage itself to exclusive focus on the processes and character of its rediscovery. Most of the essays fall somewhere in between, and all are intended to illuminate the range and wealth of philosophical ideas that are once again available to the Russian intellectual community.

Section I takes a broad look at the return of Russian thought to its pre-Soviet traditions, with special attention to causes and consequences. the editor's introduction and the essay by Stanislav Dzhimbinov address the nature of Russia's philosophical past, the circumstances of its suppression, the history of its reemergence in recent years, and some aspects of its significance in Russian culture today.

Each of the four remaining sections of the book deals with a particular historical segment of the Russian philosophical heritage in which there is special interest today, with emphasis on major representatives of that segment whose ideas are once again prominent in Russia. Each section is introduced by a sketch of the attention these central figures are receiving, along with basic biographical and bibliographical information about them where needed.

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