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Department’s scientific events

Department of the history of anthropological doctrines

  • Round table «Anthropological problems in contemporary art» of the department of the history of anthropological doctrines, Institute of Philosophy RAS, and the department of philosophical anthropology of the philosophical faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University. Moscow: Lomonosov MSU, 16 May 2017 . (Organisation and participation of researchers of the department, paper by A.S. Moskovskaya; total number of participants – 35–40; information on the website of the Institute of Philosophy RAS – https://iphras.ru/archives.htm#5; https://iphras.ru/uplfile/root/news/archive_events/2017/16 _05_2017_msu.pdf.)
  • The 3rd scientific videoconference «Man as a natural, social, existential being: the “sensitive points” of philosophical anthropology» of the department of the history of anthropological doctrines, Institute of Philosophy RAS, and the faculty of social sciences, N.I.Lobachevsky Nizhny Novgorod State University. Moscow–Nizhny Novgorod: IPhRAS–NNSU, 23 May 2017 . (Organisation and participation of researchers of the department, papers by researchers, DSc and PhD students of the department; total number of participants – 20–25; information on the website of the Institute of Philosophy RAS – https://iphras.ru/archives_2017.htm#5, final report of the conference is published in the journal «Philosophical anthropology» ‑ https://iphras.ru/uplfile/root/biblio/phan/2017_1/218-227.pdf.)
  • The 11th Interdisciplinary scientific symposium with international participation «Social theory and the world of man». Ryazan: RGRTU, 23–24 June 2017. The theme of the symposium: «Man and his lifeworld: philosophical and socio-scientific foundations». (Participant organisations – Ryazan State Radio Engineering University, Institute of Philosophy RAS; total number of participants – 50; information on the website of the Institute of Philosophy RAS – https://iphras.ru/archives.htm#6.)
  • Organisation of regular Interdisciplinary theoretical seminars «Social theory in the philosophy of man: problems of socio-philosophical anthropology» held in the Institute of Philosophy RAS (seminar supervisor – chief RF, DSc., Prof. Yu.М. Reznik).



Vestnik analitiki, 2014, No3 (57), p. 107-130. Rubric "Round table"

 

SOCIAL ILLUSIONS

 

 In the discussion, Prof. L.P.Bueva, D.Sc. (Philosophy), full member of the Russian Academy of Education, I.V.Egorova, D.Sc. (Philosophy), leading researcher at the Institute of Philosophy RAS took part.

The round table was presided by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc. (Philosophy).

 

P.Gurevich. At the height of the French revolution, Robespierre delivered a speech addressed to those who would be living in an ideal, perfect society: «Oh, descendants, sweet and fair hope of mankind, you are no strangers to us, it is for you that we have courageously ruined tyranny; your hope is the price of our poignant struggle: being utterly confused by the surrounding circumstances, we felt the need for your encouragement; it is with you that we entrusted the task of completing our efforts and the destiny of all the unborn generations of mankind!.. So, hurry up, oh, descendants, to bring closer the hour of equality, justice, happiness!»

We already know what turn this address to descendants took. Equality, justice and happiness of people still remain an unattainable ideal. The struggle with despotism has lead to new forms of tyranny. The dream of equality has been lost in a gigantic social stratification. New classes have become a social reality. Thinkers of the past century began to think about the futility of the lost victims. Some of them believed that it is not man who makes history but history makes man. It is not man who hopes and has confidence in future but future judges and decides how consistent his confidence is.

The philosophy of history attempts to give an extensive picture of the world, to reveal the laws of the historical process, to put social philosophy on the scientific ground. In reality, however, it turns out that history is dominated by social illusions. They take the unborn generations away from the hour of equality, justice and happiness.

 

These are questions I would like to discuss:

1. What is the role of social illusions in history?

2. Is it possible to reveal the secrets of social dynamics that would free humankind from fruitless efforts?

3. What are social illusions of our days?


Full text in .pdf (Rus)>> 

 

 

Vestnik analitiki, 2014, No 2 (56), p. 100-121. Rubric "Round table"

 

WHAT DOES HISTORY TEACH US?

 

 In the discussion, Prof. L.P.Bueva, D.Sc. (Philosophy), full member of the Russian Academy of Education, I.V.Egorova, D.Sc. (Philosophy), leading researcher at the Institute of Philosophy RAS took part.

The round table was presided by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc. (Philosophy).

 

P.Gurevich. In the middle of the 16th century the French king Henry II was absolutely convinced in the firmness of royal power. Venetian ambassadors always assured their sovereigns that none ruler in the world was honoured by his people as the French king was. There is full harmony between him and his people. This idyll has emerged without any compulsion. There were no executions, nor mass arrests. People admired their ruler, and the king did not have to force them to submission. People realized that royal power was sacred. This unity was symbolically expressed in the figure of Hercules with chains stretched from his mouth to the royal subjects. What is the meaning of this composition?

The sovereign’s word resulted in enthusiastic and absolute obedience. A year later, T.Gobbs’ «Leviathan» was published in England. On the cover of the book, the king was portrayed as a huge body with imprinted bodies of his people. The implication is simple: it is impossible to behead a king, it would be an act of suicide: the king is the society. But at the end of the 18th century the French king Luis XVI was alarmed by the radical measures of revolutionaries and even tried to leave the country. He was captured, brought to trial of the Convent and soon guilliotined. Analyzing the phenomenon of the king’s execution, the French philosopher M. Foucault concludes: the king was not sacred for that epoch any longer. «Common people looked in the face of the king and did not die».

What happened with royal power, that was sacred and then crushed? Many historical and philosophical works are written about it. But was the execution of the king a historical lesson for the Libyan leader Kaddafi or for his people? He was in power for too long. But his execution was ominous. The leader of Jamahiriya was humiliated, tortured and violated.

Let’s begin with classical questions:

 
 
1. What does the history of mankind teach us?

2. How its lessons can be taken into account?

3. Can we speak of the logic of the historical process?

 

Full text in .pdf (Rus)>> 

 

 

Vestnik analitiki [Bulletin of Analytics], 2014, No 1 (55), p. 99-120. Rubric "Round table"

 

DO WE NEED IDEOLOGY?

In the discussion, Prof. L.P.Bueva, D.Sc. (Philosophy), full member of the Russian Academy of Education, and I.V.Egorova, D.Sc. (Philosophy), leading research fellow of the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, took part.

The «Round table» was run by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc. (Philosophy).

 

P. Gurevich. In 1926, an outstanding Italian communist Antonio Gramsci was sent to jail. He spent in prison long days and nights. He became free only in 1934. He had only four years before his death. There, in prison, he began to write the «Prison Notebooks», the writings that later on made him famous. His ideas were published later on many languages. Themes touched upon in the «Notebooks» referred to various aspects of humanitarian knowledge. The author was especially interested in the turning events of political history. He attempted at comprehending the experience of Reformation, French revolution, Russian revolution of 1917. Two themes of this vast list of political subjects were very exciting: the problem of hegemony and identification of politics with passion. As a rule, the first theme is associated with discussion of violence, its justification and the related effects.

Gramsci’s ideas were strikingly nontrivial. Yes, revolution inevitably leads to hegemony, to compulsion. But does not necessarily turn out to be violence alone. Power rests not only on dictation of submission. It is consolidated mostly by consent of citizens. Not simply by forced support of the authorities but also by conviction in the correctness of what the authorities offer. Polemising with another prominent Italian theorist B. Croce, Gramsci insists that ideology is eligible. Political initiative can be «offensive», make continuous attacks, press hard the opponent. But it is also capable of serious social dispute. Not only violence but also ideological conviction is necessary. Creation and propagation of ideologies is a sacred duty of theorists, thinkers, and intellectuals.

