Lvov Alexander: Pushkin the Philosopher, or the Open Project of the “Russian Idea”

Speaker: Lvov Alexander, Institute of Philosophy, St. Petersburg State University, Russia, Acting Head of the Department of History of Philosophy, PhD in Philosophy, Associate Professor

Topic: Pushkin the Philosopher, or the Open Project of the “Russian Idea”

We can find projects of the Russian Idea in a significant number of classical works (K.N. Leontiev, F.M. Dostoevsky, N.A. Berdyaev, etc.) and modern authors (A.A. Zinoviev, A.I. Solzhenitsyn, etc.). However, when analyzing the principles according to which the Russian Idea develops, the incompleteness of any discourse about it becomes obvious to any researcher. Can we therefore conclude that the task of formulating a national idea is impossible? Should we critically rethink the very principles of performing such a task? I believe that the incompleteness of the Russian Idea should be considered not so much as a shortcoming or logical depravity of the subject of research, but as a characteristic feature of the Russian mentality. In this regard, I would refer to the phenomenon of A.S. Pushkin as a national poet, who accumulated the material of language, only with whose help the idea of the Russian universe can be thought out and expressed. The topic of “Pushkin the Philosopher” is not an attempt to discover another guild of which the poet was a member; in this case, I mean his creativity, in whose nature a man of Russian culture acquires his cultural, moral determination and values. Pushkin, in the words of Gogol, as “a Russian in the course of development” brings out the entelechial character of the Russian Idea, and as “an extraordinary phenomenon of the Russian spirit” – its phenomenological aspect. At the same time, Pushkin’s recognized worldwide responsiveness reflects the close attention of the Russian universe to other cultures and the desire to implement large projects and articulate ultimate meanings. Thus, the Russian Idea takes not so much an ideological, but and axiological shape: The worldwide nature of the Russian poet’s work allows us to talk about its religious meaning, and to see the Russian Idea as an open-ended project.