Статья 'Идея социальной справедливости в философии Владимира Соловьева' - журнал 'Философская мысль' - NotaBene.ru
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Philosophical Thought

The Idea of Social Justice in the Philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov

Ismailov Nurmagomed

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4935-4902

PhD in Philosophy

Associate Professor of the Department of Humanities of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation

125167, Russia, Moscow, Leningradsky Prospekt str., 49/2, office 0617

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Abstract: The article examines the main provisions of the idea of social justice in the philosophy of the famous Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov. His interpretation of the idea of justice is studied in the context of his understanding of such concepts as morality, kindness, mercy, altruism, compassion, etc. It is emphasized that in his works V. Solovyov pays special attention to the question of the relationship and interdependence of justice and morality. A socially just and moral society is considered by him as a possible future. The idea of social justice in the philosophy of V. Solovyov is studied as an original teaching in the light of the enrichment of this problem. The author considers the views of V. Solovyov as a reflection of the realities of modern Solovyov society and tries to identify ideas in it that can be used in the implementation of social justice in the conditions of modern realities. The author explores the idea of justice in the philosophy of V. Solovyov in the context of the unity of all spheres of social life, causal and functional relationships, from the point of view of the relationship and interdependence of needs, interests, material and spiritual values. The interpretation of the idea of justice by V. Solovyov seems to the author interesting and original. This interpretation reflects the worldview of certain social strata of society and their wishes. His idea of justice has its absolute merits. The most interesting in the views of V. Solovyov is the provision according to which all the peoples of the world should have freedom of choice in terms of religion and religious orientation, proposals on the need for religious tolerance in society and in relations between peoples are interesting. The idea of social justice in V. Solovyov's philosophy requires further in-depth research in the context of current and subsequent social realities. At the same time, the author does not observe in the views of V. Solovyov the interrelation of the concepts of due and good, the interrelation of needs, interests and moral values.


Justice, morality, goodness, compassion, mercy, altruism, equality, freedom, religion, religious tolerance

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

IntroductionThe problem of social justice has always been relevant in various societies, and taking into account specific historical conditions, one or another aspect of justice came out on top.

If in Western European countries they paid more attention to the political and legal aspects of justice, then in Russia at all times, when studying justice, more attention was paid to its moral aspect, for Russian thinkers social justice was seen, first of all, as a moral category. Also, the realization of justice by Western philosophers was associated, first of all, with political and legal influence, and Russian philosophers in solving this problem mainly hoped for a moral, spiritual impact on a person. Many Russian philosophers were characterized by the study and understanding of justice through the prism of such concepts as truth, truth, faith, hope, love, freedom. However, it can be noted that already modern Russian philosophers have increasingly begun to pay attention to the study of various aspects of justice, including economic and political [See.: 9, 12, 13, 15].

In the light of the study of the problem of justice, the views of the famous Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov (1853-1900) are of particular interest. We consider him as a typical representative of Russian philosophy of his era, one of its most prominent representatives. In his writings, he paid great attention to the consideration of the problem of social justice, as well as equality and freedom, putting forward very interesting, original ideas. In our opinion, he managed to enrich the concept of justice to a certain extent. We are not trying to present in this article the main points of the entire philosophy and ethics of Vladimir Solovyov, but only what seems to us the most interesting in his interpretation of the problem of justice.

V. Solovyov's philosophical views can be considered as an expression of his personal feelings for the fate of a person, for the future of society, for the fate of the Russian people. But it can also be stated, not without reason, that he cannot be considered indifferent to the fate of other peoples. At the same time, we believe that he, being a true patriot of his country and being a highly moral person, also feels personally responsible for the events taking place in society, worrying about the society in which he lives. He cannot remain indifferent to the social injustice prevailing in modern society for him, he is not indifferent to the fate of a person. His works testify to his high citizenship. V. Solovyov considers it his duty to take part in the events of social and individual existence [17].

Research methodology.

As a methodological basis for the study of the problem of justice in the philosophy of V. Solovyov, we use the principle of development, considering this problem in change and development, the principle of historicism, that is, we try to comprehend the dynamics of the issues outlined here in relation to specific events of this era.

In the study of this problem, it seems mandatory to use an axiological approach, which allows us to identify people's attitude to issues of social justice, freedom and equality, to spiritual values in the context of their values, through the prism of various concepts of morality and moral assessments. In this regard, it is important to assess the development of public relations in the context of the categories of social justice, morality, in the context of improvement, or, conversely, degradation of personal qualities. When assessing social phenomena and philosophical views, one should take into account the extent to which certain virtues and measures proposed for public life really contribute to the progressive development of society. For the main criterion of social justice is the comprehensive development of the individual and the development of society as a whole [9, pp. 25-26].

