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Russian Academy of Sciences

  Philosophy Journal, 2017, Vol. 10, No. 1
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Philosophy Journal, 2017, Vol. 10, No. 1




Victor Vizghin. Entelechy of culture revisited

The present paper explores the problem of entelechy of culture, mainly taking in consideration the discussion about the dialogue of cultures and the entelechy of culture, which took place in the 1990s. To clarify the meaning of the notion of entelechy of culture, the author also refers to Aristotle as well as to ideas proposed by biologist and philosopher Hans Driesch, historian Georg Knabe, philosopher Alexandre Dobrokhotov, and, on the other hand, by Russian theorists of symbolism and religious philosophy (Innokenty Annensky, Pavel Florensky, Vassily Rosanov). One of the conclusions to be drawn from this study is that those who participated in the memorable discussion on dialogue and entelechy failed to correlate their concept of the dialogue with the existentialist tradition of Martin Buber, Ferdinand Ebner and Gabriel Marcel, outside which it remains unexplained. The author admits that, in Aristotle, entelechy implies a permanent and invariable reproduction of natural forms which can never stop (which follows from the eternity of the world), but he also maintains that it is not legitimate to restrict this concept to pre-Christian cultural context: it is only with the advent of Christianity that the theoretical notion of entelechy, as invented by Aristotle, attains full maturity.

Keywords: Aristotle, entelechy, culture, dialogue, entelechy of culture, teleology 

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-1-5-22




Kirill Karpov. Giles of Rome on the limits of metaphysics as a science 

Though the problem of the status of metaphysics as a science seems to be a technical one, it occupies an important place in the philosophical and theological systems of scholastic philosophers. This is due to its connection with other metaphysical, epistemological, or ethical, agathological, and even theological issues (such as, e.g., the distinction between metaphysics and theology, the first object known by the human mind,the question of what supreme happiness consists in and whether it is attainable, what are the good and the goods available to human beings in this life, etc.). Prerequisite to solving the problem of scientific status of metaphysics, therefore, is finding a solution to each of the aforementioned issues. The present article examines the two approaches to the metaphysics status problem which Giles of Rome attempted at different stages of his career. The analysis of either of these attempts requires taking into account a number of collateral questions such as the human ability to know separate substancesex puris naturalibu sor to achieve supreme happiness in via. The author sets to demonstrate that at the early stage of his career Giles of Rome took a rather optimistic position in evaluating the capacity of human beings to know being qua being, which constitutes the subject matter of metaphysics; he assumed that man can know separate substances and that his supreme happiness lies in the knowledge of beings which can be attained through metaphysics. In his later period, Giles evaluated human epistemic capacities pessimistically. He thought that due to the connection of soul with the body human beings are only able to err, and the only help that is available (by no means always or often) comes from discursive reasoning, i.e. logic.

Keywords: metaphysics, scientific knowledge, supreme happiness, separate substances, Giles of Rome, Aquinas, Albert the Great, Boethius of Dacia

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-1-23-34

Dmitry Ivanov. Critique of metaphysics in the context of the debates between realism and anti-realism

The present paper attempts to examine the main motives behind the critique of metaphysics. It considers how debates between realism and anti-realism can help clarify these motives. Realism is the essential feature of classical Aristotelian metaphysics. The author argues that the criticism directed against this type of metaphysics was determined by changes which occurred in early modern philosophy. While discovering the phenomenal aspects of experience, early modern philosophers treated them as an intermediary between world and mind. This approach resulted in skepticism about the possibility of genuine knowledge of reality. The upshot of Kant’s attempt to overcome this skepticism was the critique of classical metaphysics, which was to become a paradigm for subsequent critical attacks on metaphysics in the twentieth century. At the base of this approach lies the anti-realist view of ontology, according to which any ontological questions about reality canonly be meaningful when considered withina certain conceptual scheme. In the last few decades of the twentieth century, this view was criticized by externalists who, however, failed to show how concept-bound realism was possible. One of the goals of this paper is to explain how conceptualism about perceptual experience as championed by John McDowell can help argue for the possibility of a realist metaphysics. For this purpose, McDowell’s approach should be supplemented with theories stressing the active involvement of living creatures in their environment.

