About this project

This encyclopedia hosts scholarly entries on prominent thinkers and concepts in Russian and Soviet philosophy, with an emphasis on the period from 1950 to the present. Entries are organized by keywords.

 

What is filosofia?

Filosofia is the word for philosophy in Russian; it also signals the diversity of genres, ideas, and movements included within the boundaries of Russian philosophical thought. The philosophical tradition in Russia has historically included everything from traditional philosophical disciplines, such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics, to various philosophically oriented fields of inquiry, ranging from political and social thought to essayistic literary practices, cultural theories, and religious thought.

The practice of philosophy in Russia is deeply rooted in Western philosophical practices, and at the same time has developed its own structural traits, outside of the analytical-critical heritage of the Platonic and Aristotelian traditions. The source of these traits has been located in everything from “national predispositions” and the course of Russian history, to challenges faced by the Russian system of higher education. Filosofia, in this context, is defined not as a scholarly discipline or a language of argument, but as a more broadly construed, and often holistic relationship to the act of philosophizing—a relationship that may be exercised through any of the human avenues for creative and/or (ir)rational expression. As Russian philosopher and theologian Pavel Florensky described the position of Russia’s philosophers: “Moral pursuits, religious consciousness, and the activity not just of the head, but of all the organs of the spirit—in a word, we believe that life outside the private study is of the ultimate seriousness and is wholly dignified.”

Few Russian thinkers have made their way into the canon of Anglo-American philosophical inquiry. Perhaps this is due to the Russian tradition’s diversity of philosophical genres, its historically fluid relationship with ontological truth, or its creative interplay between filosofia and philosophy proper. Much of the work of Russian thinkers also remains untranslated, and is therefore accessible only to Russian speaking audiences. This project seeks to make the ideas of contemporary Russian thinkers more broadly accessible.

 

Using this site

Filosofia is organized by last name and keyword. Entries are authored by experts in the field, and the list of names represents a dynamic collection of entries on the most important figures in Russian/Soviet philosophy since 1950. Visitors can also search by keyword, which offers a way to conceptually map connections among thinkers and intellectual schools.

 

Guidelines for Contributors

The entries in Filosofia are not meant to be exhaustive or chronological, but guided by important concepts/themes in the work of a particular thinker, and organized according to keywords. Potential contributors should first send their chosen thinker, plus proposed keywords, to Alyssa DeBlasio and Mikhail Epstein for approval.

Entries on significant thinkers should be between 3000-4000 words; entries on less significant or lesser known figures should be between 1500-3000 words. All entries should begin with a concise intellectual biography, followed by philosophical summaries of 3-6 guiding keywords in a thinker’s work. Keywords should be as broad as possible, allowing for cross-linking with other entries. If possible, we ask that you choose at least one keyword already represented in the keyword master list, in order to continue building the network of connections among thinkers and entries. Please do not use footnotes or endnotes in your entries. For guidance on formatting, transliteration, and citations, please refer to any of the posted entries.

The following entries are currently in progress: Asmus, Bakhtin, Batkin, Gurevich, Horujy, Kagan, Kovalev, Losev, Nalimov, Oizerman, Podoroga, Pomerants, and Sinyavsky