Power cannon ensure its own grandeur without ideology, and masses need it, too. In present-day Russia, complaints can be heard that the Russian Constitution now in force points out the inaccessibility of any state ideology. Many political figures believe it to be a mistake. They speak in favour of reviving ideology. They say that a country without an ideology cannot solve the historical tasks it faces. In this connection, let us discuss the following questions:

1. What are historical fates of ideology?

2. What is its role in the modern world?

3. What will conservative ideology adopted now bring to us?

 

Full text in .pdf >>

 

 

Vestnik analitiki, 2013, No. 4 (54), p. 87-105. Rubric "Round table"

 

 

SOCIAL DEMAGOGUERY 

 

Prof. L.P.Bueva, D.Sc. (Philosophy), full member of the Russian Academy of Education and Prof. G.V.Saenko, D.Sc. (History), assistant rector of Russian State University of Trade and Economics took part in the discussion.

The round table was guided by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc. (Philosophy).

 

P. Gurevich. James Baker, one of US leading political figures has been characterized by John Saul, a Canadian philosopher and writer, as a modern technocrat capable of using political leverage for the purposes of social demagoguery. Baker, in everybody’s opinion, was devoid of lofty ideas or moral principles. This politician was guided in his actions by striving to power and fear to loose it. He was also expert of behind-the-scene manipulations, which permitted him, a man of system, to use a hundred-per-cent the power he accumulated in his hands.

Baker became a well-known political figure because he had a good command of the art of demagoguery. He believed that people cannot soberly judge the deeds of rulers. Therefore, if one lies, gives promises and pretends to love people, this will always guarantee a success. Explaining his successes, Baker pointed out that his style is decisive actions in situations when others are doubtful and conscience-stricken. Some politician, he argues, dawdles at a trough like a haughty turkey. He wants food but fear is stronger than hunger. But here appears he, Baker, and «makes the last shoot».

The international circles highly appreciated this politician. During Iraqi occupation of Kuwait he was appointed at a significant administrative post. But his efforts fell flat. Methods of simplified and sophisticated demagoguery yielded not effect. Baker experienced the bitterness of failure. Social demagoguery is a customary companion to political history. It is not clear, however, if its sphere is getting more narrow in the modern world or, on the contrary, becoming unbounded. Is social demagoguery all-powerful?

I would like to discuss the following questions:

1. Want is social demagoguery?

2.  What are its possibilities and limits?

 

Full text in .pdf (Russ.) >>

 

 

Vestnik analitiki, 2013, No. 3 (53), p. 105-127. Rubric "Round table"

 

 

REFORM AS A SOCIAL PHENOMENON

In the discussion, Prof. L.P.Bueva, D.Sc. (Philosophy), full member of the Russian Academy of Education, main research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy RAS, Prof. G.V.Saenko, D.Sc. (History), adviser of the rector of Russian State University of Trade and Economics, prize-winner of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of education took part.

The round table was guided by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc. (Philosophy).

 

 

P.Gurevich. At the end of the 19th century Japan was faced with making a jump from feudalism to the modern world. How could this historic transformation be realized? The European experience was mainly indicative of the impossibility to do without social revolution. Only revolution, as many European thinkers believed, can ensure rapid advance from one socioeconomic system to another. Certainly, the possibility of reforming Japanese society was also taken into account, but only as inevitable supplement. As was supposed, in general, only social revolution could break the chains of tradition. From the political point of view, all revolutions need destruction or neutralization of internal hostile forces, and also, probably, of those social estates that are inconsistent with their historical orientation. It is impossible to speak of completing revolution until this goal has not been achieved.

At the end of that century Japan hoped to restore the power of the emperor. As a well-known American researcher R.Benedict noted, this slogan reflected the desire to protect Japan from a corrupting influence of the external world, to restore the golden era of the 10th century. R.Benedict meant the Meiji reforms (1867-1868) — a bourgeois revolution in Japan that resulted in elimination of the institution of «double rule» of the emperor and the shogun and restored the supremacy of imperial rule. However, many Japanese people did not welcome such developments.

The imperial court in Kyoto was notable for extreme reactionary views. The social paradox was that restoration of imperial rule would mean not only due regard for social changes that were ripe already, but also return to traditional lifestyle. The victory of supporters of the emperor’s party would lead to humiliation and expulsion of foreigners. But this would entail strengthening of the patriarchal mode of life and would be fraught with inexhaustible fear of new social ideas. Those political forces that sought reforms could, in case of strengthening the emperor’s power, lose their positions and even the right to vote when making decisions in many social problems.

Restoration of former lifestyle was beneficial for feudal rulers who opposed the Japan military commander and statesman Tokugawa. Now these clans wanted radical personnel replacements. They tried to change the established estate system, in which the society was composed of samurais, peasants, artisans, traders, and merchants. Peasants had expectations of their own, too, and demanded that the greatest part of rice they grew be left to them. But they rejected reforms with extreme hate. Samurais wanted their pensions and the right to use their swords for greater glory. Merchants gave money for possible restoration of imperial rule, they did not have any special claims to the feudal system. They made a point of broadening the mercantile sphere.

How could all these social contradictions be solved? Is it possible to take into consideration absolutely heterogeneous interests of various social layers of the country? And finally, how to launch Japan into the new world under the conditions of an evident historical movement backwards, that is, restoration of imperial rule?

As is known, the great Japanese reformer Meiji fulfilled these tasks. He succeeded to ensure the country an enviable place in the world system through reforms. In this connection, I would like to discuss the following questions:

  1. What is reform as a social phenomenon?
  2. What are positive and negative sides of reforms?
  3. What is the fate of reforms in Russia?

 

Full text in .pdf (Russ.) >>

 

 

 

Vestnik analitiki, 2013, No. 2 (52), p. 103-125. Rubric "Round table"

 

 

WHAT IS A SOCIAL STATE?

In the discussion, Prof. L.P.Bueva, D.Sc. (Philosophy), full member of the Russian Academy of Education, main research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy RAS, Prof. G.V.Saenko, D.Sc. (History), adviser of the rector of Russian State University of Trade and Economics, prize-winner of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of education took part.

The round table was guided by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc. (Philosophy).

 

P.Gurevich. After the World War II Germany was in ruins. The economy was destroyed. The German people had to pay for devastations that nazism had brought. In Germany, 40 mln of starving people crawled over piles of rubbish. The country’s industrial potential was reduced more than twofold. Even three years after the war in many large cities ruins were not cleared. One of politicians gave such characteristic of the situation in the country: «A biologically disabled, intellectually extinguished, morally destroyed nation without food products and raw materials, without a functioning transport system or a currency worth something, a country where hunger and fear were killing any hope...» The country needed revival, an optimal social project had to be found. This mission was entrusted to Ludwig Erhardt. Ludwig Erhardt, the second chancellor of FRG is rightfully called the creator of the «German economic miracle». He advocated the project of a social state». The main point of it was the living standards of the population.

