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Robert Vipper about the philosophical bases of history and historical science (on works of the 1920th years)

UDC 101.8

V.I. Povilaytis


Robert Vipper's works "Crisis of historical science" (1921) and "Circulation of history" (1923) are considered. Problems of the philosophical bases of history and historical science are analyzed.

Robert Vipper&s works "The crisis of a historical science" (1921) and "Circulation of history" (1923) are considered. The problems of the philosophical foundations ofhistory and historical science in this article are analyzed.

Robert Yuryevich Vipper (1859 — 1954) beginnings the teaching activity in Russia before revolution, worked at the Latvian university in Riga (1924 — 1941), and spent the last years of life in the Soviet Moscow. He deservedly is considered one of the largest domestic historians. But in the researches Vipper did not become isolated only on special historical problems, he was also deeply interested in questions of philosophy and methodology of history. The works of different years devoted to studying the bases historical nauki1 became expression of this interest.

For a number of reasons in heritage of the scientist works of the 20th years where a peculiar campaign to understanding of history and historical science which the scientist professed is reflected are of particular interest and later, already working in independent Latvia. Here it is necessary to mention the Kazan brochure "Crisis of Historical Science" (1921) and "Circulation of history" (1923) — the small collection of articles which appeared in Germany in the Moscow and Berlin publishing house "Vozrozhdeniye". In these works the scientist concerns a wide range of socio-political, cultural and philosophical problems. Taking into account earlier compositions, these materials can become the basis for reconstruction of the views shared by the scientist in 20 — the 30th years.

Having called at the XX century boundary classical positivism the passable stage of historical science, the scientist nevertheless came under noticeable influence empiriokrititsizma2. The historian, Vipper considers, is forced to set se-

* Article is prepared during implementation of the RGNF research project, grant No. 07-03-00484a.

1 It is necessary to carry "The new directions in philosophy of social science" (1903), "Essays of the theory of historical knowledge" (1911), "Notes of the historian about modern religious searches" (1916) to the main pre-revolutionary works of Vipper on this perspective.
2 We will refer to a little emotional characteristic of views of Vipper Karsavinym (see. "Philosophy of history" (1923)). For the last Vipper is the talented scientist who, having felt "a nesoglasuyemost of causal interpretation with a historical method", nevertheless changed in the works "a problem research for worthy fight of the follower O. Comte against the metaphysical concept of soul which is behind a thought about prichinno the influencing force" [4, page 22].

The RGU bulletin of I. Kant. 2008. Issue 6. Humanities. Page 52 — 58.

be questions mainly philosophical, its task — "to define that ourselves bring in perception, in observation of the facts; with what categories we start them; & lt;...> what share of necessary and inevitable predispositions of our thought in all our knowledge of the world" [1, page 27]. It concerns the same circle of problems when among other things claims that "in a sense all historical reality and is concluded in its invention, in human representations as far as artists and poets managed to fix them and to transfer" [2, page 107].

The vision of history growing from these bases forces the scientist to look for new subjects and approaches in the 20th years: "We asked about states, about life of masses, about the direction of interests until recently. We want to know, first of all, events, a role of persons, coupling of the ideas now" [1, page 13]. So into the forefront again, after long interest in sociological interpretation of history, Vipper considers, leaves single — the certain person has to occupy modern historical science. But such radical revision of the basic bases of historical science has at least two reasons.

First, in the first quarter of the XX century the rapid development of a number of humanitarian and natural sciences forced historians to reconsider ideas of the status and content of processes of knowledge. The second reason it is necessary to call the Russian revolution, its socio-political consequences which in itself became a call for the academic historical science. The one who hosted revolution sought to prove need and regularity of this event: for example, the Russian Marxism with rare persistence struggled with the wording of key laws of historical development, turning each historic fact in teleologic the engaged link cause and effect tsepi3.

