Статья 'Солидаристское государство как гарант социальной справедливости в философии И. А. Ильина' - журнал 'Философская мысль' - NotaBene.ru
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Philosophical Thought

The Solidaristic State as a Guarantor of Social Justice in the Philosophy of I. A. Ilyin

Zandelov Vladislav Vladimirovich

Postgraduate student of the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences, Murmansk Arctic State University

183038, Russia, Murmansk region, Murmansk, Egorova str., 15










Abstract: The article closely examines Ivan Ilyin’s views on the phenomenon of social justice in its relation to the state. The inability to establish the principles of social justice through a normative legal act as well as the contradictory nature of understanding justice by some individuals create a scenario in which the state, according to Ivan Ilyin, should result in solidarism based on the principles of natural law. In this regard, the political aspect of society is of particular importance, since the traditional way of conducting political activity is often associated with the implementation of the interests of the selected few or groups of individuals that go against the nationwide will. Among the main conclusions of this study is the idea that Ivan Ilyin highly valued the principles of the form of government, which is focused on the control of the inner processes in society, and the search for a unified national ideology for its implementation in politics. According to Ivan Ilyin, the state should not put itself above the law which it creates. Otherwise, it will not be able to take into account and express the interests of its citizens. That way social justice will forever remain unattainable and the political aspect of society will be a reason for dispute leading to the collapse of statehood itself.


society, government, rights, law, politics, ethics, solidarity, sense of justice, nomocracy, Ilyin

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

The problem of social justice is one of the key issues in the philosophical work of I. A. Ilyin. The philosopher closely connects this phenomenon with state life and the state structure. The practical implementation of the principles of social justice according to I. A. Ilyin is impossible outside the state, based on fair laws and a healthy sense of justice of citizens, however, the role of the state is by no means reduced to the formalist establishment of a certain "formula" of social justice. I. A. Ilyin's positive law is subordinated to natural law, therefore laws should not contradict natural legal consciousness. The degree of fairness of the laws adopted largely depends on how the state is organized, where these laws are adopted and applied.


The highest goal of the existence of the state according to I. A. Ilyin is to protect the motherland on the basis of law and justice [1, p. 239], as Ivan Alexandrovich writes in his work "The Path of Spiritual Renewal". Earlier, in his essay "On the Essence of Legal Consciousness", he noted that the establishment of justice in public life is one of the main tasks of state power [2, p. 306]. However, an attempt to realize this justice at any cost can have detrimental consequences for the state, since it is constrained by various factors. Justice cannot contradict the very existence of the State. This assessment of the priority of justice is due to the fact that the philosopher does not recognize justice as the highest or last value of the human spirit [3, p. 242]. With the overestimation of the importance of justice, he associates the danger coming from people who demand complete justice here and now. Taking into account the fact that justice is not a ready-made doctrine [4, p. 180], which could be implemented based on some algorithm, such requirements can lead to the development of a revolutionary situation or to the distance of individual people from the spirit of justice. It should be noted that this approach of the philosopher indicates a certain pragmatism of his concept of justice, which is at odds with the thesis about the utopian nature of his ideas, which is noted by a number of researchers [5].


Utopianism of I. A. Ilyin's views on the phenomenon of social justice was noted at an early period of studying his philosophical heritage, so, for example, we can find this idea in the dissertation of D. A. Sysuev [6, p. 148], who noted that the viability of the philosopher's ideas depends on the correct definition of the criterion of justice [6, p. 142]. Speaking about the criteria of justice, we note that I. A. Ilyin himself noted the liveliness and dynamism of justice. It cannot exist in the form of a once-and-for-all formulation established by state institutions [7, pp. 239-240]. The reasonableness of justice is also limited – it cannot be realized without love and objectivity [4, p. 180]. And here a certain contradiction arises – I. A. Ilyin's earlier works are devoted to the issue of gaining social justice through legal awareness and laws, and at a later stage he claims that "just people reject the mechanical interpretation of people on abstract grounds" [7, p. 238]. We consider it permissible to assume that the resolution of this contradiction lies in the philosopher's general attitude about the primacy of natural law over positive, spiritual searches over ready-made formulations, a love-based relationship over mechanical formalism.