Erhardt believed that social market economy was the motive force of social welfare. This course caused heated controversies. There was even a threat of a general strike. However, measures proposed by the economist restored the country to life. Erhardt channelled the free private initiative along the course of regulated competition that was protected by the state from dominance of monopolies. He succeeded in creating the atmosphere of solidarity in society. This policy resulted in 1956 in a twofold increase of gross domestic product of FRG as compared with the best pre-war year 1936, and «private consumption» increased from 29 bln marks in 1950 to 51 bln marks in 1955, i.e. almost doubled within 5 years.

Russia and FRG began the economic rise under similar social conditions. But the «economic miracle» occurred in Germany, not in Russia.

         I would like to discuss the following questions:

         1. Can a social state be considered an ideal solution to all social problems?
         2. Why is a social state criticized?
         3. Has a social state been formed in Russia?

 

Full text in .pdf (Russ.) >>

 

Bulletin of Analytics, 2013, No. 1 (51), p. 87-114. Rubric "Round table"

 

Social stratification formation of a new structure of socio-economic classes

 

         In the discussion, Prof. L.P.Bueva, D.Sc. (Philosophy), full member of the Russian Academy of Education, Prof. G.V.Saenko, D.Sc.(History), assistant rector of the Russian State University of Trade and Economics took part.

The Round table was moderated by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc. (Philosophy).

 

         King Henry IV can be rightfully considered the greatest of French kings. His name is related to the beginning of the modern period. This historical stage is usually associated with «vertical mobility» — an opportunity for energetic people to make a successful career, irrespective of social origin. On the other hand, however, there appears an understanding that social stratification is fraught with disastrous threats. The king realized that impoverished people and prosperous aristocracy can destroy the country.

         The ascent of Henry IV to the throne was long and risky. Civil war stormed over the country and ruined it. He became king in 1600. At that time, the state debt of France exceeded 348 mln. livres. It was an enormous sum for that time. Coping with financial catastrophe necessitated an increase of taxes from common people. But the French king believed that it would be the greatest injustice. He had another idea: «all people are born equal and free and have the right for well-being». This meant that prosperity was not appropriate only for the chosen few. The king made Sully head of the government, and he is still now considered to be one of the best statesmen. Sully began with renounced payments of interest on state debts. Then he carried on negotiations about changing all obligations, terms and conditions of payment. Therefore, he managed to remove financial burdens from people. The state debt depreciated. Thus Henry IV could restore France.

 

         Let us discuss the following questions:

         1. Is social stratification in a society a necessary condition for its successful development?

         2. How can the intensifying social stratification be explained?

         3. Isn’t a new structure of socio-economic classes is being formed in the modern world, which is fraught with violation of the rights of many people?

 


Full text in .pdf (in Russ.) >>

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Bulletin of Analytics, 2012, No. 4 (50), p. 87-105. Rubric "Round table"

 

Is humanism in demand today?

 

         In the discussion, Prof. V.A. Lukov, D.Sc. (Philosophy), pro-rector for scientific and publishing work, director of the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Studies of Moscow University of the Humanities, Prof. L.P. Bueva, D.Sc. (Philosophy), full member of the Russian Academy of Education, main research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy RAS took part.

         The Round table was chaired by Prof. P.S. Gurevich, D.Sc. (Philosophy).

 

         P. Gurevich. Once a man called Hythlodeaus went on a sea travel. He happened to come to one of the far-away islands, where the life of native people amazed him by its perfection. No wonder — attention to each person was excellent. People worked only six hours a day. They devoted the rest of the time not to idleness but to sciences and arts. Nobody told them what exactly they were to do. Surprisingly, there were no rich people on the island. Riches belonged to all citizens. This permitted to satisfy all individual human needs, since they were just. Nobody could indulge in luxury, all were equal. True, nothing was in excess on the island. Everybody had an animal skin for clothing and could wear it for not less than seven years. It was put on when going to work only. At home, everybody wore coarse woolen clothes, the same colour for all. The islanders had no money, it was demolished. No private property existed either. Its demolition undermined the root of crime — theft, murder, treasury. There was no gold, this source of evil and cruel laws, on the island. People in this world hated exploitation and suppression of man. Instead, demand for spiritual life was satisfied in unlimited volumes. Inhabitants of this earthly heaven generally talked about happiness. Hythlodeaus was amazed by this social structure and with great enthusiasm told about it... To whom, do you think? Of course, you remember — to Thomas More, an English writer. And he wrote a book and called it «Utopia».

         The writer, of course, imagined the traveler, the island, and the customs. But he could not foresee the amazing delight with which his imagined story would meet. Every one was ready to go to this wonderful island immediately. Many people could not even think that such a state does not exist. It was invented. The word «utopia» means «no place». However, dozens of books were written, in which man’s greatness, wisdom and striving to justice and spirituality were glorified. Later on, even K. Marx, reading the book, pondered over how such a structure could be established in real history.

         Today, of course, the everyday life of the islanders might cause a mocking laughter. Wearing similar skins, similar clothes, striving to knowledge and talking about spirituality? It is so naive. But to satisfy man’s growing needs, to provide his wellbeing and comfort — it might be an adequate desire. Politicians of various countries, seeing that there is no enough happiness for all, nevertheless are engaged in humanistic rhetoric. They pretend to be thinking about their citizens all day long, making wise decisions that in the nearest future will make everybody happy.

 

         In this connection let us discuss the following questions:

         1. When and why did humanism appear?

         2. Under the conditions of the so called «death of man», is humanism thinkable without an autonomous, sovereign subject?

         3. How the rapid growth of various humanistic movements nowadays can be explained?

 

Full text in .pdf (in Russ.) >>

 

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Bulletin of Analytics, 2012, No. 3 (49), p. 114-133. Rubric "Round table"

 

The formula of power

 

         In the discussion, Prof. V.A. Lukov, D.Sc. (Philosophy), pro-rector for scientific and publishing work, director of the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Studies of Moscow University of the Humanities, Prof. L.P. Bueva, D.Sc. (Philosophy), full member of the Russian Academy of Education, main research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy RAS took part.

         The Round table was chaired by Prof. P.S. Gurevich, D.Sc. (Philosophy).

 

         P. Gurevich. Every one knows well a story associated with the Roman emperor Caligula (ascended to the throne in 37 A.D.). He introduced his horse into the senate as a full member. During the three years of his rule Caligula became notorious for his tyranny. And such he remained in the world history — as one of the most cruel tyrants. The story might have seemed a joke but it reflected a peculiar phenomenology of power. Caligula was not mad, it was power that made him abnormal. It corrupted him, revealing the inevitability of permissiveness inherent in any power. Caligula wanted to show that the power of a tyrant can be limitless. But he demonstrated a parody of power Но он же при этом продемонстрировал и пародию на власть. He decided to provoke the senate and mock at it. He did it according to all patterns of democratic procedures: at first, he made his horse a Roman citizen, then a senator. Then he introduced his horse into a list of candidates for consulate. He would surely have achieved his goal, were he not assassinated by conspirators.

         So, the apotheosis of power, power mania. But simultaneously its dethronement, exposure of its senselessness when it becomes unrestricted.

         Much has been written about power. But its mystery continues to stir imagination. Something might be escaping the already realized phenomenology of this magic. Findings of episodes of power throughout centuries are puzzling and cause arguments about human nature, about sociality, about transformation of power in a concrete epoch and about its irresistible dictate. Power is glorified and condemned.

