Institute of Philosophy
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

  Philosophy Journal, 2015, Vol. 8, No. 1
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Philosophy Journal, 2015, Vol. 8, No. 1



Svetlana Mesyats. Proclus’ metaphysics: between worldview and language game. Reflections on the book of Radek Chlup

While giving full credit to the obvious merits of R. Chlup’s monograph on Proclus, the reviewer points to some disputable issues. First of all, she criticizes the author’s, methodology which consists in an attempt to recognize behind metaphysical systems of the late Antiquity certain irrational and “unaccountable” worldview assumptions allegedly taken for granted by a given thinker. The reviewer shows that the definition of “worldview” as employed by R. Chlup is contradictory, and that the identification of worldviews with Wittgenstein’s “language games” is completely unjustified. Secondly, the reviewer disagrees with R. Chlup’s idea to divide Neoplatonism in two kinds, “western” and “eastern”, the first of which describes reality in more holistic terms, whereas the second analyzes it into a network of exactly defined relations. While arguing against this hypothesis, the reviewer shows that it leads the author to incorrect interpretation of main Neoplatonic doctrines such as participation, emanation and conversion, the soul’s union with the God and so on. As a result, the final picture of the arrangement of Proclus’ metaphysics seems to be incorrect.

Keywords: History of philosophy, Neoplatonism, metaphysical systems of late Antiquity, worldviews, Plotinus, Iamblichus, Proclus, theory of participation, unio mystica





Helen Petrovsky. Photography: gravitation of the demos

The article draws on François Laruelle’s conception of non-photography elaborated in his book of the same name. His basic assumption may be developed in the following manner. Any semiotic or aesthetic reading of representation as something endowed with hidden – transcendental – meaning proves dramatically insufficient. Instead, photography should be treated as a new “science” that gravitates towards community understood in an almost physical sense. Community is the expression of the forces of life or a synonym of togetherness that “precedes” any type of representation whatsoever. It is the task of the critical thinker (to remember Walter Benjamin) to reveal the traces of this presymbolic “presence” in symbolic forms that do everything to repress, distort or neutralize it. Despite its unique certifying power photography is no exception in this respect. Yet redefined as a science of forces, a new theory of photography will be closer to physics than to aesthetic theory in the classical sense.

Reviewing various theories of photography the paper shows that photography has no essence of its own. Instead, it allows one to decipher the imprint of bodies and their interactions, which is very close to the Spinozian notion of (clear and distinct) Ideas. Be it from the viewpoint of epistemology or that of political philosophy, photography invariably displays its ability to certify. Only from now on it is not “reality” that it references but the physics of bodies, which, again in the spirit of Spinoza, proves to be the measure of politics itself.

Keywords: photography, image, idea, representation, demos, non-philosophy, Spinoza, Deleuze, Laruelle


Oleg Aronson. Affect within the coordinates of non-philosophy

The article aims to solve a double task. On the one hand, it attempts to clarify some of the concepts of François Laruelle’s non-philosophy; on the other hand, it identifies in the foundations of science an affective plan which is ignored by non-philosophy itself. Resorting to Spinoza, the author shows affect to be something that confronts our ability to think about the world in terms of essence and representation, i.e., our habit of «doubling the world» (Laruelle).

Affect belongs to the plane of immanence because it bears witness to the realm of thinking without a subject and to that of perception without an object. The very introduction of the concept of immanence, however, requires constant acts of differentiation. The philosophy of difference has two poles: firstly, immanentism, which resists the domination of transcendence, and, secondly, the deconstruction of onto-theology where the relationship between the transcendental order and the formal semiology of language and text generates numerous aporias. In the last instance, Deleuze’s immanentism is committed to replacing philosophical concepts with signs of art, while Derrida’s deconstruction unveils the obscure axiomatic foundations of European thinking, which raises the question of the affective foundations of any axiomatic model whatsoever. These two incompatible lines achieve their «quantum» unity in the artistic practice as theorized by Marcel Duchamp, who seeks to minimize the sensual characteristics of a work of art and to identify the affective content of abstraction. Just like Duchamp in contemporary art, François Laruelle treats the apparatus of philosophy as ready-made objects, which, albeit losing their depth, retain the trace of a philosophical desire for transcendence.

