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Philosophical Thought

The phenomenon of Russian nihilism in ideological legacy of A. I. Herzen

Viazinkin Aleksei

PhD in Philosophy

Docent, the department of History and Philosophy, Tambov State Technical University

392000, Russia, Tambovskaya oblast', g. Tambov, ul. Sovetskaya, 106






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Abstract: The subject of this research is the problem of “Russian nihilism”, developed in the philosophical works of Russian thinker Alexander Ivanovich Herzen. Placed in a more extensive context of revolutionary-democratic thought and philosophy of populism (Narodnichestvo), the phenomenon of “Russian nihilism” requires a profound gnoseological analysis. The results of this historical-philosophical analysis testify to the fact that the phenomenon carries rather philosophical-anthropological importance rather than socio-philosophical importance, as its core is the idea on the type of “nihilist”. Question about the genealogy of nihilist type aroused debates between D. I. Pisarev and A. I. Herzen, which became one of the key sources of interpretations of the “Russian nihilism” as a social and spiritual-cultural phenomenon of Russian civilization. The scientific novelty consists in considering the worldview of the Russian thinker through the prism of his aesthetic interpretation of nihilism. Russian nihilism is described as a polygenetic phenomenon of national culture, and Herzen as one of the ideological forerunner and inspirer of the “Russian nihilism”, Herzen synthesized the main problem of the Russian philosophy – liberation of man, with the idea of radical individualism (sovereign personality) and libertine. Based on a number of analytical theses, formulated in the article, Herzen’s worldview of the late 1940’s – early 1850’s is characterizes as “aesthetic nihilism”.

Keywords: philosophical anthropology, social philosophy, Narodniks philosophy, freedom, sovereign personality, Russian nihilism, Herzen, historical nihilism, libertinage, aesthetical nihilism
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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