 

In this connection let us discuss the following questions:

1. Can power be regarded as not only a social but also an anthropological phenomenon?

2. What is the greatness and misery of power in?

 

Full text in .pdf (in Russ.) >>

 

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Bulletin of Analytics, 2012, No. 2 (48), p. 89-112. Rubric "Round table"

 

Political mythology

 

         In the discussion, Prof. V.A. Lukov, D.Sc. (Philosophy), pro-rector for scientific and publishing work, director of the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Studies of Moscow University of the Humanities, Prof. L.P. Bueva, D.Sc. (Philosophy), full member of the Russian Academy of Education, main research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy RAS took part.

         The Round table was chaired by Prof. P.S. Gurevich, D.Sc. (Philosophy).

 

         P.Gurevich. Since school years we remember a civil war in England associated with the beautiful symbols of the Red and White Roses. It became a truly civil war, though it was the rivalry of the houses of York and Lancaster. This massacre lasted for three decades and resulted in deaths of so many noted aristocrats that it took the English king Henry VII much time to restore this social layer. A historic description of this massacre has many amazing moments. Horsemen in heavy armours, heavy gaits of horses. Rapid flight of arrows launched from bows. And, certainly, roses as a symbol of love and happiness. Noble, impressive.
But, as it turned out, the war was not civil at all. Historians write about an infinite number of victims, and devastated lands. What for? As has been found, we do not deal with historic facts but with myths produced when the battles were over long ago. Now we know that the war was dynastic. But the main point is that everything that happened in reality, was distorted , misrepresented. In the 16th century, king Henry Tudor made historians to re-write the events of the war in such a way as to make an impression in the minds of people that it was the Tudor dynasty that overcame riots and chaos engendered by all kinds of roses. The war, in fact, resulted from two political parties struggling for power. During the warfare, no warring party killed simple peasants, since they hoped to win the support of common people. Villagers were not killed, houses were not put on fire. The bloody essence of war, as it turned out later, was not so grandiose. Horrors described by historians were not so tragic or romantic. Pictures of deadly confrontations resulting in plunder and devastation, were imagined by supporter of the Tudors. It was important for them to show that before they came to power the country was ruined and exhausted. And it began to prosper right after Henry VII was enthroned. Besides, the war did not last for thirty years. The whole campaign took 428 days. But the fact that can be called comic is that the confrontation of the two feudal groups was in no way related to red or white roses. To all appearances, the wars received their beautiful name later. Most probably, these symbols were introduced by Walter Scott in the 19th century. And quite possibly, the writer fell hostage to earlier fiction. Also, the mythological variant of the wars is related to W. Shakespeare. He wrote a play entitled «Henry VI». It has a scene when the rival groups of nobility gather in the Temple garden, where they pick red and white roses.
         So, is it imagery that reigns in history, and in politics — mythology? Quite evidently, the humorous phrase by Ilya Ilf from his notebook: «When teaching history at school gained in strength, everybody came to know who Messalina was and Mary, who had changed her name for Messalina, found herself in a desperate situation» has deep connotations. But probably it is a particular case, and only true facts predominate in history?   

 

         In this connection let us discuss the following questions:

         1. When and why did political mythology appear? 

         2. What role does political mythology play in history? What are its benefits or harms? 

         3. Which political myths are widespread in present-day Russia? 

         4. Is depolitization of myths possible?

 

 

Full text in .pdf (in Russ.) >>

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Bulletin of Analytics, 2012, No. 1 (47), p. 101-124. Rubric "Round table"


The role of the personality in history


           In the discussion, Prof. V.A.Lukov, D.Sc. (Philosophy), pro-rector for scientific and publishing work, director of the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Studies of Moscow University of the Humanities, Prof. L.P.Bueva, D.Sc. (Philosophy), full member of the Russian Academy of Education, main research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy RAS took part.

         The Round table was run by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc. (Philosophy).

         P.Gurevich. On the night of 14 to 15 August 1947 a three-colour flag rose at ancient bastions of Red Fort in Delhi. Ghandi’s long-time struggle against British colonial rule was over. A small, fragile man succeeded in leading millions of people. No Leviathan seemed to bring down this great historic figure. He had invincible power. And nowadays his name is mentioned with such piety as is usually referred to the saints. Mahatma Ghandi, a spiritual leader of the Indian nation, all his life was struggling against religious strife tearing his country, against compulsion. But history was merciless. He himself fell victim of violence.

         The problem of the role of the personality in history is not new to philosophy. Far before Marx, this topic attracted many thinkers. It seems indisputable that history is made by leaders, great personalities. In the history of the antiquity we bow down before the names of Pericles, Themistocles, Alexander the Great, Darius, Xerxes, Confucius, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Spartacus. However, the philosophy of history put social thought before another alternative. It might well be so that the laws of social development guide the world. A personality that may influence the course of events is accidental. Whereas the laws of social dynamics are inevitable.

         A character of Mark Twain’s story «Captain Stormfield’s Travel to Heaven» all his life dreamt of becoming a great military leader. But his dream remained unrealized. Being already in the other world he asks an angel to show him the greatest commander. But the angel explains to him that in heaven many of people, sometimes unknown, common people as shoemakers, horsemen, grinders who did not hold a sward throughout their life and did not make a single shot, have the souls of great warriors. Here they rightfully take their place, whereas Caesar, Napoleon and Alexander the Great have to go to the background. The greatest military genius, says ironically Mark Twain, was a bricklayer from somewhere back of Boston. Wherever he appeared he quickly gathered crowds of people. But when he tried to sign up for the army as a soldier, he got refusal because he lacked two thumbs and two front teeth. Now Caesar, Hannibal, Alexander and Napoleon are under his command...

         Therefore, few of the worthy people succeed in leaving a trace in history. As follows from the logic of M.Twain’s ironical story, far from always those who guided peoples were the most worthy.

        

         In this connection let us discuss the following questions:

         1. Can a personality have mighty influence of the fate of a country or the world?

         2. Which laws take effect in history?

     3. How can we explain the phenomenon of desacralization of power in the modern world? On whom the Russian nation can set hopes nowadays?

 

Full text in .pdf (in Russ.) >>

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Bulletin of Analytics, 2011, No. 4 (46), p. 106-129. Rubric "Round table"


What is an "Ideal state", or in what society would you like to live?


          In the discussion, Prof. V.A.Lukov, D.Sc. (Philosophy), prorector for scientific and publishing work, director of the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Studies of Moscow University of the Humanities, Prof. L.P.Bueva, D.Sc. (Philosophy), full member of the Russian Academy of Education, main research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy RAS took part.

         The Round table was run by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc.(Philosophy).

         P.Gurevich. In 360 B.C., the outstanding ancient philosopher Plato wrote the work «Republic». There he justified a project of an ideal state. This image of a faultless human community was further developed by Plato in «Laws». A special role in this project was attached to justice. Referring to social structure of a perfect society, Plato thought about harmonious co-existence of various estates. According to the philosopher, the state should be governed by philosophers, wise citizens, aristocrats. They should love their City and feel tremendous responsibility for the destiny of people. Plato was also concerned with the order that should be in this state, giving to «guardians» the right to think about the safety of the City and organization of social being. As for husbandmen and craftsmen, Plato tried to «curtail» their ever growing desires. Therefore, a perfect state is such a state, in which frugality, wisdom, courage, and strength prevail.

         Following the British philosopher Carl Popper, such a state was called totalitarian, even «fascist». But many social thinkers evaluated this project from a different perspective. They found resources for a democratic society therein. In the final analysis, some social philosophers regarded it to be an unrealizable ideal. Many centuries passed. Social though experienced tremendous shocks from the cataclysms of history, trying to comprehend its logic and, possibly, justice inherent in it, a guarantee of peace inside the society, wellbeing for the whole mankind.