Keywords: affect, non-philosophy, art, immanence, transcendence, deconstruction, the One, Laruelle, Deleuze, Derrida, Duchamp





Faris Nofal. Understanding of time and temporality in Kalam

The paper examines the understanding of the essence of time and temporality in the Ash'arite and Mu'tazilite schools of Kalam. Referring to the theories of time laboreted by the most prominent Muttakallimun, the author concludes that Arabic philosophy of  time is unique and irreducible to the ancient heritage. Consequentially analyzing the various concepts of greatest thinkers of the Muslim East, the author traces their genesis and evolution, as well as their interrelation, which affords him to speak about the undoubted succession of Kalam traditions. Besides that, it is shown how the pre-Peripatetic, classic Kalam bases its understanding of time on the concepts of process and action, whereas the later Ash'arites,  who have experienced a significant impact of Arabic peripatetism, prefer to talk about unknowability of time or its substantiality. Unprecedented for both Eastern and Western traditions of philosophizing is the concept represented by Fahruddin al-Razi who introduces time in his emanational scheme and gives it a special ontological status. Particular attention is paid to the problem of discrete time in Kalam and the interrelation between the “lasting”, or “historical time” (zaman-time), and the “now-time” (waqt-time) as it appears from the standpoint of the most prominent Ash'arite thinkers.

Keywords: temporality, time, philosophy of time, waqt, zaman, Kalam, Arabic peripatetism, Islamic philosophy


Ekaterina Poljakova. Once again on the «free minds», or How is a sovereign individual possible?

The article suggests an interpretation of Nietzsche's philosophy centred on his notion of a sovereign individual, or “free mind”. The question is how is it possible to speak of sovereignty after Nietzsche himself effectuated the destruction of the subject and argued that nothing individual can be accessible to consciousness. The interpretation of Nietzsche's philosophy as a homily or an appeal, on the one hand, and the thesis of its inconsistency, on the other, – both seem equally futile. And if there is a contradiction here, it is not accidental, it points the possibility of a more profound understanding of sovereignty than a mere independence from social norms. In view of the subtle and invisible struggle of cravings and affects, in view of the struggling discrepant wills, sovereignty should be won time and again; it should be won, however, not by resisting to outward force, but by indefatigable self-surmounting, by surmounting one's own deepest desires, those which Nietzsche calls “desires of one's own heart”. It was these that philosophers have hitherto taken for proofs. Therefore, Nietzsche's appeal for spiritual liberation is, above all, addressed to philosophers: they should learn to keep a tight rein on their 'pros' and 'cons', they should learn to realize the intellectual damage that any 'convictions' are fraught with, they should surmount any “desirability” and learn to see it as unjust. Yet, this is not to be taken as an imperative, since the criterion of 'desirability' is deeply individual and extremely paradoxical. By introducing it Nietzsche shows what in his view still deserves to be called sovereignty and individuality. A strong mistrust towards one's own self is the vector indicating the direction of spiritual activity which alone, according to Nietzsche, is worthy of being called philosophy.

Keywords: Nietzsche, the subject, sovereign individual, the will, self-surmounting, mistrust


German Bokov. Nietzsche’s philosophical legacy and Death of God Theology

The present article deals with the problem of crisis of Christian consciousness exemplified in 1960s by the emergence of the so-called Death of God Theology, a highly controversial project in American protestant thought. The leaders of this movement had their views influenced by the reflection on the destiny of Christianity in the work of the great philosophers and theologians of the second half of the 19th – first half of the 20th century, such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Karl Barth, Paul Tillich and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. After witnessing in the wake of World War II the loss of credit suffered by both Catholic and Protestant Churches both of which, openly or tacitly, supported the fascist regimes, the exponents of Death of God Theology came up with the idea of a “Post-Christian Era”. In heir attempt to provide answers to the religious and philosophical questions the postwar generation was putting, they offered a particular interpretation of Nietzsche's thesis that “God is dead”. Universally recognizing Nietzsche's critique of Christianity as justifiable and accepting Bonhoeffer's concept of “non-religious Christianity”, they raised the problem of the very possibility of speaking about God in a secular world. Like the representatives of many other trends in theology that emerged during the same period in the West, theologians of the Death of God school endeavoured to “rescue Christ from oblivion” by way of developing theories of “kenotic Christology”, Thomas Altizer's “Christian atheism” being the most original contribution among these. As a radical anti-Trinitarian, Altizer understood the “death of God” in Christ as a leveling of the transcendental; following Nietzsche, he argued that Jesus Christ had found the “real life”, whereas the Church “deified Nothing”. Seeing as Nietzsche, speaking of the “death of God”, meant “the end of Christianity”, radical theologians strove to detect the presence of Christ in the midst of the secular world, i. e., outside the “religious forms”, thus evidencing the unprecedented theological and ideological transformations.

