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V. Alexandrovskaya Philosophic propaedeutics

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3. Hegel on thinking and being equality.

  1. Hegel suggests a staircase which symbolizes spiritual experience. Climbing the staircase, every person gets an access to the spiritual experience, collected by the mankind;

  2. at the top of the staircase every individual, independently of his abilities, can look at the world and at himself from the point of view of “ the world spirit”, for which there exists absolute equality of being and thinking;

  3. having reached the absolute equality (identity), philosophy loses ordinary consciousness and becomes pure thinking:

  • the sphere of pure thinking is the sphere of logics;

  • a subject must not interfere with the sphere of notions, he must only observe the notion;

  • every notion has its own concrete side;

  • every notion is transferred not into all other notions, but into its own one;

  • the last notion is transferred into its opposite one; such process continues up to the highest synthesis - “ absolute and complete truth, thinking itself idea”.

3. Hegel’s philosophical conception. Idealistic dialectics.

  1. Hegel (1770-1831) tried to prove that the origin of multitude and single is the subject of rational cognition, the instrument of which is logical thinking and the main form of which is a notion:

  • the basis of this cognition is dialectical logics, and the moving force is contradiction (opposition);

  • Hegel insisted on re-considering the nature of a notion;

  • an absolute notion is an absolute object and subject identity;

  1. A “pure notion” is equal to essence of things; he distinguished it from subjectively given notions:

  • self-development of a notion is subordinated to the dialectics laws;

  • logics coincides with dialectics, and the latter one is understood as the theory of development, the basis of which is unity and conflict of opposites;

  • the dialectics of a “pure notion” development makes up a general law of both nature and human thinking development;

  1. Hegel considers the spheres of nature and spirit as different stages of a single origin (substance-subject) development:

  • synthesis means simultaneous overcoming and shortening of a thesis and antithesis;

  • every notion passes through a triple cycle of development;

  1. The idealism of Hegel’s dialectics is in the statement that the origin of every development of nature, society and human thinking is in self-development of a notion; it means it has logical spiritual nature:

  • “only in a notion truth possesses the element of its existence and thus, the dialectics of notions defines the dialectics of things and processes in nature and society;

  • the dialectics of things is a reflected form of true dialectics, which is a characteristic only of Logos life (God’s thinking);

  • God is pantheistic, faceless process of a notion self-movement, developing in a dialectical process through the elaboration of the initial contradiction and its further overcoming. This process is subordinated to the necessity of a theological property.

^ 4. Feuerbach’s anthropological materialism: idea of a person, criticism of religion.

  1. Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) started the criticism of idealism in the middle of the 19th century:

  • idealism is rationalized religion, philosophy is opposite to religion;

  • the basis of religion is faith in dogmates while the basis of philosophy is knowledge, a strive for revealing the real nature of things;

  • the main task of philosophy is to criticize religion and to disclose religious illusions;

  • religion and idealistic philosophy appear from human essence estrangement, by means of attributing to God the properties typical to a person;

  • “Endless or divine essence is a spiritual essence of a man, which gets isolated from a person and becomes an independent creature”;

  • a person is not a God’s repetition, but a perfect part of nature;

  1. Feuerbach’s materialism is characterized as anthropological one:

  • nature is considered to be an organism;

  • a person is a center of attention, he is a psychophysical unity, the unity of body and soul;

  • idealistic understanding of a person is rejected;

  • the essence of a human “Ego” makes up his body; spiritual origin in a person is not separated from a corporal; spirit and body are two sides of an organism;

  • human nature is considered from a biological point of view, a separate person is a link in the development of a mankind;

  • the idea of a person is firstly formed in the experience of human communication, that’s why the first object for any person is another person.

Conclusion: anthropological Feuerbach’s materialism appeared as a reaction to Hegel’s idealism, in which the domination of all general over single exceeded the limit.

^ 5. Marx’s philosophy as the development of Hegel and Feuerbach’s’ ideas.

1. General characteristic.

  1. Marx is Hegel’s follower, he accepted his viewpoint on the role of philosophy in society; philosophy is “ a spiritual quintessence of its time”.

  2. In his works Marx raised a question about a state:

  • a state is guided by the interests of “ the privileged estates’ and is not intended to listen to the voice of philosophical critical analysis (according to Hegel, a state is the embodiment of intellect).