The analysis of I. A. Ilyin's philosophical heritage opens up a number of opportunities for a deeper understanding of the role of the state and law in human life. Today, the idea of internal consistency between the state and society, as well as the rejection of competition in favor of cooperation, are becoming particularly relevant.


The fulfillment of the collective goal of protecting the motherland is possible provided that citizens are carriers of state legal awareness. I. A. Ilyin calls the manifestation of this form of legal consciousness the presence of solidarity among citizens, expressed in the form of a common political goal that will not diverge from their personal interests [1, p. 242]. Ivan Alexandrovich witnessed a split in Russian society, and this split turned into revolutionary events in Russia, which left a deep imprint on the philosopher's work. The revolution according to I. A. Ilyin testifies to the crisis of legal consciousness in society. In conditions when there is no healthy state legal consciousness in society, it becomes extremely problematic to find any compromise between the colliding social groups. I. A. Ilyin perceived the revolution as a personal tragedy, and a significant part of his post-revolutionary creativity is connected with the formulation of ideas about the prevention of such situations. I. A. Ilyin calls the achievement of solidarity one of the main conditions for the harmonious existence of society and the state.


The social contract described by Zh.-Zh. can serve as a manifestation of such solidarity. Rousseau, but I. A. Ilyin finds the form of citizens' association based on "tacit consent" insufficient, and takes a position close to G. Hegel, the essence of which is that a volitional act should accompany not only the moment of uniting people into a state union, but also all their further activities to maintain this union [2. p. 113].


Solidarism as an ideological and political trend emerged in France in the XIX century. At its origins is O. Comte, who considered social solidarity as the moral foundation of society. Such reflection was associated with the crisis uncertainty after the abolition of the Second French Republic [8, p. 55]. In the most general form, the essence of solidarism as a political practice boils down to finding a compromise between social strata and groups and forming a system where representatives of different classes will be able to contribute to the public good that does not contradict personal interests. For example, E. Durkheim closely linked the division of labor with the class structure of society, therefore, class stratification in society cannot be eliminated, nor can the division of labor be eliminated. This circumstance distinguishes solidarism from socialism. Similar ideas were developed by L. Bourgeois, who recognized the association of people as a subject of public life [9, p. 122].


E. Durkheim distinguished two types of solidarism: mechanical and organic. The first is more characteristic of traditional societies, where individual and collective consciousness are identical, and the second is already associated with the division of labor, that is, this type is inherent in more modern societies [10, p. 89]. The influence of French sociologists is seen in the works of I. A. Ilyin, solidarity is associated with both economic factors (albeit to a lesser extent) and issues of individual and collective consciousness, which are illuminated in the works of the Russian philosopher through the prism of legal consciousness.


By the end of the twentieth century, solidarism appears as a new alternative for the socio-political development of European countries [11]. The purpose of solidarism as a political trend is to mitigate class contradictions, as it was, for example, in the Third French Republic, where it was recognized as an official ideology. Such an approach, as a rule, is associated with the settlement of exclusively economic issues, which is unacceptable for I. A. Ilyin, who saw the foundations of solidarism in the state legal consciousness.


Speaking about I. A. Ilyin's views on the nature of the state and social justice, it is impossible not to note the influence of G. Hegel. Ivan Alexandrovich develops a number of his ideas, for example, about private property, which every person should have within the framework of a just order [12, p. 108], or about the opposition of true conscience, without which it is impossible to achieve solidarity in society, and formal [12, p. 179]. The methodological foundations of I. A. Ilyin's research also have their roots in the teachings of G. Hegel and I. Fichte. The basis of I. A. Ilyin's philosophical method is objectivity, the roots of which go back to the work of German classics. The philosopher's orientation to the essence of the subject under study, his creative experience and contemplation are necessary conditions for cognitive activity. For example, G. Hegel argued about the need for contemplative immersion in the subject [13, p. 393], and I. Fichte wrote about the need to dive into the subject "with his head" [14, p. 580]. Thus, genuine knowledge for I. A. Ilyin is not in abstract theorizing, but in direct long-term experience of the studied, which makes Ivan Alexandrovich's approach related to E. Husserl's phenomenology.