Keywords: God is dead, Death of God Theology, post-Christian era, Christian radical theology, Christian atheism, Epiphany of Christ, religionless Christianity, kenotic Christology, Nietzsche's Antichrist, ethics of responsibility, eternal recurrence


Ksenia Vorozhikhina. Nietzsche in France: a conflict of the early interpretations

This paper deals with the reception of Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy in France before the birth of the post-modern “French Nietzsche”. The attitude of French intellectuals to the German thinker has never been simple. The author emphasizes that the first reviews of Nietzsche's works were very harsh: French critics accused Nietzsche of nihilism and immorality; chaotic and devastating nature of Dionysian ecstasy repelled them. Nietzsche's ideas aroused interest mainly in literary circles, while professional philosophers did not accept them. The article gives an idea of the first academic studies of Nietzsche's writings published by the founders of German studies in France, the right-wing thinker Henri Lichtenberger and the socialist Charles Andler, both of them natives of Alsace and Lorraine. The difficult destiny of Nietzsche's philosophy in France was determined by the strategy chosen by the Nietzsche Archive in Weimar and the position adopted by Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, philosopher's sister, as well as by the two world wars. A significant contribution to the rehabilitation of Nietzsche was made by Georges Bataille (who focused on those aspects of Nietzsche's philosophy which were alien to National Socialist ideology), by postmodernists and poststructuralists, and by Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari who published Nietzsche`s manuscripts. Famous colloquia at Royaumont (1964) and Cerisy (1972) are evidence of special attention paid by philosophers to Nietzsche. At the end of 1960s Nietzsche's philosophy became part of the program of higher education in France. The majority of interpretations of Nietzsche's works are mutually exclusive.

Keywords: Nietzscheanism, archive in Weimar, aesthetic justification of reality, Pan-Germanism, militarism, the will to power, eternal recurrence, immorality, Dionysiansism, Georges Bataille




Irina Valiavko. Dmitry Ivanovich Chizhevsky and his studies in the history of philosophy (Towards Chizhevsky’s 120th anniversary)

The present paper examines the work in the history of philosophy produced by Dmitry Chizhevsky (1894–1977), an important Russian-Ukrainian émigré natural scientist, philosopher, Slavonic scholar and historian of culture. Considering the philosophical influences which determined Chizhevsky's views, it would be fair to name him a “philosopher of spirit”, or Hegelian in the broader sense of the word. On the other hand, his studies in Husserlian paradigm and his writings on comparativism and the problems of interpretation make him a representative of philosophical hermeneutics. While on the whole Chizhevsky accepts the Hegelian scheme of the progress of philosophy, he brings into it a new element, that of nationality which he believes to affect considerably the “building blocks” of philosophical ideas: not only does the spirit of a nation affect its history, but, moreover, the nation as such can become what it is only by living through a historic drama of national destiny. Such modifications introduced into the Hegelian system were later to become an important element in Chizhevsky's studies of Slavonic, and especially Ukrainian thought. Particular attention is given the Prague period in Chizhevsky's life (1924–1932), during which he developed a close relationship with Prague linguistic circle and made history of philosophy, notably that of the Slavonic nations, the main point of his interests. Through his involvement with the work on comparative history of Slavic literatures, Slavic lexicology, history of the Church and Germanoslavica (the study of influence exerted by German thinkers on the spiritual life of the Slavs), Chizhevsky discovers his lifetime mission, i.e., the study of the spiritual history of the Slavs.

Keywords: history of philosophy of the Slavic nations, Chizhevsky's scientific and documentary legacy, cultural and historical analysis, Prague linguistic circle, Hegel's theory, phenomenological school, “building blocks” of philosophical ideas, comparative studies, philosophy of language, Germanoslavica, Ukrainian spiritual history




Siniša Atlagić. Towards the problem of Russia’s image abroad: the example of Serbia

From the viewpoint of values as the basic element of politics, the author discusses the significance of public image for the development of individual views on political personalities, processes and events. In political perspective, the public image can be regarded as potential means of implementing the interests of a given subject of politics; hence the problem of Russia's insufficiently taking advantage of her invariably positive image in Serbia for the sake of pursuing her interests in that country. Serbia is a country where any mention of Russia or anything connected with Russia immediately evokes positive emotions; a stable positive image, however, is in itself no guarantee that Serbian general public or individual Serbs would opt for the “Russian way” in politics or economy. The answer to the question as to what steps Russia should undertake in order to prompt the citizens of Serbia to give practical support to the increase of Russian influence in their country lies, according to the author, within the fact that, on the one hand, Russia's image is largely determined by the priorities of her policy and her readiness to invest in the promotion of her own image, whereas on the other hand, one must take into account that Serbs are expecting first to see Russia attain victories on the internal, and above all on the economic front, and to witness the growing well-being of the Russian population: only in the latter case would the Russian standard of life be deemed attractive.

Keywords: values, image, identity, soft force, Serbia, Russia