  1. The roots of dialectics are considered to be material and economic human relationships:

  • due to the deep understanding of the historical process Marx came to the understanding of the proletarian movement;

  • in the proletariat he saw the class, capable of destroying the existing world order. “Just like philosophy finds its material weapon in the proletariat, proletariat finds its spiritual weapon in philosophy”;

  1. Highly estimating the utopism of society transformation, Marks could vividly see its theoretical weak points: authors-utopists didn’t have serious historical grounds, and that prevented the development of communist ideas.

  2. The meaning of Feuerbach’s ideas for Marx was in Feuerbach’s combination of the humanist tradition (a person is the greater value) with atheistic rejection of religious illusions, with rehabilitation of sensual origin in a person, with thoughts of humanization of persons and nature relationships.

2. Materialistic understanding of society history.

  1. Marx and Engels pointed out some dominant types of society organization – social forms or formations;

  2. The level of life production is the most essential condition in practice;

  3. The main historical forms of social organization are defined according to the main type of material production.

  4. The historical way of society through the “tribal herd”, antique type, feudal society to modern one, based on the system of the waged labour in industry must be continued in life production out of waged labour.

  5. Inner Society structure includes:

  • material production that defines main structures of big groups of people, having different relationships with objects, means and results of labour – classes;

  • type of property that forms social structure of relationships and communication between different groups of people – “ civil society”;

  • “civil society” is governed by state;

  • the order of “civil society” life is reflected and fixed in political, legal, religious, moral, philosophical ideas, traditions, laws.

Thus, in the lecture we have considered main conceptions of German philosophy and its main representatives.

Lecture 6

Native philosophy


^ I. The development of Russian philosophy in the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries.

II. Main representatives of Russian philosophy.

    1. Vladimir Solovyov (the idea of anthropocentrism, supernaturalist theory).

    2. N.A. Berdyaev (religious philosophy, the idea of freedom, “experience on paradoxical ethics”)

    3. L.P. Karsavin (religious metaphysics, the conception of development, the theory of church and state relationship).

    4. Father Sergiy Bulgakov (antinomy of the religious consciousness, the idea of Sophia).

^ 1. The development of Russian philosophy in the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries.

  • The representatives of Russian science in the 18th-19th centuries were Lobachevsky, Mendeleev, Mechnikov.

  • In the sphere of culture there appeared Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Glinka, Chaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov.

  • Imperial Russia formed such values which further got a world wide popularity (Russian form of orthodoxy).

  • The beginning of Russian philosophy development coincided with the period when Russian society was under the influence of German Kant, Fichte and Hegel’s idealism.

Thus, the development of Russian culture and its brightest achievements lead to philosophy formation. By the 19th century Russia had already obtained thousand-year historical experience.

- The representatives of Russian philosophy elaborated a definite programme and gave a raise to philosophical movement.

^ 2. Main representatives of Russian philosophy.

1.Vladimir Solovyev

  1. Biography:

  • he was born 1853, January 16 in Moscow in the family of a Russian university teacher of history, professor S. Solovyev. In 1869-1873 V. Solovyev studied sciences, philosophy and history in Moscow university. After graduation, he continued education in Moscow theological academy;

  • in 1874 he defended a thesis on “ West philosophy crisis”, in which he outlined that rational philosophy was a darkness, provoking the beginning of life understanding, as the realization of a human “insignificance” gave a person the thought that “God is everything”. A strive for reality cognition brought Solovyev to writing serious works on philosophy like “ Philosophical origin of single knowledge” and “Criticism of abstract origin”.

  1. Main ideas of his works are:

  • criticism of the empirical theory. No outer phenomenon can exist out of its relationship(connection) with other phenomena. Such relationships are cognized only by means of thinking;

  • any thing is cognized relatively to the whole;

  • sense of cognized things can be revealed by intellect only. Intellect, not nature of things, is accepted as the basis of truth. Intellect is a form of truth;

  • native rationalism is nor able to cognize the truth;

  • truth is an absolute value, that belongs to all unity, but not to judgments. Ability to cognize the truth gives the possibility to get over the limits of subjective thinking and to enter the sphere of unity;

  • empirical and rational cognition is relative, as it is the result of connections with objects. These types of cognition are supplemented with inner cognition, including objective reality, existing independently of us;

  • the result of empirical, rational and mystic interrelationship is true knowledge. Rational form of knowledge is supplemented with life origin;

  • the objectivity of knowledge is possible in case, when God gives the world a character of complete organic system;

  • the absolute is the unity of every existing thing. Two poles are distinguished in it: the first one is the origin of absolute unity and “ freedom from any forms and any expression”; the second pole is negative potency of existence;

  • a person is an individual creature. He is satisfied with conditional, limited content. A person himself can’t get absolute being, given by means of interaction of every lining thing;

  • the world is the absolute created, God – absolute being;

  • one can get to God only by developing the sense of perfect love.