        

         In this connection, we would like to discuss the following questions:

         1. How do you evaluate this social project, do you think it is ideal, romantic or disciplinary-compulsory?

         2. Have any ideas of the philosopher about equality, justice, order been realized or has the project proven to be absolutely utopian?

         3. How can modern Russian society be evaluated in terms of Plato? In what society would you like to live?

 

 

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Bulletin of Analytics, 2011, No. 3 (45), с. 79-102. Rubric "Round table"

 

What does a collapse of multiculturalism maen?


         In the discussion, A.A.Guseynov, full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, director of the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Prof. Val.A.Lukov, D.Sc. in philosophy, pro-rector for scientific and publishing work, director of the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Studies of Moscow University of the Humanities, took part.

The «Round table» was run by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc. in philosophy.

          P.Gurevich. In the beginning of the past century, a unique performance was organized in one of American cities celebrating the Independence Day. In the centre of a baseball park on a special eminence, a huge boiler made of wood and cloth was constructed. Steps were leading to its edges from two sides. The public was seated on their seats, an orchestra struck up. And all of a sudden, everybody saw a small crowd entering the territory of the park. It consisted of representatives of all nationalities. People wore national folk costumes. Someone could boast of a horn cap, someone wore a hat. A felt cloak was thrown on the shoulder of one man from the crowd, and a woman in a sari went beside him. In the crowd, one could see jackets and embroidered shirts. The crowd was whirling in dances that reflected the specificity of a particular culture. National songs sounded. On the eminence, the local school head appeared. But he was not in an austere suit but in the image of Uncle Sam. People went after him and disappeared in the boiler. And some time later, from there, that is, from another step, there began to appear typical American citizens. Fashionable coats, hats, bowlers, rigid collars and spotted ties caught the eye. Men were leaning on canes. Everybody sang the national hymn «Stars and Stripes».

         Probably, there is no need to designate the symbolic meaning of this event: people of various nationalities come to America but all of them become citizens of this remarkable country. This was how the conception of the «melting pot» was born. It became the ideological basis of the politics of Western countries. Each of them tried to demonstrate to the whole world how painlessly and effectively the process of universal adaptation of newcomers, immigrants occurs in this particular state. Certainly, the conception itself contained nothing unexpected. A fusion of cultures, traditions, migratory flows is nothing new for Europe. The pagan and Christian, Greek-Roman and German cultures confronted each other. As early as in the 10–11th centuries marshes were drained, woods were cleared. Towns were built, where people of various ethnoses settled. The process of «amalgamation» of cultures, their integration went on especially intensively.

         But then, a century later the conception of multiculturalism entered the stage of collapse. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that the policy of the convergence of cultures engendered a deep split in society and is breaking up. The Prime Minister of Great Britain J. Cameron made a similar declaration with respect to the collapse of multiculturalism. After this sensational information, Russian TV channels began, as by mutual agreement, discuss the theme of a possibility of a multicultural society in Russia.

         

         In this connection, we would like to discuss the following questions:

         1. What has caused the collapse of this formerly popular conception?

         2. How are multiculturalism and globalization related?

         3. Can European culture smooth over non-western cultures?

         4. Why do national problems acquire special acuteness in Russia?

 

 

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Bulletin of Analytics, 2011, No. 2 (44), с. 124-146. Rubric "Round table"

 

The phenomenon of social shocks


           In the discussion, Prof. Val.A.Lukov, D.Sc. in philosophy, pro-rector for scientific and publishing work, director of the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Studies of Moscow University of the Humanities, and Prof. L.P.Bueva, full member of the Russian Academy of Education, D.Sc. in philosophy, main research fellow of the Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, took part.

         The «Round table» was run by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc. in philosophy.

         P.Gurevich. The seizure of Bastille on the 14th of July 1789 is every year celebrated as the beginning of the Great French Revolution. But how did this national battle occur? What caused this social shock that became a prologue to modern history? Because of the growth of bread prices, hundreds of people began to gather in the streets. They did not understand yet, how the further events would develop. The royal couple calmly escaped to Versailles, not forgetting to give orders to draw up military forces to the capital. Soldiers did not have a concrete order but the very fact gave rise to rumors: the king wants to inflict bloody reprisals over people.

         This was told by Camille Desmoulins, a journalist. In fact, the king planned no St. Bartholomew's Massacre. But thousands of excited individuals decided to arm themselves immediately. Next morning, representatives of the «Paris electorate» went to the arsenal of The National Residence of the Invalids to receive guns. Certainly, they got the refusal. This was the moment, when social upheaval could be prevented. But the crowd burst into the arsenal and captured over 30 thousand guns. The rebels lack gunpowder. From this moment, the word acquires a metaphoric meaning. Crowds rush to Bastille to load guns. The commander of Bastille de Launay gives an order to take defence. A delegation was sent to negotiate with him. But the mutinous shouting crowd would not listen to reason. They accused the negotiators of betrayal and rushed to the fortress. The attack was repulsed. There still remained a chance to «relieve» the tension. But then a girl was dragged, who was said to be the commander’s daughter. If her father would not yield to the rebels, she should be burnt. But in fact, she has no relation with the commander. There the rebellious spirit overturns all obstacles. De Launay died – a by-passing cook cut off his head. The angry crowd demands new and new victims. Chaos and despair seize people.

         These events have little resemblance with a heroic storm of the stronghold of despotism. De Launay’s head is carried across Paris. All this resembles a mixture of absurd and tragic mistakes. Later on, however, it served as the basis for romanticizing the events. Lithographs pictured discharge of prisoners who went through tortures and dismal prison cells. And now, naked and wearing irons, they awakened the rage of masses. There were not political prisoners in the captured prison... But the ill-fated tyrannical stronghold was destructed.

         We remember that in our days a riot in Tunisia began with suicide of a man who lost his job and was driven out of the market place where he was selling greenery. The events in Egypt and Libya also developed outside traditional social logic but, nevertheless, caused the whole chain of similar riots. What is «social shock» then?

 

         We would like to discuss the following questions:

         1. By what can one explain the constant repeatability of social shocks in history? 

         2. What role do mutinies and rebellions play in the life of a society — constructive or destructive?

         3. Are such social shocks possible in Russia nowadays?

 

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Bulletin of analytics. – 2011. – No. 1(43). – P. 95-122. Rubric "Round table"

 

 What a stable society is


In the discussion, Prof. Val.A.Lukov, D.Sc. in philosophy, pro-rector for scientific and publishing work, director of the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Studies of Moscow University of the Humanities, and Prof. L.P.Bueva, full member of the Russian Academy of Education, D.Sc. in philosophy, took part.

The «Round table» was run by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc. in philosophy.

         P.S. Gurevich. In the times when Charles the Great wore the crown of the emperor of the West, in the eastern outskirts of Europe between the Caucasus and the Volga river, a Jewish state known as the Khazar empire dominated. At the peak of its mightiness from the 7th to 10th centuries A.D. it played an important role in the fates of medieval Europe. The Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphyrogennetos might have known well the state of things for he noted in «On Ceremonies», the book describing the Byzantine court ceremonies, that letters to the Pope and Emperor of the West bear a golden seal with the value of two solidi, whereas a seal on letters to a Khazar ruler should have the value of three solidi.