The negative relation to revolution found the methodological registration in three approaches: within the first recognition of natural nature of revolution is followed by the general negative characteristic of this event. The second approach keeps on ideas of accident and irrationality of the events which took place in Russia — within this approach the revolution is generation of chaos, explosion of the spontaneous, not giving in to understanding beginnings of historical life. (For this reason it cannot be comprehended.) The third approach treats history as a religious mystery in which the logic of coupling of events is subordinated to other, divine principles.

It is similar to many Russian thinkers, under the influence of revolution Vipper reconsidered some ideas. In the 20th years he negatively estimates revolution. For him it is natural as a result long and

3 The doubt in reality of progress was always taken by Marxists painfully. A characteristic passage from the Soviet periodical press concerning "Essays of methodology of social sciences" (1922) of Frank: "The prof. Vipper in the book & #34; Crisis historical науки" (1922) takes up arms against the theory of progress and especially against historical materialism in general. Karsavin threatens us with article & #34; Mirage прогресса" (see & #34; Мысль" I) etc., etc. And immediately and Frank! What impressive confirmation of a basic position of historical materialism that & #34; life defines forms сознания"!" [3, page 227].

a long illness — its reasons are objective, but it is not the benefit. The scientist calls a tragic condition of porevolyutsionny Russia the remote consequence of the decline of national culture which began in the 19th century: destruction of traditional tenor of life, imitation, lack of the clear and realized by the majority purpose led to the fact that vital forces of culture ran low.

Vipper refuses ideas of the universal and forward nature of historical process as for it history negatively resolved an issue of reality of uniform universal progress. He writes that the belief in general progress of mankind as expression of the supreme law of historical life is not indisputable any more, this theory, "until recently holding dominant position in science, came to an end, disappeared from minds" [1, page 29].

For a new era, Vipper considers, other attitude impregnated with tragic element and pessimism is characteristic: "We feel that our civilization, it is similar to Greek- and Roman and Judaic, tends to crisis, reached, after brilliant criticism, after the feverish tension of activity, decline and powerlessness, hears more and more inevitable approach of barbarity. Again cultural mankind, having endured the period of destruction which many complacently call vivifying revolution, waits for some restoration when significantly the reduced list of educated people has to save the perishing cultural wealth, to adapt for the running wild society scraps of old science and art to his reduced requirements" [2, page 99].

The circle of philosophical and methodological problems which is outlined by these installations includes, for example, a question of the nature of the general in the history and specifics of its knowledge. In relation to Vipper's works this story can be concretized as follows: in the books of the 20th years the scientist speaks about impossibility to find universal laws of historical development by means of which history would stop being only science about the past and would get predictive function. But the scientist in the articles actively draws analogies, parallels, comparisons between the present with it and distant past, and put here not only in attempt to make history topical — comparison as a way of understanding content of historical process makes sense, only if in separate historic facts we find universal, the general to different eras contents.

So, for example, refusing search of rigid regularities, Vipper nevertheless finds a certain logic of coupling of events, a peculiar heuristic model which in general allows to understand mechanisms of formation and development of complex national state entities on the example of the Greek and Roman history. This movement begins quite often powerful national rise which consequence — effusiveness of the young state. Having excess of national energy and power, it can subordinate to itself considerable spaces that it leads to strengthening of the universal, cosmopolitan beginnings. When maintaining cultures -

the leg of potential and economic power, really creative — national — beginnings are exhausted. At the scientist it seems that "these two processes, cultural and national, go in parallel, but the opposite course: one up, another down. As hostel forms utonchatsya, the scientific thought becomes more difficult, literary tastes are more exacting, the national beginnings recede" [2, page 69 — 70].

There is a question: for some reason the general that undoubtedly exists, but cannot take the form of the law capable to predict future, nevertheless is identified by us? Vipper solves this problem, recognizing existence of what it is possible to call a constant element in human nature and in the structure of human community. This statement, the scientist considers, follows from the experience proving "that all our experiences make repetition of the fact what many times happened that sincere storms, imagination rushes, inquiries of a thought and observations familiar to us over the world, similar to ours, made the maintenance of life of far generations in different latitudes, during different eras" [2, page 104]. But, in practice, there are no especially historical bases for similar judgments. Before us considerable philosophical assumption which purpose is to approve unity and coherence of historical process. In studying history the complete approach considering all real-life communications between various cultures is necessary and therefore even the fact that the Russian history "was studied very long, precisely some process of sui generis with the special laws of existence", Vipper estimates otritsatelno4.