In our study of the problem of justice in Vladimir Solovyov's philosophy, we proceed from the fact that his views are a reflection on the relevant historical realities, a reflection in the social sciences of the concrete historical needs and spiritual values of society. That is, as the main method of research, we use the materialistic understanding of history as the most important method of research and evaluation of social processes.

The results of the study.

V. Solovyov considers the concept of justice in the context of the philosophy of unity, through which he tries to determine the harmonious relationship between the unity of being of the world and the multitude of its constituent elements. The famous modern philosopher A.A. Huseynov draws attention to the need to study the problem of justice in the teaching of a thinker in the context of his philosophical system and worldview as a whole. For the solution of this problem is conditioned by the truth of the philosophical system as a whole [4, p. 17]. Initially, V. Solovyov believes that justice can be expressed in God, who really represents the highest spiritual principle, the main source of moral development for man, the starting point for him. Therefore, it is quite natural that he considers the concept of justice in the context of the concepts of goodness, love, truth and other concepts characteristic of the religious tradition, for the worldview of the Russian person. Justice connects truth, moral perfection and social life. However, at the same time, the concept of truth, by definition, should be presented in conjunction with the concept of justice, because "one truth is prescribed to everyone in its two degrees - as the law of justice and the commandment of perfection. The second presupposes the first, and only the first, i.e. the law of justice, is absolutely obligatory - always, everywhere and in everything" [16, p. 299]. Only the law of justice can be a moral guide for the state. It should not go beyond this understanding of the law in its activities. There should be no other choice for the state in this regard, and "only a dilemma is possible: to accept or reject the principle of justice" [16, p. 299].

If a person strives for the wholeness of being, then this indicates his desire for the embodiment of good, because it is this concept that reflects the fullness of being. A just person through the service of good should constantly strive for moral perfection. And justice, V. Solovyov is sure, is a form of love, it is understood by them as the achievement of goodness and love. At the same time, love, according to his views, implies a person's rejection of selfishness. It is this kind of love that should lead to salvation [17]. Exploring the spiritual origins of Orthodoxy, N. A. Orekhovskaya reasonably points out that the principle of love is the spiritual basis of all Christianity [14, p. 120].

Exploring the understanding of justice by V. Solovyov, it can be argued that he interprets it as one of the most important virtues of human existence and society. Along with justice, he attributes abstinence (moderation), courage and wisdom to the main virtues. The role of these virtues for human life and the whole social life is also very important. At the same time, he calls justice the fourth cornerstone virtue and presents us with four meanings of his understanding of justice [17, pp. 203-205].

The first meaning is: justice in this broadest sense "is a synonym for what is due, right, normal, true in general - not only in the moral field (regarding will and action), but also in the mental field (regarding cognition and thinking)" [17, p. 205]. In this case, under the correct and normal life activity of a person or a group of people, Vl. Solovyov means acts adequate to the current situation.

But here we should point out that the concept of normal, or not quite normal, is very conditional and relative. For different people (for representatives of different social groups), completely different actions and phenomena can be "normal and correct". It is worth noting that a person may not be aware of the fact that certain measures may seem moral and fair to him because of his objective interest in them [7, p. 29]. But he, however, may be aware of their immorality and injustice, even if these measures meet his interests. For this reason, a person can remain a moral and just person.

Also, V. Solovyov implies here, for example, the correct logically correct reasoning of a person on any issue, the solution of certain general theoretical problems as well. That is, in this sense, the very concept of justice can also refer to cognitive questions regarding various problems. This concept applies not only to moral issues of human existence, but also to natural existence [17, p. 205]. It seems that such an interpretation of justice also has the right to exist.

The second meaning: Solovyov puts a more definite and categorical meaning into the interpretation of the concept of justice as equality, presenting this concept in the context of the concept of social equality. In this sense, justice is already an expression of the basic principle of altruism, which requires "recognizing equally for all others the right to life and well-being that everyone recognizes for himself. And in this sense, justice is not some special virtue, but only a logical objective expression of the very moral principle, which subjectively or psychologically is expressed mainly in a feeling of pity (compassion, sympathy)" [17, pp. 205-206]. If we consider this logical consequence of V. Solovyov's social and moral views in the context of his worldview as a whole, in the context of his system of values and beliefs in the field of morality, then such an understanding of justice by him can be considered natural.

This interpretation of justice initially assumes that this concept is conditioned by the moral principle, therefore, according to the logic of V. Solovyov, it should be an expression of equality between different peoples and races. It is impossible not to agree with his conviction that representatives of some wild tribes of little-known regions of the globe have no less right to their lives and the development of their own personal qualities than, for example, even the most famous representatives of European culture. People "should respect this right equally in all cases" [17, p. 182]. At this point, he already touches on issues of international justice. Given the well-known historical realities, such arguments and conclusions do him great honor.