In the Russian philosophical tradition, solidarism was often regarded as a religious phenomenon. For example, V. S. Solovyov believed that church unity and Christian morality are the basis of conciliar solidarity, S. L. Frank associates this concept with spiritual unity and community of fate, and N. A. Berdyaev associates solidarism with religious consciousness. Solidarism as an ideological concept in the view of Russian thinkers often came close to liberalism (M. M. Kovalevsky, N. M. Korkunov, B. A. Kistyakovsky) and socialism (M. A. Bakunin, P. L. Lavrov, L. I. Mechnikov, N. K. Mikhailovsky). At the same time, there was also a more moderate view (N. S. Timashev, G. K. Gins, S. A. Levitsky, I. V. Voshchinin, D. V. Vladimirsky, K. V. Fotiev), which criticized fascist and communist solidarism [15, pp. 107-109]. In our opinion, I. A. Ilyin's approach to the relationship of solidarity and social justice tends to a greater extent to the religious interpretation of these phenomena, since the mutual commitment of citizens and the state leads to the emergence of Christian solidarity [1, pp. 247-248]. Ivan Alexandrovich pays less attention to economic and social practices on the pages of his works, focusing on the spiritual and legal life of society.


I. A. Ilyin, like V. S. Solovyov, recognizes the moral significance of law, diverging from the position of L. N. Tolstoy, who treated law in a fundamentally negative way, but not approaching B. N. Chicherin, who absolutized the autonomy of law from morality. V. S. Solovyov recognizes the role of law as a regulator of the moral life of society at a certain stage its development. We find a similar intention in I. A. Ilyin, for whom positive law is a necessary condition for a harmonious social life in conditions until the vast majority of people develop a natural sense of justice. At the same time, legislation should not replace a person's conscience.


Solidarism is essentially opposed to socialism and liberalism. Unlike liberalism, solidarism does not imply the supremacy of subjective rights. The correlation of subjective human rights and public interests is analyzed in detail by I. A. Ilyin, and the conclusions he draws indicate that the Russian philosopher saw solidarism as the foundation for the progressive evolutionary development of society.


According to I. A. Ilyin, the private interests of citizens are not lost, but enter a state of identity with the state, since a true citizen realizes that his personal (and at the same time just) interest is already included in the general state will, and the state will express or at least protect this interest. The state does not descend to the level of individual interests of its citizens, on the contrary, it raises private interests to the level of national ones so that the totality of these interests is something more than their mechanical sum. Every citizen in an unfair situation, whether poor, unemployed or homeless, serves as a living reproach to the state, since his interest is certainly nationwide, but in this case this interest is not protected [1, p. 249]. The state interest should be expressed in "improving joint life through the establishment and maintenance of a just law and order" [2, p. 112]. Within the framework of the described law and order, every citizen will understand that his personal goal is not feasible bypassing the personal goals of other citizens. Thus, competition between citizens will be meaningless and should be replaced by cooperation, the implementation of which will allow achieving collective solidarity justice.


At the same time, I. A. Ilyin emphasizes that it is important for a citizen to distinguish personal interests from the question of justice. Moreover, each of the citizens should be ready to give up their just claim if it contradicts the interests of the motherland [3, p. 239]. This remark, referring to the late period of Ivan Alexandrovich's work, at first glance may look like a call to dissolve personal will in the national will. But we should not forget that the state itself, in the mind of the thinker, strives to maintain just harmony in society, without leaving people destitute. I. A. Ilyin himself notes that "we should all be ready to temporarily tolerate injustice in the name of our motherland, because before enjoying a "just life", we need to provide ourselves with at least some kind of life" [3, p. 243]. I. A. Ilyin's solidarism is based on mutual recognition of citizens and the state, their relations are mutually binding.