         The land of the Khazars, a people of Turkish origin, took a strategic position between the Black and Caspian seas where in those times the interests of large eastern kingdoms came into collision. It played a buffer role, protecting Byzantium from intrusions of strong barbarian tribes from northern steppes — Bulgarians, Hungarians, Pechenegs, etc. and later of Vikings and Russians. But more significant from the viewpoint of Byzantine diplomacy and European history is the fact that Khazar armies actually prevented Arab invasion at the early, most destructive stage and thus hindered Arab conquest of Eastern Europe. Arthur Koestler, a British writer and philosopher wrote a historical work about this ethnos — «The Thirteenth Tribe. The Khazar Empire and Its Heritage».

         The Khazar empire seemed to be eternal. But it disappeared. Collapse of empires is not new to history. The Roman empire disappeared from the map of the world, too. The birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, not in Rome, designated the beginning of the end of the great empire. The 15th century brought collapse of Byzantium. In the 16th century the emperies of Mesoamerica ceased to exist. A century later the queen of seas — the all-powerful monarchy of the Stuarts – was terminated at the executioner’s block. In the 18th century, the guillotine of revolutions fell on the great absolutist France. At that time also the struggle of American colonies came to an end — the collapse of the British colonial system began. In the 19th century, the French empire began to collapse, the chain of Arabic caliphates was breaking. In the 20th century, the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and German empires collapsed.

         «Three hundred years it flourished – in three hundred days it died!» — Rudyard Kipling seems to say this phrase not about the British empire alone. He designated the general tendency.

         I began with the Khazar empire that has an unusual end. It did not collapse, it was gone, vanished. Its contours slowly sank into the darkness of past times, demonstrating the nature of a specific kind of mystification ever invented by History.

        

         Therefore, empires, as well as cultures, are born, live and die. We would like to discuss the following questions:

         1. Which society might be regarded as stable?

         2. What strengthens the society and ensures its stability — economic well-being, spirituality, national idea, high moral level?

         3. Can the desire of the present authorities to insist on preservation of stability as the main task of Russia be justified or does it lead to stagnation?  

         4. How can the modernization breakthrough of the country be ensured without causing a split in the society?

 



Bulletin of analytics. – 2010. – No.4(42). – P. 110-131. Rubric "Round table"

 

The problem of intellectualization of the nation


          In the discussion, Prof. Val.A.Lukov, D.Sc. in philosophy, pro-rector for scientific and publishing work, director of the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Studies of Moscow University of the Humanities, and Prof. L.P.Bueva, full member of the Russian Academy of Education, D.Sc. in philosophy, took part.

         The «Round table» was run by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc. in philosophy.

         P.Gurevich. The German Neo-Kantian philosopher, historian of science, science fiction writer Kurt Lasswitz (1848-1910) wrote a book «Pictures from the future», which in the beginning of the 20th century enjoyed great popularity. The writer pondered over the idea of how the future man will be able to master a gigantically expanding totality of natural scientific, philosophic, social scientific, technical knowledge, and also by accumulated achievements of the art. «Already from the 28th century, — says one of the characters of the novel, — it turned out to be impossible to reach agreement between particular branches of science. The abundance of material overgrew all methods. People sought the general principle as a magic word, which would connect separated parts but they would not find it and were more and more convinced in the inevitability of decay... People, therefore, have come to the limits of reason». And then the slogan was born: «If scientific material does not fit to the brain, we’ll fit the brain to scientific material».

         The way out of the deadlock of extreme differentiation of knowledge is found by creating a special apparatus — «psychokenet», which acts on brain centres by «imprinting» into man’s memory the necessary knowledge. Knowledge and abilities are grown artificially. People are divided into various psychological classes: only thinking, only feeling, only working».

         A century was over, and in the end of the past century «psychokenet» was again a subject of talk but yet in a different language. On 8 February 1996, John Perry Barlow published a manifesto of Cyberspace. «Governments of the Industrial world, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather».

         This is how A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace begins, which declared the independence of the Internet from the authority of national governments. For its time, it was a true revelation. This short but capacious text very quickly became known and spread throughout the Net. John Barlow dreamt about the world, in which every person could express his point of view – however unpopular it might be – without fear or official permission, where everybody could decide, what to listen to and what to know. In this world, the intellect will become the major economic resource, and a physical location of a citizen of Cyberspace will not matter.

         Following Barlow, many politicians and scientists today began to talk about the total intellectualization of the world, about unheard-of victories in the field of computer technologies. Russia did not stay away from this theme. The President of Russia speaks about improvement of education, about breakthroughs in the field of intellectual modernization technologies.


         In this connection, we would like to discuss the following questions:

         1. Intellectualization of modern Russia: utopia or real process?
         2. What is more significant for the nation: revival of spirituality or its intellectualization?
         3. Can one speak of intellectualization of the whole nation or only of the elite?
         4. Isn’t there a contradiction between the declared programme and a sharp decline of education, of its quality?

 


 

Bulletin of analytics, 2010, No.3 (41), P. 116-140. Rubric "Round table"


Cult of the leader in the modern world


           In the discussion, A.A.Guseynov, full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, director of the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Prof. Val.A.Lukov, D.Sc. (Philosophy), pro-rector for scientific and publishing work, director of the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Studies of Moscow University of the Humanities took part.

         The Round table was run by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc.(Philosophy).

         P.Gurevich. In February-March of 40 AD, a Roman emperor Caligula began preparations for a campaign to Britain. According to varied estimates, from 200 to 250 thousand of soldiers were gathered. The troops, reaching the coast of the Channel, stopped, siege and missile guns were stationed along the coast. But instead of military command Caligula ordered to collect seashells into helmets as a «gift of the ocean». Was it a true fact? Much has been written about Caligula’s extravagant behaviour. Albert Camus in his play «Caligula» showed how absolute power corrupts a leader. Caligula sleeps with wives of senators and takes delight in humiliation of their husbands. They have to pretend that they adore him. The tyrant executes them one after another, while those who still are alive must laugh and joke. Caligula demands absolute power. Camus puts the words: «I want the Moon» into his mouth.

         The theme of the cult of the leader seemed exhausted after the World War II, when philosophers and political figures began all-round analysis of the phenomenon of totalitarianism. The works of T.Adorno, E.Fromm, H.Arendt, K.Jaspers gave versatile expertise of arbitrariness and tyranny of leaders. Erich Fromm wrote: «Caligula serves the illusion of omnipotence that exceeds the limits of human existence».

         However, in the beginning of the new century the theme of unlimited power again became topical. The leader of «new philosophers» in France André Glucksmann saw the sources of tyranny in German classical philosophy. He wrote that already in the first half of the 19th century Heine threatened the French: «Beware of our philosophers! Their teachings have given birth to revolutionary forces that look forward to the opportunity of bursting out and filling the world with horror and awe». Similar thoughts Glucksmann finds in Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, Marx, Nietzsche. In his opinion, revolutionaries and tyrants of the subsequent century are but «salesmen» of German philosophy.


         Let’s discuss the following questions:

         1. Can nowadays appear a tyrant of the same scope as Caligula or Hitler?
         2. What does the cult of the leader look like in the modern world? Can we analyze it within the framework of psychopathology?
         3. Is it true that of the three characters of social management — conservator, scientist, and charismatic — the modern world has chosen the latter?
         4. What is the effect of the world crisis on the theme of the cult of the leader? Can we suppose that political tyranny grows on the basis of authoritarian philosophic ideas?