Also, V. Solovyov is honored by the fact that he proposed to provide all people with legal guarantees of freedom of religion. He proposed to show religious tolerance towards all people in this matter. In his article "The Dispute about Justice (1894)," he raises the question "of recognizing for other people's religious beliefs all those rights to free expression" that we desire for our own faith. He notes with regret that "this principle of equality of religious beliefs, which does not at all imply recognition of their equivalence," has not yet entered the country's legislation, as well as the rules of the administration [19, p. 445]. Despite the fact that he considered morality to be the measure of justice and its main guarantor, in this case, as we can see, he also considered law as a measure of justice, as one of its possible guarantors. We consider this provision of his philosophy to be one of its unconditional advantages. It can be argued that V. Solovyov was ahead of his era in terms of attention to cultural diversity and cultural differences. This issue is becoming particularly relevant in our modern society [10, p. 524].

V. Solovyov believed that the solution to this problem should naturally follow from the generally binding principle of justice, which coincides, as he believes, with the well-known "golden rule of morality", since, in fairness, people should not take those measures against others that they would not wish for themselves. Therefore, as it logically follows, it is impossible to oppress someone else's faith for oneself [19, p. 447]. Here we can fully agree with the views of A.A. Huseynov, according to which the forces of good and the ethics of nonviolence should overcome the forces of evil and take an appropriate place in the worldview of people. He suggests focusing on the good beginning in a person, on strengthening it in every possible way through purposeful cultivation and addition [3, pp. 35-41]. Continuing to analyze this issue in the context of the question of the relationship between justice and morality, V. Solovyov makes a legitimate conclusion that, according to the gospel formula, ("And so in everything, as you want people to do with you, so do you with them"), it is necessary to "recognize religious freedom and equality no matter how no less" than their own beliefs [19, p. 455].

At the same time, a simple mathematical equality in itself cannot correspond to this second sense of justice. Since such a situation is not excluded, Vl. Solovyov subtly notes, when a person equally shows indifference, irresponsibility, injustice towards people whose life and even fate depend on him. In order for equality to be not just mathematical, but actually fair, it must contain an ethical meaning. Such a situation is possible, for example, when a person shows equal care and love towards all people who depend on him [17, p. 404]. "Justice, as belonging to the field of the moral relationship of a person with his kind, is only a modification of the main proper motive of such relations, namely pity: justice is pity, uniformly applied" [17, p. 619].

The third meaning of the concept of justice, according to the views of V. Solovyov, characterizes different degrees of altruism, which is considered evidence of the moral attitude of a person to a person [17, p. 206].

In accordance with this sense of justice, there is its first degree, which Solovyov defines as negative. It is presented in the principle of "not offending anyone", it is considered to be justice proper. However, he believes that there should also be a second, positive degree, according to which "everyone should be helped". This interpretation of justice in actual social practice expresses mercy. This distinction, Solovyov believes, is conditional. It is not enough to consider justice a special virtue, because he considers helping people to alleviate their suffering a natural trait for a normal person [17, p. 206]. Here he wants to say that a truly moral person in his actions will not be limited only to the principle of "offending no one", because such half-measures are only a lesser degree of altruism. They cannot correspond to a special virtue. And a higher degree of morality and altruism involves helping all people, even complete strangers. And refusing such help to people is tantamount to resentment. Mercy, he believes, presupposes justice, and justice implies mercy. The principle of altruism always contains the idea of justice [17, p. 207].

Justice and morality are indeed interrelated and actually overlap and coincide on many issues. But the norms of justice and morality may not coincide, we believe. The objective criterion of justice presupposes the comprehensive development of the individual and society as a whole, including economic progress. However, the norms of morality do not always meet this criterion [9, pp. 26-27].

At the same time, we cannot agree with V. Solovyov on all the provisions of his reasoning. For a person who "offends no one", guided by his own beliefs, can "limit himself to half measures". Having agreed with the first principle of altruism, that is, without offending anyone, he may consider himself not obliged to help all people, especially if it is necessary to help others, alleviate their suffering and needs. Of course, such a person cannot be considered highly moral and merciful in Solovyov's view (in this regard, we agree with him in many ways), but he naively believes that a person should be aware and help. But such help does not logically follow from his reasoning. He just hopes for her and gives them wishful thinking. But in general, his wish, I think, is due to his moral beliefs, his worldview and deserves respect.