Speaking about the idea of a solidaristic state, I. A. Ilyin notes that in its idea it is a corporation, whereas in reality we are faced with states-institutions [2, p. 277]. This state of affairs is a problem in practice, since the state institution deprives subordinate subjects of the opportunity to realize collective interests, and this circumstance leads the legal life of the state to a situation where it is impossible to establish fair relations between people in society. Ivan Alexandrovich sees the solution to this problem in the evolutionary reform of the state system as such, in changing people's perception of the essence of the institution of the state. In all cases when I. A. Ilyin's thought turns to the future, he focuses on the evolutionary nature of the changes that must occur. The path of revolution, inevitably associated with violence, is unacceptable for a philosopher – on the one hand, the evolutionary approach already at the early stages of the development of his socio-political philosophy becomes an integral element of the methodology of the Russian thinker. On the other hand, this may be due to the personal experience of I. A. Ilyin, who survived the revolutionary years while in Russia. The greatest disunity of Russian society, demonstrated by the events of 1917-1923, could push the statesman Ilyin to the principle of solidarism.


Political activity is based on the same principle, which brings results only if its various subjects manage to act within the framework of the mutual rule of law to achieve common political interests. I. A. Ilyin notes that the representatives of specific political interests – classes and parties – should first of all ask themselves what the motherland needs., and have a program of "national justice", otherwise, political life and the electoral process risk turning into a "tragicomic misunderstanding", or even turn into a revolutionary situation [1, pp. 252-253]. The party's desire for power can be approved only if it does not put the state on the brink of civil war, and if the party's goal–setting meets the interests of the state (read - citizens).


According to I. A. Ilyin, the political sphere should be devoid of personal and class interests [2, p. 273]. Politics as a separate sphere of public and state activity should pursue the collectivist goal of maintaining natural and legal justice and protecting the spiritual culture of its people. Ivan Alexandrovich in his work "The Path to Evidence" defines politics as "the art of justice" [7, p. 494]. The high responsibility imposed on all subjects of political activity is closely connected with a normal sense of justice and a correct understanding of the essence of the state as a means of maintaining the spiritual dignity of an individual and an entire nation. In this regard, I. A. Ilyin casually criticizes anarchism, which, according to the philosopher, is aimed at combating empty forms of statehood [2, pp. 275-276].


I. A. Ilyin calls political activity a key property of a "real citizen" [2, pp. 270-271]. In our opinion, such an assessment of the political activity of citizens contradicts the widespread assessment of Ivan Alexandrovich as a philosopher-statistician. The high importance of the political participation of citizens in his works refers us to Aristotle, who also saw social harmony as the basis of justice. With the high political activity of citizens and their awareness of state interests, it becomes impossible for individual people or authorities to usurp the right to justice, and it becomes a truly public domain. The achievement of justice will not be lost in an endless string of instances if every citizen acts based not on his own personal, but on the general interest. We consider it appropriate to draw a parallel with the Socratic understanding of justice as a good fit for another. In both cases, a harmonious social life becomes possible due to a kind of "mutual responsibility", when justice is everyone's business.


It is important to note that for the Russian thinker, the state acts primarily not as a founder of external life, but as a space for organizing internal life. The concentration of politicians on attempts to fully formalize state life, thus, detaches society from its creative roots and destroys the sense of justice in it. I. A. Ilyin in his works developed the idea that focusing exclusively on the external side of life is harmful – it concerns almost any forms of interaction between people: law, state, family and A person living in such conditions will himself appear as a set of external manifestations, he will be deprived of the opportunity to lead at least a semblance of a spiritual life. Such an existence will resemble the life cycle of a human machine, described by J. Lametri. In this sense, I. A. Ilyin again contrasts his teaching with Western liberalism, which, in matters of state-building, just focused on external forms of organization of life.


According to I. A. Ilyin, the state, as the founder of this law and order, is itself a subject of law and does not put itself above the legal reality [2, pp. 114-115]. Its existence is not the ultimate goal of the functioning of legal institutions, which correlates with P. I. Novgorodtsev's idea that "the Russian spirit expresses itself in an eternal striving for something higher than law and the state" [16, p. 367].