Keywords: metaphysics, realism, anti-realism, philosophy of mind, perception, conceptualism

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-1-35-47



Rejoinders in a dialogue

Gustav Shpet and Lev Shestov: two friends and antipodes (the two interpretations of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology). Discussion on Shpet and Shestov continued (Maryse Dennes, Boris Pruzhinin, Julia Sineokaya, Tatiana Shedrina)

The discussion panelis concerned with the two interpretations of Husserl’s phenomenology given, respectively, by Gustav Shpet and Lev Shestov. Despite having little in common as philosophers, the two remained close friends and kept exchanging what they called their 'unmatured thoughts'. Shpet family archive has preserved several letters from Shestov which help recreate the context of their conversations. Apparently no letters remain from Shpet to Shestov, but there areShpet’s letters to N. K. Gutchkova (1912, 1914) which amply display his distinctive writing manner full of unusually detailed references to some of the more important points in discussions held elsewhere, and thus present us with a very important evidence of the partly lost polemic. Participants in the panel attempt to enter the imaginary dialogue between the two thinkers and show that in this way much of what is difficult to understand in their published work finds a better explanation. The central topic in this dialogue is philosophical scepticism, no less important today than in their time. 

Keywords: history of Russian philosophy, phenomenology, scepticism, LevShestov, Gustav Shpet, Emund Husserl 

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-1-48-57

Free will: new twists in the old discussion (Vadim Vasil'ev, Dmitry Volkov, Julia Sineokaya)

The problem of free will – a classical philosophical problem with a long, rich history – during the last several decades became one of the key subjects in the analytic philosophy of mind. These discussions lead to the appearance of new ideas and arguments. On 21st April 2016 at Moscow Dostoevsky Public Library, Vadim Vasilyev and Dmitry Volkov delivered on this subject a talk as part of the Remarks lecture course within the Anatomy of Philosophy Colloquium Series of the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy, hosted by Julia Seneokaya. The speakers delineated the framework of contemporary debate on the freedom of will, examined the currently preferred definitions of the problem and discussed the key issues, arguments and thought experiments which form the core of the subject area. Among the most important things they addressed were the problems of determinism, of free action, of the ability to do otherwise, the problem of moral responsibility, as well as thought experiments by H. Frankfurt and counterexamples by J. Fischer, the manipulative argument of D. Pereboom and the 'antimanipulative' argument by V. Vasileyv (presented for the first time on this occasion and thus contributing to the general interest of the event). The validity of the method of thought experiments in general was brought under consideration as well. The discussion allowed to evaluate the real extent of the progress made by philosophers in their recent work on free will and to assess the prospects of the problem to ever get a satisfactory solution.

Keywords: free will, determinism, compatibilism, incompatibilism, moral responsibility, free action, Frankfurt’s examples, manipulative argument by D. Pereboom, thought experiment

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-1-58-77


Leonid Gabrilovich. On two scientiific notions of thinking. (Toward laying the foundations of a datiivist logic). Translated from German by Alexander Shevtsov, edited by Anna and Taras Shiyan

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-1-78-88


Toward the 140th anniversary of Semyon Frank 

Semyon Frank. The proof of the existence of God (archival documents published for the first timeby Teresa Obolevich and Alexander Tsygankov)

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-1-89-98

Teresa Obolevitch, Alexander Tsygankov. The philosophy of religion of S.L. Frank in the light of new materials

This article offers a comparative analysis of the texts of S.L. Frank dedicated to the problem of ontological proof of the existence of God. The authors make a systematic comparison between the already published works of Frank and those materials which have hitherto remainedun known to the academic community and are published for the first time in the present fascicle of the The Philosophy Journal. As a result of this survey, it has become possible to clearly indicate what remains constant throughout Frank's consecutive attempts to 'justify' the ontological argument and what are the changes from one to another, which is also reflected in the structure of the respective texts. Special attention is given the analysis of Frank's two essays, entitled, respectively, The proof of the existence of God and Ontological proof of the existence of God, which originate from a talk on the ontological argument given in the spring of 1930 in Belgrad, where Frank, at the invitation of P.B. Struve, delivered a course of lectures at Russian Scientific Institute. A detailed description of published archival materials from Bakhmeteff Archive of Columbia University (New York, USA) is appended to the paper. 

