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Russian Academy of Sciences

  Philosophy Journal, 2017, Vol. 10, No. 3
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Philosophy Journal, 2017, Vol. 10, No. 3





Erikh Soloviev. Philosophy as critique of ideologies

This article seeks to explain a specific interpretation of the relation between philosophy and ideology which emerged in the period of 'Moscowphilosophical thaw' and gained considerable popularity with the Sixtiers. The author centres his attention on two neo-Marxist theories, the theory of thinking as developed by Evald Ilyenkov and the theory of consciousness expounded by Merab Mamardashvili. It can be shown that both theories have much in common: they both use the term 'ideology' only as a pejorative; they share a similar understanding of 'the ideal' (Ilyenkov) and 'the form' (Mamardashvili); they give equally deep consideration to the problem of illusions, objective appearances, 'objective forms of thinking' and 'converted forms'. Not only do Ilyenkov and Mamardashvili engage in a complex reciprocal interaction, they also interact with Kant as author of the essay on What is Enlightenment? An analysis of this 'timeless co-authorship' demonstrates that no struggle for the liberation of humankind from the power of ideologies can be successful unless a) a radical reform of education has been accomplished, b) philosophical education is promoted in a form that is free from the drawbacks and limitations of traditional enlightenment.

Keywords: philosophy, ideology, enlightenment, false consciousness, appearances, transformed forms, philosophical critique, philosophical thaw, neo-Marxism, Ilyenkov, Mamardashvili

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-3-5-31



Rodion Savinov. Vicissitudes of a commentary: the problem of the genesis of Index to Francisco Suárez’s Metaphysical disputations

The aim of the present article is to examine the circumstances which led to the appearance of the Index to Francisco Suárez’s treatise Metaphysical disputations. Far from being simply a reference supplement to the treatise, the Index is an exegetical instrument in its own right and no doubt bears mark of Suarez's attitude toward Aristotle and the commentating tradition to which he himself also belongs. In the work of commentators of Aristotle's writings, the emergence of the genre of index and its specific functions was gradual. The indices compiled by Averroist scholars like Marcantonio Zimara and Giulio Palamede were designed as a proof of semantic and terminological unity between Aristotle's original and his Arab commentators; such indices were often intended as a weapon against the humanists who professed to follow the 'genuine' Aristotle and denied the authority of the scholastic exegesis. A good example of a different kind of reference work is Index locupletissimus by Francisco Ruiz, which takes advantage of both the scholastic and the humanist studies of Aristotle and represents a step forward from a committed commentary toward the higher criticism of texts. Suárez’s Index can thus be regarded as a product of the process of reappraisal of the corpus Aristotelicum which took place in 16th century and presented what may be called an 'endurance test' for the scholastic interpretation. It embodies the experience of systematic thinking that goes beyond the unconditional appeal to authority. Seeing as metaphysics, from the viewpoint of the tradition to which Suárez belongs, incorporates nearly the entire contents of philosophy, it will hardly be an exaggeration to say that Aristotle's text, which is the foundation of the Jesuit philosopher's work, becomes itself a part of reality and subject to metaphysical interpretation.

Keywords: Suárez, metaphysics, comments, Aristotle, Early Modern, scholastic, philosophy, exegesis

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-3-32-46

Faris Nofal. Murjiʼism of Bishr al-Marisi: an essay of contextual reconstruction

In the present article, the author attempts to reconstruct the doctrine of Bishr al-Marisi, a Baghdаd’ mutakallim. A detailed analysis of the remaining sources allows him to arrive at the conclusion that Bishr's thinking had a systematic and synthetic quality in that it incorporated the elements of Mu'tazilite, of Djahmi, and also of traditionalist theories. The main result of this paper, which is the first comprehensive survey of al-Marisi's writing to appear in modern Islamic studies, consists in defining the 'transitional' value of his work as the evidence of theology gravitating from non-systematic freethinking of 8th century toward institutional 'scholasticism' of classical Arabic philosophy. Also, the author explores the background of Bishr's theological speculation, showing that while some elements of the latter's system (such as, e.g., the theory of 'appropriation' of acts)   were indeed borrowed from the early mutakallimūn, the core postulates of his 'Murji'ite' doctrine are a genuine step forward in the development of the anti-anthropomorphist and providentialist paradigm of his predecessors. It is further demonstrated that Bishr's method dialectically combines the syllogistic pursuit of 'analogy' with an unquestionable acknowledgement of the primacy of a revelatory 'precedent'.