Thus, politics, creating "the right right" and state unity, remains subordinate to the spirit [2, p. 308]. In this case, the state acts as an instrument for maintaining the spiritual life of society. The same can be said about political activity as such. The effective activity of the State is possible only when the constituent parts of the State achieve a certain degree of solidarity described above.


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The reviewed article is devoted to the topical topic of the history of Russian philosophical and legal thought. However, I.A. Ilyin's views on the nature of the state in the last three decades, after the "discovery" of this name by a wide audience, have been repeatedly analyzed in the scientific literature, but even taking into account this circumstance, I.A. Ilyin's interest in the topic of solidarity has remained clearly insufficient until now. Therefore, one can only welcome the author's appeal to the chosen topic, such an article may have a fairly wide range of readers. However, the text presented by the author raises many questions and criticisms. Their common basis is the absence of historical, cultural and conceptual context in the consideration of the chosen topic. As for the conceptual component, obviously, it was necessary to begin the presentation by familiarizing the reader (at least briefly) with what solidarism is, under what circumstances it developed (primarily in French sociological and socio-philosophical thought), what place it occupies on the modern "map" of philosophical and legal teachings. The same can be said about the historical and cultural context, the reader may get the impression that I.A. Ilyin's views were formed and remained in a kind of "airless space", in fact, they are connected with many previous and modern schools and teachings, and their clarification requires at least a brief definition of these connections. Thus, it is unnecessary to substantiate the position about the dependence of I.A. Ilyin's views on the teachings of Fichte and, especially, Hegel, the study of which was of main scientific interest to him in his younger years. But this connection is not traced in the text. Moreover, the situation becomes almost comical when the author ends the article with a statement about the subordination of law and politics to the spirit, but this provision has a well-known "Hegelian background", why is there no reference to Hegel's "Philosophy of Law"? Almost the same can be said about the connection of I.A. Ilyin's views on the state with the traditions of the Russian philosophy of law. However, P.I. Novogorodtsev, Ilyin's direct teacher at the Faculty of Law, is mentioned at the end of the article, but in such a way as if the similarity discovered by the author is something accidental for the views of Novgorodtsev and Ilyin. But is Novgorodtsev the only one who should be mentioned here? And the relations with those in Russian philosophical and legal thought who held fundamentally different positions on the nature of the state, for example, the attitude to the teachings of B.N. Chicherin, is it possible without taking it into account to form an idea of the origin of the concept of the state in I.A. Ilyin? Of course, the list of such questions can be continued, we have indicated only those points that immediately attract the reader's attention, causing confusion and questions. In short, it should be stated that the text presented today is of an abstract nature (this is evidenced by an extremely meager list of sources), work on it should be continued so that its result can be considered as a full-fledged scientific article. By the way, the reviewed material has a very small volume, so the author will have no problems making at least the most necessary additions that will make it possible to decide on the possibility of publishing an article in a scientific journal. I recommend sending the article for revision.