The fourth meaning of the interpretation of justice suggests that the objective expression of truth can be laws, the observance of which, as Solovyov points out, is considered an unconditional moral obligation, and submission to strict legality is a virtue, in this way "identifying it with justice" [17, p. 207]. Such an understanding of justice is possible only if the laws express the highest truth, which in this case comes from Divine perfection, he believes. And this conclusion can be considered a logical consequence of Solovyov's worldview. But the fact is that the laws actually in force in the life of society may be imperfect or clearly unfair. That is, justice in this sense indicated here is the observance of the existing legality, but such a desire for legality in itself cannot yet be considered a virtue. He believes, not without reason, that the source of human laws cannot be considered reliable and perfect. For this reason, justice as a virtue can often not coincide with legality, and sometimes directly contradict it [17, pp. 207-208].

The four meanings of V. Solovyov's understanding of justice, who appears here as a representative of his epoch, seem interesting to us, despite the fact that, as N.V. Fomin points out, different societies are in different social times. Consequently, understanding, at first glance, similar situations may have a significant difference [20, p. 44]. That is, the assessment of these historical realities should be adequate. But we also realize that, as the researchers emphasize, people's desire "to establish social justice is eternal" [6, p. 5].

Concerning Solovyov's views on the relationship between justice and laws, we note the unconditional relationship between justice and law, both arising from theoretical reasoning and from the actual practice of public life. It is the law that we consider to be the main guarantor of justice (without belittling the colossal role of morality). At the same time, of course, legal norms, although they should be based on the concept of justice, in practice do not always express and protect justice [9, pp. 157-162]. It is also impossible not to take into account the fact that the legal norms themselves can serve as a means of strengthening virtue, an instrument of legal consolidation of the norms of justice and morality. This process is interdependent [5, p. 5-16].

Also, V. Solovyov's interpretation of the issues of religious tolerance and equality of religious beliefs, where he acts, as we believe, as a supporter of fair equality in these issues, causes great respect. As noted by the well-known researcher of justice D. Rawls (Rawls), a society that positions itself as fair should not be guided by comprehensive religious or moral doctrines of the good that are common to all. It can consist of "a multitude of communities, each of which can be guided by its own concepts of the good, unless they contradict public justice" [See 8, p. 359]. S.E. Yachin draws attention to the fact that the key issue for the world community has become the issue of the conditions for reaching agreement on the norms of joint dormitory for people representing different cultures and different value systems [21, p. 60]. In this regard, we can talk about the special relevance of the issues considered by Solovyov.

Conclusion.So, V. Solovyov believes that justice should be an expression of morality and Divine perfection, the state and the norms of justice should represent organized pity towards weaker individuals, help and mercy, the organization of good.

And by themselves, these good wishes definitely arouse our respect. But he considers this problem as a pronounced representative of the idealistic understanding of history. He does not understand the determining role in the life of society of the needs and interests of various social groups. Of course, we realize at the same time that moral and spiritual values themselves also play a huge role in the life of a person and society. This follows from the principles of dialectics. Some researchers rightly emphasize the importance of the moral and humanistic vector of society's development, which is able to prevent the decline in the importance of human life in the modern world [1, p. 71].

V. Solovyov constantly calls for kindness, compassion, mercy, and pity, believing that justice should express morality in this way. But he does not quite understand that many traditional concepts of morality are predominantly socio-class and specifically historical in nature. For example, for some nationalities it was considered immoral to show their weakness, the need for any benefits, the need for compassion. They believe that mercy and compassion, unilateral assistance degrade human dignity. And the concepts of morality outlined above, which are such in accordance with the worldview of some peoples, can be considered immoral by these particular nationalities. Accordingly, the above concepts of compassion and help cannot serve as primary moral values for them.

For V. Solovyov, as a religious philosopher, the ideal of a just social order is the realization of the Kingdom of God, which, as he believes and hopes, expresses the ultimate goal of all life and activity, it is the embodiment of the highest good and the highest morality. "The realization of the ideal of integrity and justice is possible only with the assistance of God" [11, pp. 22-23].

V. Solovyov was sure that it was the moral element that "not only can, but also should be put at the basis of theoretical philosophy" [18, p. 97]. Of course, there is some truth in this famous position of his, which naturally follows from the basic provisions of dialectics. But we must admit that the opposite is also true: morality (as well as justice) must be theoretically justified. It is precisely this scientific justification of the virtues and the whole life of society that scientific philosophy is engaged in. It is scientific knowledge, we are sure, that should be the basis of our life activity, determine various virtues. There is an opinion that in the conditions of current realities, those societies in which the role of scientific knowledge will prevail over other factors of public life will lead the world [2, p. 147].

Philosophy of Vl. Solovyov, his understanding of justice can be considered a natural reflection of the corresponding socio-historical realities, an expression of the level of public consciousness of the Russian public thought of this era. Among his unconditional merits, among other things, one can also include his views on freedom of religion and religious tolerance. In general, V. Solovyov's philosophical arguments speak of him as a really moral person, about his kind attitude to people, about love for a person.


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