  1. V. Solovyev put forward the dynamic idea on matter:

  • “ Firmness and extent, which make up substance, exist only in interaction of atoms, the atoms themselves are causes of such an activity”;

  • atoms are “intangible dynamic units, existing in themselves and acting from themselves living forces and monads”.

  1. Studying the problem of a man, V. Solovyev expressed the following ideas:

  • the task of a man is to overcome all forms of evil and imperfection;

  • a person must strive for reunification with God;

  • one person can’t solve the problem of world deification ;

  • a person is the acme of creation; the world was restored by both God and a man.

Thus, Solovyev’s philosophy is anthropocentric.

  1. For the explanation of human history and the problems of social life Solovyev used the idea of a divine person:

  • a divine person is an individual and a universal creature at one and the same time, embracing “ inspired by him mankind”;

  • the absolute is all unity, that exists; the world is all unity in formation;

  • the world consists of divine (all unity) and non-divine (material element);

  • the world develops only by all unity formation; it passes two stages in its development: the first one is the evolution of nature, the second stage is history. The final outcome is the establishment of the realm of God.

  1. V. Solovyev formulated supernaturalist theory:

  • “The fact that the highest forms appear after the simplest ones, doesn’t prove that they are derived from the simplest forms”;

  • the highest, more complete images appear before the simplest ones, though they are expressed after them;

  • the simplest types of being can’t create the highest types, but they form preconditions for the appearance of the highest ones.

Thus, the birth of a new type of being is a creation, the material base of which is the earlier existing type.

^ 2. Nikolay Alexandrovich Berdyaev

  1. Biography:

  • He was born in 1874 in Kyiv province and got his education in Kyiv university, the faculty of law.

  • Berdyaev wrote a great number of books. Among them are: “Subjectivism and individualism in social philosophy” (1900), “Sense of history” (1923), “The philosophy of free spirit, Christian problems and apologetics” (1929) etc.

  1. Main ideas of his works are:

  • the elaboration of a worldview should be started with the research of spirit and nature opposition. Spirit is a subject, freedom and a creative activity; nature is an object, passive activity, motionlessness;

  • matter and psychical life belong to the realm of nature;

  • the cognition of spirit can be achieved by means of life experience. Philosophical systems which are not based on spiritual experience, are naturalist;

  • God is spirit, he must be understood symbolically. Symbols are natural reality, revealed in its connection with supernatural meaning;

  • the birth of a divine person from virgin Maria is a historical fact and a symbol. This idea expresses Berdyaev symbolism as symbols are the reflections of real relationships of God and spirit on Earth.

  1. Berdyaev elaborated the conception of freedom, according to which three types of freedom are distinguished:

  • primary irrational freedom (productivity);

  • rational freedom (the use of moral responsibility);

  • freedom, filled with God’s love. Human irrational freedom is contained in “nothing”, from which God created the world. “ God is a creator and Almighty, he is above being and the created world; but he doesn’t have power over being and uncreated freedom”;

  • he rejected the omnipotence of God. God only helps the will to become goodness.

  1. Much time was spared by Berdyaev on the study of a personality problem:

  • personality is a spiritual category; society is an aspect of a personality;

  • personality is not a substance, it is a creative act and it is unchangeable;

  • personality is spirit, it is capable of transforming into something different than it is, it realizes general content;

  • a human body is a “form” and it must be subordinated to spirit;

  • corporal death is necessary for the completeness of life. It presupposes the resurrection in a more complete body;

  • the essence of a human nature is perverted, because a person renounced God, consequently, a person doesn’t have any experience of spiritual life;

  • human resurrection is in his release from nature, created by objectifying process, in his victory over death and slavery; in understanding a personality as spirit. This expresses personalism of Berdyaev’s thought, according to which a person has greater value than society.