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Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The subject of the study of the article "The Solidaristic state as a guarantor of social justice in the philosophy of I. A. Ilyin" is the socio-philosophical theory of I.A. Ilyin, which includes the doctrine of the state and law. The author of the article analyzes the works of the Russian philosopher devoted to issues of state-building, natural and positive law, principles of social structure and ethics. The article mentions the title of such works of the thinker as "The Path of spiritual renewal" and "On the essence of justice", the names of the other works referred to by the author of the article require additional research, since it is difficult to understand this from the text or the reference apparatus of the presented article due to the incorrect design of the list of references. The methodology of the research is not specified by the author and represents a tendentious interpretation of Ilyin's texts in order to prove the thesis that Ilyin's political philosophy contains ideas consistent with the concept of a solidaristic state. The author attributes the relevance of his research to the fact that the analysis of I. A. Ilyin's philosophical heritage "opens up a number of opportunities for us to better understand the role of the state and law in human life." It is difficult to disagree with this, however, with the caveat that such an analysis should strive for an authentic understanding of the thinker's ideas, and not "modernize" them by unreasonably approaching the "fashionable" trends of philosophical discourse. To date, Ilyin's thoughts about the internal consistency of the state and society can be considered as "well-forgotten old", which really gives them some relevance. The scientific novelty is not obvious, unless one considers as such an attempt to reinterpret Ilyin's ideas in the spirit of a solidaristic theory. Style, structure, content. The style of the article is difficult to recognize as scientific, since the author does not adhere to a consistently logical presentation, freely operates with philosophical concepts, arbitrarily narrowing or expanding their content, as is the case with the key concept of "solidaristic state". The principle of the organization of the text can be called rhizomatic – the author randomly arranges his thoughts on Ilyin's understanding of the state, the solidaristic theory of the state, the ethical views of the philosopher, arguments about the advantages of solidarism over socialism, understanding the essence of the state and society, the goals of the state, Ilyin's understanding of law, etc. The main objection that the reviewed article raises concerns the interpretation of Ilyin's views on the state and societies as militaristic. The author defines "the essence of solidarism as a political practice that boils down to finding a compromise between social strata and groups and forming a system where representatives of different classes will be able to contribute to the public good that does not contradict personal interests." Based on the conventionally fixed meaning of the term, solidarism, as a theory, presupposes a high level of development of personal self-awareness, in which an individual consciously sacrifices his interests in favor of the interests of others. Recognizing that Auguste Comte and Leon Bourgeois were at the origins of this theory, the author begins to "shake up" the concept, classifying Durkheim as supporters of solidarism, believing that the idea of collective consciousness of primitive society can be labeled as solidaristic. Accordingly, Ilyin's ideas about the coherence of the interests of citizens of the state are considered by the author of the article to be solidaristic. The author also refers to the idea of conciliarity – "In the Russian philosophical tradition, solidarism was often considered as a religious phenomenon." That is, the author does not see the difference between the state of "collectivism" (collective consciousness) Durkheim, in which the personality has not yet been formed and has no interests of its own, the state of "conciliarity", which Russian religious philosophers reflected on, in which individuality expands to the boundaries of the Church and has no other interests than the interests of the community of believers in acquiring one grace for all, and solidarism – the state of a personality that feels like a separate unit who is aware of herself through Another, who voluntarily gives up part of her interests for the sake of others. Ilyin's ideas are rooted in the tradition of Russian religious philosophy, the philosopher expresses confidence in the unity of the interests of an individual with the interests of society and the need to subordinate one's own goals to the goals of the state, all this is based not on an autonomous personality, but on the original collective, community, Church, symphonic personality (in the meaning of Karsavin). A person does not sacrifice his interests for the sake of others, his interests are not initially opposed to the interests of fellow citizens. Self-awareness is not thought of through the opposition of I-Other, but through identification with the family, community, and world. Ilyin's views are not just not identical to the concept of solidarism, they are fundamentally opposed to it. Therefore, I would like to remind the author of Shakespeare's line "A rose smells like a rose, Even if you call it a rose, even if you don't" and from the fact that someone will use "fashionable" terms to characterize Ilyin's teaching, his philosophy will not essentially change, it will simply not be understood by "innovators". The bibliography is present in the article, but its informativeness is significantly reduced by the incorrect design of the list – when quoting, the author gives a link not to a specific work by Ilyin, but to the volume in the ten-volume collection of works and pages in it, apparently counting on the fact that all his readers have this edition at hand. There is no appeal to the opponents. Conclusions, the interest of the readership. A reader unfamiliar with the philosopher's work is unlikely to get a wrong idea about him, since the text of the article is quite inconsistent. Readers familiar with Ilyin's legacy, the text of the article may encourage them to re-read his books, return mentally to the ideas of the philosopher, mentally or in writing disagree with the author of the article. Therefore, despite all the ambiguity, the article can be recommended for publication as an original author's interpretation of Ilyin's socio-philosophical concept and an occasion for scientific discussion.
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