Vipper does not refuse the historical forecast completely: for it a forecast essence in identification of a certain objective trend which, however, is deprived of a rigid form of the law. There is a mass of the factors capable to change a current istorii5. The appeal to these stories gives to the historical description a subtle phenomenological shade: so, at characteristic of the 19th century Vipper focuses on how an industrial era changed consciousness of the person; the author consciously leaves the economic background of these processes in a shadow. In "Circulation of history" he as characteristic features of this era calls rapidity of development, nervous haste, greed and immoderation of aspirations of society — all that, according to the scientist, and led to sudden death of cultures in the fire of revolution. This trend revealed in interest of the western civilization in technical creativity, in parallel with oblivion of personal abilities and reduction of original private life. Its continuation became

4 In domestic historical science "obrezyvat all threads by which the Russian history is connected with history of other people; the Russian history was never treated as a component world, and it — very large, very important and characteristic part of a world-wide and historical round of events" [2, page 76].
5 Arguing, for example, on the war nature, Vipper brings the psychological moments to the forefront. According to the scientist, "war is necessary to give vent to the heroic beginning in the person to find application for its energy, spirit of ingenuity, to direct imagination from area of dreams and illusions to manifestations of will, on acts and the enterprises" [2, page 49 — 50].

the democratization of customs which coincided with development "extreme intolerance between classes and public groups at inability to solve problems of social organization", self-confidence and clamorousness of a century, the conflict between a sermon of egalitarian and pacifistic ideals and cruelty of an era, eagerness to fight, envy, the strengthened desire to put itself in a privileged position [2, of page 6 — 7].

However, arguing on culture and forces defining its development, Vipper realizes metaphoricalness of these concepts. He is not inclined, like Karsavin or Polkovnikov, to attribute to the people, the state and other nadyndividualny formations substantive character — for it this sufficient symbol of a difficult complex of objects and the relations arising between them. One more factor distorting historical knowledge for Vipper, are cultural and religious stereotypes, the sacrificial vision of the world implanted in Christianity, Messianizm, characteristic of consciousness of the Russian people. According to him, before us unmotivated metaphysical assumptions. They get a certain weight because that the historical science not always has enough material for comparisons and the conclusions. The reasons can be different here, but the investigation always one — philosophy undertakes the solution of questions which lie out of its competence.

Vipper in assessment of heuristic opportunities platonizma6 and gegelyanstva7 is most critical. From the point of view of the scientist, for historical science these philosophical systems do not bear anything positive owing to the any and dogmatic character: "Our dialectic, platonovsky and other methods which we still were active — theological scholasticism more than nothing" [2, page 75 — 76].

The belief is the cornerstone of this assessment that the historical event can be interpreted, found in it a certain universal contents, but there is no such truly scientific method which could allow us to predict future absolutely precisely. Told by Vipper considerably explains characteristic of it in the 20th years the relation to Marxism: he calls the theory of class fight which is given rise in the 19th century short-sighted and unacceptable for the social analysis. The reason is that the theoretical design constructed by Marx leaned only on material from the contemporary history of England, and pupils

6 We will provide the following Vipper's statement, critical on a context, on this subject: "We obviously give in to a platonizm when we personify the nation, we imagine it, the being as one conceiving, feeling when we imagine eras of falling of national energy in a sort of an okukleniye of a caterpillar, and revival of the nation in the form of emergence of the new spirit embodied in a new being for whom the cover from a coffin turns into a cradle" [2, page 59].
7 Vipper writes: "Among electric theater of Hegel the enchanting spectacle with wonderful transformations of the positive beginning in negative and negative in positive was the most effective and dazzling play. We, pupils of the 19th century, easily get to a fatal trap of dialectics and we begin to believe that from ashes of the greatest ruin the paradise gold bird who arose there will take off at once" [2, page 57].