Keywords: Bishr al-Marisi, Murji'ah, Khawaridj, Ashʻarites, Mu'tazilites, classical Arabic philosophy, Muslim theology

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-3-47-60

Grigory Zolotkov. The nature of philosophy in 'orthodox' Wittgensteinianism

This paper aims to present an overview of the 'orthodox' Wittgensteinian tradition. The term 'orthodox' is here understood as denoting the variety of interpretations of Wittgenstein’s philosophy made either by his pupils or by the pupils of his pupils. The author singles out the most notable proponents of this tradition and proceeds to discuss their main ideas in relation to the problem of the nature of philosophy, assuming that such context will help reveal the fundamental characteristics of the entire tradition most clearly. He also traces down the evolution toward a radical scepticism which occurred in orthodox Wittgensteinianism from mid-70s and has come to dominate its teaching even to this day, the resulting idea being that philosophy has no genuine object or problems of its own and could be reduced to the role of a method of conceptual analysis or that of linguistic therapy. Such reduction rests on Wittgenstein’s analogy between language and a family of games, where language is no longer a unified whole, but rather an aggregate of fragments of linguistic activity, the meaning of each fragment being determined by its proper grammar rules. Philosophical theories which offer universalist explanations do not fall under specialized grammars, are not governed by rule-sets and represent an outcome of the confusion of grammars. Philosophy, therefore, can have no meaningful goals and is only a method of language analysis. Even though this view is supported by plausible arguments, it was notably rejected by the first generation of Wittgensteinians.

Keywords: nature of philosophy, Wittgenstein, Wittgensteinianism, conceptual analysis, philosophical therapy, language games, life form

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-3-61-73



Mariya Fedorova. 'Tradition' as an element in the discourse of political philosophy

The present article attempts to consider 'tradition', one of the most frequently used terms in Russian ideological discourse over the recent years, as a valid notion in political philosophy. The author traces down the tangled history of this concept, aiming to reveal the political meaning of the philosophical discussions around it. She shows that the principal content of such discussions has invariably been the dilemma of reason vs tradition which originated in the political philosophy of the modern age to become the foundation of two distinct political ontologies. At the heart of the first of these ontologies is the idea of an unconditioned, autonomous reason capable of reforming the world of human relations in accordance with the laws of justice, elaborated by its own mediation, and intent on shaping a new world where all the prejudices and traditions of the past are abandoned. The other ontology, conversely, is based on heteronomous reason which is conditioned in its development by historic experience and tradition; it is from the latter that it derives the laws of social and institutional progress. Contemporary philosophy is aiming at finding such a solution to the dilemma that would still allow to maintain a tension between its two poles and to imbue them with new philosophical and political meaning. Among the new problems thus revealed is the problem of how following a tradition combines with the idea of freedom, or whether tradition at all admits transformation and change and how it can be related to transcendentals in historical thinking. The author arrives at the conclusion that archaism is the inevitable outcome of only that kind of historical politics which regards tradition as sacral without taking into account its controversial logic.

Keywords: historicism, historical politics, tradition, rationalism in politics, conservatism, liberalism

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-3-74-92

Anastasiya Zhilina. On the advantages of a materialist approach to media theory

The present paper offers a survey of some contemporary media theories, undertaken from the standpoint of 'technical a priori'. In most studies, their authors pay little attention to the conditions of mediality as such and, as a result, examine only one part of media capabilities (and by no means exhaust their potential 'contents'), while in fact it may be worth analyzing such capabilities not only from the viewpoint of the user, but, in the words of Gilbert Simondon, from the side of 'technical objects' as well. While even in the recent years there have been scholars who still professed to continue the tradition originating in the work of Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan, this article seeks to demonstrate that what McLuhan understood as media, today would normally be called genres with their capacity of being variably projected onto any 'platform'. Futility of the attempts to achieve further theoretical development of McLuhan's theses is well illustrated by the theory of remediation of Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin. One can propose to consider the materialist theory of Vilém Flusser as an alternative. Certain trends in media archaeology (Erkki Huhtamo, Wolfgang Ernst), despite their advertised potential, display a distinct similarity with earlier theories and in fact never cease to regard media as an entity that exists. To demonstrate the advantages of a materialist approach, it will be appropriate to bring into focus Jussi Parikka's geology of media and Siegfried Zielinski's variantology, supplemented by the examples of interaction with 'technical objects' which implement additional contents.

Keywords: media, media archaeology, variantology, geology of media, materialism, technique

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-3-93-111



Olga Stoliarova. Boris Hessen's ideas and Russian philosophy

In the present article, the main theses of Boris Hessen's 1931 paper are brought under examination against the broader background of Russian philosophy in general and the philosophy and history of science in particular. Among other things, the author attempts to explain why Hessen's Marxist thinking met with little or no acceptance in the country of triumphant Marxism. In the Soviet Union, history and philosophy of science developed mainly within an internalist framework, first following mainly the positivist paradigm and later, from 1970s and 1980s, gravitating toward the post-positivist approaches of Thomas Kuhn and Alexandre Koyré. Most of these studies, however, considered technological, and socioeconomic factors to be of little relevance to the genesis of science. As a result, Hessen's ideas could find their place neither within the positivist nor within the post-positivist explanatory models used in Russian historical and philosophical studies of science. This only started to change at the beginning of the 1990s, in the post-Soviet era. Gradually, in a new intellectual climate, interest in Hessen's ideas began to grow. A compound answer to the problem posed at the beginning of the article is then outlined, taking as the starting point the holistic interpretation of Hessen’s paper offered by Gideon Freudenthal and Peter McLaughlin.

