Who and for what reason needs philosophy?
According to the author, philosophy becomes necessary when some part of a society starts to experience the need for personal freedom. Philosophy is in the service not of power, but of the society composed of free people everyone among whom possesses a personal opinion and is thus bound to negotiate with others. Under a power which is despotic or tyrannical, philosophy as such was and still remains the language used not by power but by opposition to it, clarifying and explaining to everybody the meaning of human freedom.
Keywords: philosophy, public space, desacralization of power, demythologization of consciousness, freedom, civil society.
Philosophy and politics
The paper explores the complex relations between philosophy as a special kind of knowledge and politics as a special kind of activity. Particular attention is given the problem of super-determination of politics by philosophy, the latter laying claim to the knowledge of ultimate truth and to solving the problem of common good. The author suggests that a possible way to discard this super-determination may be offered by Heidegger's new ontology that gives a new treatment of the problem of relation between theoretical and practical knowledge.
Keywords: political knowledge, super-determination of politics, difference, practical philosophy, publicity.
How do the ideas turn into ideologies: the Russian context
The process in which an ‘idea’ transforms into ‘ideology’ invariably involves such changes as primitivization, politicization, massovization, normativization, monologization; this process, which is largely spontaneous, seems to be inevitable, especially in the age of mass society. Particularly alarming is the situation in certain societies (such as in Russia) where mass society gains total dominance over the civil society and where there appear not just 'ideologies' but the ideologies that are totalitarian and repressive. The main question in this case is: how to avoid the totalirization of ideology? The author singles out the three forms of totalitarian ideocracy which all use the same ideological mechanism, i.e., they all tend to manipulate the notion of ‘historical guilt’.
Keywords: civil society, public space, idea, ideology, Vladimir Soloviev, Nikolai Berdyaev, Fyodor Stepun.
The obscure subject of desire: Miguel de Beistegui's Moscow lectures (an analytical overview)
Miguel de Beistegui scrutinizes the problem of desire in French philosophy in the second third of twentieth century. Kojève's interpretation of early Hegel proved to be the impetus that urged French thinkers from Sartre to Levinas to explore the problematic of desire. Particular importance must be attributed to Lacan's theory, as it is in the Lacanian version of psychoanalysis that the idea of desire as expressing a ‘lack’ is considered to be the fundamental metaphysical principle. ‘The overcoming of metaphysics’ presupposes a new treatment of desire, introduced under the influence of post-structuralist and neo-Nietzschean theories of Deleuze and Foucault.
Keywords: desire, Kojève, the Master-Slave dialectics, Lacan, principle of deficiency (lack), immanence, Deleuze.
What I must not do?
The article examines the possibility of substantiating the moral absolutism within the framework of negative ethics, the central question for which is: what I must not do? The negative act, which is a key concept of negative ethics, is an act not performed exclusively on the strength of moral prohibition; it exemplifies the characteristic properties of morals by virtue of which the latter becomes the subject area of practical philosophy. Negative acts correspond to the criterion of moral absolutism: they are universally meaningful and elementary, and they are performed solely under a person's moral principles.
Keywords: ethics, negative ethics, negative act, moral responsibility, moral sanction, moral absolutism.
Self-definition of ‘I’
How does one come to be a philosopher? Or, to put it more specifically, why did Baruch de Spinoza choose to become a philosopher, in spite of the many attractive opportunities bestowed upon him by destiny? For the answer to this question, the author ransacks Spinoza's own writings and juxtaposes the opening pages of the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect with certain passages from Ethics. This survey reveals that there is something in common between two thinkers as different as Spinoza and Kierkegaard are on a first glance.
Keywords: ethics, Spinoza, Kierkegaard, Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect.
The public sphere, urban space and new media
The City and the Internet are regarded by the author as the space for the delivery of public utterance: thus, many activist groups formed on the base of selforganization make use of the urban space and the new media (websites, social networks and blogs) for carrying out their political projects. The purpose of the present article is to delineate the theoretical framework for developing of the concept of public sphere in which the current activist practices are being formed, and to show the new opportunities opening up for political groups owing to a critical approach to the problem of producing the public sphere.
Keywords: public sphere, multiple public spheres, counter-public sphere, activist practices, new media, urban space.
F.N.Bliukher and S.L.Gurko
Ideologic forms of political struggle
The paper offers an analysis of the question why ideology is again acquiring topicality. The authors examine the three types of subject relations (to the otherness in nature, to the likeness of the ‘other’, and to the self) and the three corresponding types of questions hereby produced, i.e., scientific, ethical and aesthetic. Questions of each type tend to rely on a specific truth theory, namely on the correspondent, pragmatical and coherent truth respectively. The authors argue that when the Hegelian model of struggling at the highest possible stake gets substituted by contemporary forms of imitative pseudo-conflicts, the aesthetic ideologies inevitably prove to be the dominant form.
Keywords: social relations, coercion to submission, technologies of power, future choice
Diagrammatic representation of logical principles in the Chinese logical and methodological tradition
The author argues that the conventional symbolic function, which is characteristic of the phonetic type of writing, contrasts with the iconic (in the sense of Charles Pierce) nature of Chinese pictograms and ideograms. The influence of the fundamentally non-symbolic paradigm, distinctive of the Chinese mode of thinking, on the representation of basic logical principles in Chinese logical tradition is further analyzed.
Keywords: Images (xiang 象), visual thinking, schematism, the laws of contradiction and excluded middle, logical tautology, geometrization of logic.
Herzen's philosophy today
The paper proposes the view of Herzen’s philosophy as an organic part of the Russian philosophy taken as a whole, not of any particular division of it. The author demonstrates the autonomous nature of Herzen’s philosophy and its independence from revolutionary or any other political activity. The idea of freedom emerges as the central point in Herzen’s thought.
Keywords: 200th anniversary of Herzen’s birth, integrity of Russian philosophy, Herzen and Russia, Herzen and the West, Herzen and Dostoevsky, Herzen and Leontiev, Herzen and eurasianism.
The ‘Hard Problem’ of consciousness. Is a solution conceivable?
Formulated by Chalmers in 1995, the so called ‘hard problem’ inspired a new wave of interest in the philosophy of mind. It seems, however, to conceal a paradox. On the one hand, Chalmers with many other analytic philosophers is ready to suppose that conscience is dependent exclusively on neural activity in the brain. On the other hand, he doubts that the question ‘Why do qualia exist?’ may be given a comprehensive answer within the domain of science. But may our lack of knowledge be the key? Or is a solution inconceivable in principle? In this paper an attempt has been made to cast some light on this problem.
Keywords: hard problem of consciousness, philosophy of mind, analytic philosophy, subjective experience, qualia, Chalmers, Ramachandran.
Between ‘knowing how’ and ‘knowing that’: Brandom on semantic pragmatism
Robert Brandom in his book on pragmatism discusses the possibility of a ‘synthesis’ of Anglo-American analytic and pragmatic traditions in philosophy. He puts forth the task of overcoming the dichotomy between practice and theory, pragmatics and semantics, ‘knowing how’ and ‘knowing that’. According to Brandom, different types of American pragmatism (‘linguistic’, ‘semantic’, ‘normative’, ‘instrumental’, etc.) solve this problem in different ways.
Keywords: Brandom, pragmatism, analytic philosophy, intentionality, semantics, philosophy of language, meaning, use, representation, instrumentalism.