Keywords: Ontological proof of the existence of God, Russian philosophy in emigration, Russian religious philosophy, Frank, Struve, Dobroklonsky, Spektorsky, Taranovsky 

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-1-99-115



AlinaPertseva. Image of the Other in Merleau-Ponty's early theory of imagination

Lecture notes of the courses Merleau-Ponty delivered throughout 1950s at Sorbonne and Collège de France give evidence of the first steps he was taking towards developing, in a polemic with Sartre, his own approach to the problem of imagination. These texts are brought under scrutiny in the present paper, with a special emphasis on the role of the experience of the Other which, in Merleau-Ponty’s analysis, under mines Sartre’s opposition between perception and imagination. The author seeks to demonstrate both the efficiency and the inconsistency of Merleau-Ponty’s early en deavours to criticize Sartre’s theory of the imaginary, tracing down the development of his own approach to imagination starting from the privileged position given to the experience of the Other (which in itself is quite uncharacteristic of Merleau-Ponty’s view of the problem of the Other) as dissolving the boundaries between perception and imagination, and up to the moment when, as a result of his study of Freud, he comes to deny the experience of the Otherany privileged status in favour of subordinating its allegedly specific nature to the general principle of perception. The conclusions reached in the course of this enquiry allow to suggest a significant parallel between the privileged place of the Other in Merleau-Ponty’s early critique of Sartre's doctrine and the motive of the 'gaze of things' in his later theory of image. 

Keywords: Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, the Other, imagination, perception, image, oneirism, gaze

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-1-116-135

Lora Ryskel’dyieva. Textual culture as an object of study in the history of philosophy

The'turn towards the text',which can be witnessed in recent social and cultural studies, is determined by the ever-expanding textual space and the increasingly mass character of textual activity. The latter circumstance is an indication that the textual constituent of philosophy has risen to prominence. In this paper, the author discusses what it takes for a philosophical text to succeed as such, which historical and cultural destiny it has. How does one write a philosophical text, who will be its readers, how will it be understood? To answer these questions, the phenomenon of a philosophical text must be viewed against the vast background of 'textual culture', the totality of means employed to create, preserve and transmit the texts. Within textual culture there can be singled out its 'format', which is a set of conditions determining the way a text originates, its form and the nature of the communicative situation proper to it. The analysis  of the format of textual culture allows the student of philosophical texts to take full account of extratextual facts while sparing him the risk of reductionism, in particular from that of excessive philologism which prompts one to regard a philosophical text as one of literary kind. Proper understanding of the importance of textual culture may lead to expanding the existing research programmes in the history of philosophy and adding to them the study of philosophical textology. 

Keywords: textual culture, format, reading, writing, comments, history of philosophy, philosophical text, meaning, communication

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-1-136-153



Igor Dzhokhadze. In defense of semantic externalism. Hilary Putnam’s arguments

In his Naturalism, Realism, and Normativity, Hilary Putnam puts forward a number of modified arguments in defense of semantic externalism, arguing that not only “meanings aren’t in the head”, but our thoughts and ideas as well. Reference of the terms used in speech, as well as content of statements and representations, is determined not by mental states of a speaker (member of some linguistic community), but by "the environment itself", i.e. external factors – natural and social. Putnam refuses to endorse John McDowell’s claim that all perceptual experiences are initially conceptualized. On his view, sensations “play no special epistemic role”, for they lack propositional content. It is apperceptions that are conceptually articulated, not qualia, Putnam insists. 

Keywords: metaphysical realism, externalism, conceptual relativity, apperception, qualia, McDowell, Noё, James, Davidson

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-1-154-162

Andrei Gornykh. The thing on a screen: the historical sensorium of Andrei Tarkovsky (some considerations about Robert Bird's Andrei Tarkovsky: Elements of Cinema)

Tarkovsky's cinematographic 'natural philosophy' – the 'cinema of elements' (Earth, Fire, Water, Air) – gets considered by Robert Bird as an effect of the'elements of the cinema'. Such elements are, in the first place,'flow' and celluloid'film'. In Tarkovsky, flows are the streams of his famous cinematographic water, but also the visualized atmospheric 'waves' and no less the fluid motion of his constantly drifting camera. These flows merge with one another to form the'screen'where the flow of time can get materialized for the particular communities that the spectators of Tarkovsky's films are meant to become. The 'film' is a material substance, the film as such; it is also that specific 'water film'which appears around the cinematographic objects as an effect of flows; at the same time it is that invisible 'veil'whichTarkovsky's fluid camera creates around the objects. The specific cinematic techniques employed by the Soviet director, the elements of his cinema-style generate the characteristic'materiality' of screen images. This materiality can be 'read' as an aesthetic horizon of the historical imaginary of the Thaw generation, or, to put it in other words, on the one hand it can be regarded as a utopian impulse toward the aesthetic collective unity (community sharing the same experience of time flow) as opposed to the Stalinist totalitarian utopia, and, on the other hand, as a specific manifestation of the general symptom of modernity: the extinction of Energy, emptiness of things and human beings. Tarkovsky's cinema can be viewed as part of the late modernist reaction against it.

Keywords: cinema, philosophy, society, history, modernity, the imaginary, aesthetic surface

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-1-163-172