Keywords: history and philosophy of science, externalism, internalism, Marxism, dialectics, ontology, epistemology, Russian philosophy

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-3-112-132



Rejoinders in a dialogue

Alla Glinchikova, Julia Sineokaya, Marietta Stepanyants. Turn to archaism: is it a setback or build-up for a new breakthough? 

The turn to archaism in contemporary political development has been at the centre of recent debates in Dostoyevsky Library in Moscow, forming part of the Rejoinders in a dialogue series. It seems that the enthusiastic interest for the effects of globalization us being succeeded by the dominance of a new traditionalism. If in the past archaism in politics manifested itself mostly at local level, today it is becoming a universal phenomenon, which is due to to both intrinsic and global factors, such as the crisis of the Western model of modernization. What drives this tendency and where is it leading? Does it unavoidably result in political conflicts or, on the contrary, could it help to open new forms of intercultural dialogue and understanding? Is it right to equate 'Global' and 'Western' in politics? What is common and what is specific in the process of restoring 'traditional values' in the West, in Russia, and in such countries as Iran and India? What are the main distinguishing indicators of modernism and archaism in politics? Participants in the discussion, while observing the parallels between the archaist trend in today's Eastern countries and the Old Believers movement in 17th-20th century Russia, on the one hand, and between the European Reformation and the reformative processes outside the borders of the Christian world, on the other hand, agreed that the question, how the new rise of traditionalism should be dealt with, can be answered in three possible ways. The first way is to treat tradition as a museum artifact, to use it for legitimation of obsolete political relations. The second, ‘post-modern’ approach implies a deep disappointment with tradition and total rejection of any connections with past. The third way, promoted by scholars participating in the present dialogue, is to make use of the tradition as a starting point for new modernizing efforts and the basis for promoting intercultural understanding.

Keywords: turn to archaism, globalization, modernization, values, institutions, religion, Old Believers, Reformation, nationalism, tradition

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-3-133-152

Mariya Bikbulatova, Igor EbanoidzeJulia Sineokaya. On the Use and Abuse of Biography for Nietzsche

The discussion here reported centres on the problem whether familiarity with Nietzsche's biography can be beneficial for understanding his philosophical views, and how our idea of the philosopher as a person, derived from his biography, can affect our perception of his texts and vice versa, if such reciprocal influence is at all possible. On the other hand, it is important to know to what extent a given biography may hamper the interpretation of Nietzsche's writings and further thinking following along the path tread by this philosopher. Participants in the panel attempt to find out what kind of biography of the philosopher would favour the study of his work rather than interfere with it; to this purpose, they critically examine the various Nietzsche biographies and the motives of the respective authors, to see how well they accord with the Nietzschean world-view. This involves the question, what does it mean to be in accordance with such world-view and whether it is a necessary condition for a biographer or there may be other ways to compose an adequate biography. Another line of discussion consists in drawing comparisons between the portraits of Nietzsche created by the biographers, which can be widely different depending on the purposes their authors had in mind. Finally, an interesting question is, what other uses a Nietzsche biography may have and what makes a biography of particularly this philosopher, in whose work the twists and turns of his own life play such an important role, a really special enterprise.

Keywords: biography, Nietzsche's philosophy, decadence, 'health' and 'sickness', psychology of disclosure, Entlarvungspsychologie, personal myth

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-3-153-163



Andrzej Walicki, Alyssa DeBlasio, Richard T. DeGeorge, Mikhail Maslin, Valery Kuvakin, Eve Levin, Philip T. Grier, Vladimir Marchenkov. Reminiscences about James Scanlan

Recollections here published are dedicated to posthumous tribute memory of  James Scanlan, an American historian of Russian philosophy who became famous for his writing on the philosophical views of Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky as well as for masterful English translations of the works of Russian philosophers. Scanlan also wrote extensively on the history of Marxism in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia. Among Scanlans accomplishments a multi-volume anthology of Russian Philosophy he co-authored with James Edie, Mary-Barbara Zeldin and George Kline deserves special mention. It still remains an indispensable reference work in university courses throughout America. Scanlan had been among the pioneers of what came to be known as 'philosophical Sovietology'. Authors of the essays composing this section explore Scanlan's biography and the evolution of his scholarship in connection with the events of his life. A special place is given to personal impressions from meeting Scanlan, the memories of witnessing his reaction to historical developments, in particular to the changes that occurred in Russia in 1990s.

Keywords: Scanlan, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, George Kline, Russian philosophy, philosophical Sovietology, Marxism

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-3-164-196