 


 

Bulletin of analytics, 2010, No.2 (40), P. 89-111. Rubric "Round table"

 

Power and reality


          In the discussion, Prof. V.A. Loukov, D.Sc. (Philosophy), pro-rector for scientific and publishing work, director of the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Studies of Moscow University of the Humanities, S.A.Korolev, D.Sc. (Philosophy), leading research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy RAS took part.

         The Round table was run by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc.(Philosophy).

          P.Gurevich. On the 20th of June 1791, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette escaped from the Tuileries palace in the old centre of Paris. The Constituent assembly believed that it would be necessary for their own safety and in the interests of the nation to keep them in a golden cage. The queen guided the whole endeavour and was certainly starring. A Swedish count Axel de Fersen, Marie Antoinette’s ardent admirer and, possibly, lover, suggested that only the king should run, disguised in female garments. Louis saw disrespect to his personality in such disguise. According to the second plan, the king should escape alone in a carriage, and then lead rebellion of aristocracy from abroad. The queen rejected this plan, too. Her scenario presupposed something much more grandiose: rescue of the whole family together. The royal family together with a governess could have enough room only in a big carriage, which the queen packet with luggage to capacity, so that it could move at a speed of less than ten kilometres per hour. All the roles were distributed: the governess was to play the role of a Russian baroness Korf, her son and daughter – of the royal children; the queen – the role of their governess, and the king had the role of the baroness’ valet. Marie Antoinette rummaged through the palatial cloakroom to dress herself as a maid. She did not use much camouflage. She played a maid as Garbo later played a queen and Dietrich – a whore. Nobody should have mistaken them for the women they portrayed. They all were stars. Louis even did not try to play the role of a valet. He put on a pink wig and regarded all this as a farce. His royal spouse agreed with him.

         The carriage was crawling at a snail’s pace. The queen and the king admired the scenery, looking out of the windows. Soon they were recognized. In the nearest town they were surrounded by crowds of excited gapers. The mayor was very troubled by the presence of the royal family. He did not know what to do: whether to prostrate himself or to arrest them. So he did nothing. The commanding officer told the royal family that if they left immediately, they could hope to cross the border. It was evident that if they stayed, they might lose their lives. At that absolutely decisive, crucial moment Marie Antoinette was not able to distinguish between reality and fantasy. Instead of venturing a real action that could have saved her family, she preferred to rest upon the imaginary image of a monarch, whom nobody would dare to oppose. She ignored reality and continued to play the chosen role. Meanwhile, the radical citizens were fraternizing with the royal cavalry. An hour later, soldiers went over to the side of their enemies. It was the end. The queen’s farce was over.

         Naturally, we could take another historical example for our discussion. A rare authority could correlate his activities with reality. Life is much more sophisticated and varied than its image in a ruler’ mind. We know that revolutionaries often might be very far from people. But we do not discuss this problem often. One of the most important topics of modern political psychology is a gap between power and reality. Power-hungry individuals often live in a world that has completely lost any trait of plausibility whatsoever. As is known, history is a great avenger. It carries out retribution but, according to the well-known aphorism, teaches nobody.


         In this connection, I would like to discuss the following questions:

         1. What is «power and reality» as a philosophical problem?
         2. Why do men of power often find themselves in illusory reality?
         3. How can a distance between power and reality be eliminated?

 



Bulletin of analytics, 2010, No.1 (39), P. 108-132. Rubric "Round table"

 

The image of Russia in the modern world


          In the discussion, Prof. V.A. Loukov, D.Sc. (Philosophy), pro-rector for scientific and publishing work, director of the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Studies, V.K.Kantor, D.Sc. (Philosophy) took part.

         The Round table was run by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc.(Philosophy).

          P.Gurevich. In the 7th century B.C., a crisis broke out in Athens. In a way, it was like the current one. Many spheres of life – finances, law, politics – fell into decay. Few could see a possible way out of this catastrophe. Discord spread out, strife began. And then in 594 B.C. Solon was called to power.

         By that time, this man was already a well-known poet. He quickly became popular with citizens. But with what did this ruler begin? With attempts to impart certain grandeur to the native city. Today we would have said – with creating an image of Athens. Chosen by an archon, a chief magistrate, he was vested with extraordinary powers. This enabled him to advance his famous laws. In particular, it was forbidden to borrow money without a written agreement. Many debtors who were in bondage had their debts remitted; the responsibility of the national assembly was strictly defined. Also, crafts and trade were encouraged, some aristocratic privileges were abolished.

         In that age, many were convinced that the destiny of each man, as well as of the whole mankind, is in God’s hands. In fact, people of Athens did not hope to improve their life. Who could stop chaos and arbitrariness? In many respects, Solon opposed the social consciousness of his time. He attempted to prove that frugality and honour make a foundation of social life. Solon tried to convince people that no one should ever forget what impression he makes on others, on foreigners. May be, he tried to embellish the way of life that had established in Athens? By no means. In his poetic verses he was saying that a poet should not dare to preach sermons or strive for power. His word should reflect the reality as it is, unadorned. But life might be changed…

         When, owing to Solon, the crisis in Athens was overcome, he was removed from power. The constitution he offered was rejected, too. In fact, Solon offered a new civilizational and personal model. I leave all analogues that might arise from my foreword to your consideration.

 

         But in connection with the above I would like to discuss the following questions:

         1. How can we characterize the modern image of Russia: positive — negative, clear — unclear, identified — non-identified.
         2. What are the efforts of the power aimed at — «to be a democratic country or to seem such»?
         3. What determines the image of modern Russia?
         4. Are there traditions, upon which we might rest in creating the image of Russia?
         5. What can be done for « refinement» of the image of Russia?

 


 

Bulletin of analytics, 2009, No.3 (37), P. 122-141. Rubric "Round table"

 

The dialogue between the society and the state


          In the discussion of the problem, Prof. V.A. Loukov, D.Sc. (Philosophy), pro-rector for scientific work at Moscow University of the Humanities, Prof. V.M.Rozin, D.Sc. (Philosophy), leading research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy RAS took part.

         The Round table was run by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc.(Philosophy).

          P.Gurevich. Robert Sheckley, an American fantast, in the novel «A ticket to Tranai» tells about the morals of that planet. When the hero of the novel, an earthman, appeared on Tranai, he was offered the position of Supreme President.

         – Do you mean, – asks the earthman in astonishment, – that all of a sudden you offer me the highest position in this state?

         – Why «all of a sudden», – took offence the interlocutor. – This proposal is a great honour.

         The earthman decided to take over the post from the former president Borg and receive the official medallion from him. It turned out that no formalities were required for conferring authority. Borg was ready to give the earthman this symbol of power but at that moment the medallion exploded, and Borg fell with his head torn off. Then it became clear that the people of Tranai have the right to express their dissatisfaction by sending related signals, and if they exceeded the norm, the medallion would break the high official into pieces. Commenting on this tradition, a Tranaian solemnly states: «As we have power over people, likewise people have power over us».

         Sheckley wrote this parody for the Western model of democracy several decades ago in the genre of antiutopia. The writer foresaw what might become with the idea of unconditional efficacy of democracy. Now in the relatively stable Europe (France, Latvia) crowds often demand resignation of the authorities by shattering stores and destroying cars. Meanwhile, the conception of democracy, as it was understood by classics of sociology, presupposed a continuous dialogue between the authorities and people that ruled out such outrages. Social philosophers seemed to have thought over all details and possible shifts of this process.