  1. In his book “Human destiny” he expressed “Experience on paradoxal ethics”, containing the following ideas:

  • good and evil experience appear when irrational freedom lead to God renouncing;

  • “The universe is based on primary absence of distinction between good and evil, but then, having been enriched with this experience, is completed, without making any distinctions between them”;

  • “it’s bad that there is a distinction between good and evil, but it’s good to make a distinction if it exists”;

  • a conducted analysis of legal ethics and legal Christianity showed that they were adapted to social life requirements, that’s why they contain perversion and lead to hypocrisy;

  • good and evil are estimated from the point of view of “clear consciousness”;

  • moral conscientiousness is above the ethics of law;

  • social life in a significant degree is based on lie. Pure truth is often destroying, existential.

  1. In many of his works Berdyaev considered historical and philosophical aspects of political problems:

  • historical process consists of good and evil struggle against irrational freedom;

  • “Three forces act in the world history: God, destiny and human freedom, that’s why history is a complex process”;

  • “Destiny transforms human personality into the sphere of irrational forces of history”;

  • “Christianity admits that a destiny can be overcome, but it can’t be overcome only through Christ”

Thus, all social Berdyaev’s ideas are closely connected to religious philosophy.

^ 3. Lev Platonovich Karsavin

  1. Biography:

  • he was born in 1882, got higher education in Petersburg university at the faculty of history;

  • his main works are “ The basis of the medieval religion in the 12th-13th centuries” (1915), “Roman Catholicism” (1922), “Philosophy of history” (1923) etc.

  1. Main ideas of his works:

  • he suggests a philosophical system on the basis of Absolute as all unity conception. “Absolute is over our understanding, over our idea of absolute, supposed and necessary contradiction to a relative”. The notion of true absolute is perfect all unity.

  • he distinguished four meaning of all unity:

- an idol as an absolute perfect all unity;

- idolized created all unity, i.e. “nothing” that has become God:

- completed created all unity, striving for merging with God;

- uncompleted created all unity, but there is a moment of all unity in its limited nature;

  • Karsavin put his religious metaphysics over the limits of opposition between theism and pantheism as his metaphysics rejects “positive nothing” which is a characteristic of pantheism.

  • Karsavin’s further ideas were developed in the book “On origins”:

  • world creation is theophany;

  • an absolute passes itself to “another “ one, which is an absolute nothing, but perceived “divine content becomes “created nothing”;

  • “A creature can create from nothing, God only creates himself”;

  • after creation of limited subjects an Absolute gives them itself. The self-destruction of an Absolute is the expression of its all grace;

  • every created thing is the expression of God: every created content appears through God’s self-renouncing, so all our high and mean feelings are divine. Otherwise, God wouldn’t be all unity;

  • while studying divine reality, Karsavin finds out the principle of triunity. He showed the triunity of God, researching God as truth, love and grace. For instance, triunity in love is: the destructive love, sacrificial love and resurrection in it;

  • in the book “philosophy of history Karsavin formulated main principles of being and considered the question about the role of historical being in the world and about its relation to an absolute:

  • the greatest goal of historical thinking is in Cosmos understanding and in realization of the created all unity as a single developing subject;

  • development is a process, in the result of which “ the whole” constantly changes, and the formation takes place inside it;

  • a developing subject makes up a single subject, that doesn’t differ from its development, but is real in it and all-embracing;

  • a subject is potentially an all-embracing personality. The development of a subject is a transition from one condition to another;

  • “Everything new in the historical process always appears from non-being, otherwise it wouldn’t be new”;

  • Karsavin pointed out some periods of historical individuality development:

  • “ A transition from non-being to being”;

  • a division into elements, a reduction of unity;

  • an organic unity;

  • degeneration of the organic unity into a systematic one;

  • Karsavin considered the aim of historical individuality development to be the realization of its cosmic all unity;

  • main idea of the development conception is that in all unity every moment of development is accepted qualitatively equal to any other one, and neither of them is considered as a mean to come to a final;

  • Karsavin formulated the theory of church and a state relationship:

  • a state is a self-organization of the sin world, but if a state strives for the ideals of church, it is Christian;

  • wars and violence are inevitable, as a state and people are sinners, they can be released from the sin through the unity with Christ;

  • a state must be inside church, i.e. church must be over a state;

  • the idea of state and church separation is criticized: a state, separated from church is sure to come to self-idolization. Such a separation is impossible as a state has Christian ideals;

  • the task of church is to control a state in free perfection for the sake of the realm of God;

  • a state must provide church with independence in the sphere of its activity.

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