         Preparing to our meeting, I looked through works of many social thinkers dedicated to this topic. The result seemed unexpected. The impression is that the present-day situation that has taken shape in our country is unique. Neither Weber nor Mannheim could have understood straight away how many social institutions have been transformed, how illusory has become the very dialogue between the authorities and people.

         The question arises and requires discussion: is it true that the classical texts of scholars are inapplicable to our reality?

         Thomas Aquinas noted that the state might have the form of government that might be unjust with regard to its own people, and then people have the right to rise against the despotic power. This right will be given, if the authorities oppose the laws of God and elementary moral principles, exceed their competence, resort to illegal extortion. But this, in fact, is but the source of socio-philosophical reflection. The formula: «what does to rise against mean?» is not quite clear yet. Do we mean rebellion or peaceful awakening of the authorities to order?

         Montesquieu distinguishes three forms of government: a republic, a monarchy, a despotism. In monarchical government, he expounds, power is executed by one person but through established standing laws. In despotic government, everything goes by the will of one person outside any laws and rules. In republican government, power belongs to people. All this is not in line with what is going on in our country. We have no monarchy, extreme extortion, demonstrative deviation from God’s precepts. However, dozens of thousands of engineers, scientists, physicians silently leave Russia. Is this retreat of rebel against the arbitrariness of power?

         Weber speaks of effective management but our country is tormented by total dilettantism. Political philosophers speak of a civil society as a guarantee of social balance. But we have no civil society.

         The paradox, in my opinion, is that in our country the dialogue between the power and people is no longer effective, and in many respects is reduced to zero. But in return it acquires fantastic virtual forms. Illusory forms of this dialogue expand, become more and more sophisticated, intricate. And at the same time, an ordinary citizen has nowhere to turn for solving a simple question related to his rights and interests.

        

         That is why we would like to discuss the following questions:

         1. How do you view the dialogue between the state and the society as a philosophical problem?
         2. Are there moral foundations for such a dialogue? How are they born? Why might they be destroyed?
         3. How does this dialogue look like in modern Russia?
         4. How can this dialogue, broken to all appearances, be restored?
         5. What is the implication of the joke: «There is much talk but little hearing»?
         6. What are the consequences of such a split for modern Russia?
         7. «Shall we keep mum?» — a heading from the newspaper «Arguments and facts».

 


 

Bulletin of analytics, 2009, No.2 (36), P. 122-146. Rubric "Round table"

 

Transformation of morals in modern society


         In the discussion of the problem, Prof. V.A. Loukov, D.Sc. (Philosophy), pro-rector for scientific work at Moscow University of the Humanities, V.I.Tolstykh, D.Sc. (Philosophy), main research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy RAS, Prof. O.V.Dolzhenko, D.Sc. (Philosophy), lecturer at Moscow University of the Humanities took part.

         The Round table was run by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc.(Philosophy).

         P.Gurevich. One hundred and thirty years ago, a Russian philosopher A.S.Khomyakov wrote:

 Unfruitful is the joyous ghost of pride,

Gold is faithless, steel is frail and wrong,

But firm is the lucid world of holiness,

The hands of praying people are strong.

 

         Certainly, it would be wrong to remake what he wrote but should today some enthusiast wish to express modern ethical views, the verses would apparently be different:

 

Unfruitful is the dark world of holiness,

The hands of praying people are weak,

But gold is stable, steel is quick…

 

         How could such a travesty of moral views occur within slightly more than a century? Why nowadays there is so much talk about the power of the capital, about the indisputable privileges of the mighty, about people getting wild, about spiritual impoverishment and collapse of absolutes?

         Let us localize our discussion. We would like to understand why today, at the height of the global crisis, many shrewd experts suggest speaking of the nature and spiritual foundations of capitalism, of the need for moral rebirth of the humankind? On the other hand, we can see a considerable difference of opinions. Some authors are convinced that capitalism as a formation is exhausted and therefore new civilizational forms of human existence should be sought. Other scholars, on the contrary, see concrete ways of moral recovery of modern society through return of Protestant ethos or somewhat else. In this light, the following questions arise:

 

         1. Do we need morals?
         2. How are morals and law interrelated?
         3. Whose point of view on capitalism — that of K.Marx or of M.Weber — has proven to be historically appropriate?
         4. Has protestant ethos preserved itself as a spiritual foundation of capitalism?
         5. In which is the amorality of modern way of life manifested?
         6. Who is to blame for moral degradation of society?
         7. What is transformation of morals in the modern world?

 



Bulletin of analytics, 2008, No.3 (33), P. 179-192. Rubric "Round table"

  

Shortcomings and resources of social management


         In the discussion of the problem, Prof. V.A.Loukov, D.Sc. (Philosophy), Prof. O.K.Filatov, D.Sc. (Pedagogy), Prof. E.N.Yakovlev, D.Sc. (Physics and Mathematics) took part.

         Chairman – Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc.(Philosophy).

         P.S. Gurevich: Not so long ago a notable state figure of the Soviet epoch Mikhail Solomentsev died. Some time before his death he gave an interview. The question was asked: «What is the main problem of modern Russia?» He answered: «Non-professionalism of management». Maybe, it is a biased view of an old-fashioned individual? Or is it an expert opinion of an experienced public organizer? If we suppose that this assessment is correct then other questions arise, too. Does the decrease of professionalism refer only to Russia or is it a general tendency, a certain sigh of modern times? The paradox is that, on the one hand, management develops rapidly, novel managerial technologies are introduced, experience of effective companied is studied, but on the other hand, there is extremely little critical analysis of managerial failures, all-sided expertise. What is the matter? Finally, what should be done to be aware of shortcomings and to reveal resources of social management?


 


  

Bulletin of analytics, 2007, No.1 (27), P. 201-217. Rubric "Round table"

 

Education in Russia: what should it be like?


         In the discussion of the problem, Prof. O.K. Filatov, D.Sc. (Pedagogy), rector of Moscow State University of Technologies and Management, Prof. I.M. Ilyinskiy, D.Sc. (Philosophy), rector of Moscow University of the Humanities, Prof. V.A. Loukov, D.Sc. (Philosophy), deputy director for scientific work at Moscow University of the Humanities, Prof. S.I. Plaksiy, D.Sc. (Philosophy), rector of the National Institute of Business, Prof. E.N. Yakovlev, D.Sc. (Physics and Mathematics), E.M. Spirova, Ph.D. (Philosophy), deputy head of a department, K.A. Mishina, Ph.D. (Pedagogy) took part.

         The Round table was run by Prof. P.S.Gurevich, D.Sc.(Philosophy), D.Sc.(Philology).

         P.S. Gurevich. Education in Russia undergoes essential transformations. We make a transition to new technologies, introduce modular education, signed the Bologna Declaration. What should education in Russia be like? It is no secret that the society has different views on this matter, not all agree with the reforms conducted. At the same time, as is known, education is an extremely important sphere of culture. Society cannot be indifferent to future perspectives of education in Russia.

 

         In this connection, we would like to discuss a number of topical questions:

         1. What are merits and shortcomings of modern education in Russia?
         2. What will be Russian education like after signing the Bologna Declaration?
         3. How could, in your opinion, education in this country be improved?
         4. What impedes education in Russia and what are the negative tendencies?
         5. Is elitist education possible or should it be large-scope only?
         6. Does Russia need nongovernmental institutions of higher education?