the German philosopher "was made nothing for development of his method, anything else was not observed, learned nothing" [2, page 119]. For the scientist the main miss of Marxists in an explanation of mechanisms of historical dynamics that they unreasonably simplify the structure of society. Marxists, according to Vipper, do not understand that along with rationally definable interests in formation of history the huge value has an irrational component which finds itself(himself) often in phenomena habitual and ordinary. The scientist carries the household habits, hereditary tastes which took roots and transferred from generation to generation characters to their number and more widely — manifestations of the creative beginning in the person, rushes of his imagination [2, page 119].

For the scientist the approval of genetic and ideological proximity of constructions in the spirit of scientific socialism to ideological baggage previous — a capitalist era becomes initial installation. Despite irreconcilable external contradictions between work and the capital, in the sphere of the ideas the new, socialist ideology reproduces the settled and fulfilled receptions and methods long ago. As an example we will refer to Vipper's reasonings devoted to problems of war and peace: for the scientist "scientific socialism — the faithful, perfectly well-trained pupil of the capitalist theory; with small variations, with inclusion of a utopian word "proletariat", he repeats hopes of the English industrialists of the beginning of the 19th century; he divides with prophets of capitalism belief that the cultural mankind everything ripens mind and when finally ripens, will understand the absurdity of war and is final, forever will get rid of it" [2, page 41 — 42]. In Vipper's interpretation collision of two of these ideologies does not yield positive result just because each of them is partial and relative; on - to a being, in scientific socialism we deal with inversion of the principles which are the cornerstone of the capitalism denied by it. It follows from this that the new ideology has no creative opportunities to overcome costs old — it is doomed to eternal denial, without hint on a possibility of its creative overcoming. Having absolutized the truth, having attributed only to it the right for existence, politicians, ideologists, philosophers lost an opportunity to give an objective and complete description of the industrial world. They refused a complete view of the world and two fierce, blind dogmatic sects from which everyone is not right turned in "and everyone is powerless to create life" which battle under banners of capitalism and the proletariat [2, page 115 — 116].

Ideological relationship of these eternal ideological opponents is shown, for example, in recognition certainly of positive value of the theory of progress. As a clear proof of fidelity of the idea of progress most often refer to development of technology designed to solve all complex of tasks which are set by history. The equipment is designed to feed, equip and measure mankind, however this is harmonizing — Vipper calls function of technical progress into question. For it the equipment in the economic and political measurement coincides with the capital and the state; three of these phenomena for


scientist almost synonyms: they from different sides describe one. But as the thirst for war is put in the person, objectively follows from a concept of the state and the capital, the equipment is not able to destroy it; on the contrary, "war with the equipment will be born, with the equipment accrues and spreads" [2, page 43]. Identifying concepts of the capital, the state and the equipment, Vipper also refuses the economic determinism accepted in Marxism according to which the level of development of the economic relations defines not only logic of development of political system, but also rates of scientific and technical progress. The economy appears a component of more difficult cultural and historical processes which cannot be reduced only to process of production and exchange of goods.

Vipper also refuses other, not less popular historiosophical scheme which emergence in the Russian thought traditionally contacts Danilevsky and Leontyev's names. Arguing on applicability of an organic world view to historical process, Vipper comes to conclusion that "comparison with organisms helps with definition of conditions of vitality of the nation a little; concepts of age, youth, an old age are badly applicable by eras of existence of the nations; for terms of their life you do not find a certain formula or the law" [2, page 65]. But if culture a living organism is not, then and a possibility of revival of culture it is necessary "to understand it in conditional point of restoration of some old, not disappeared absolutely life and the organization" [2, page 71]. In this concept there is no mysticism. Instead of poetic reasonings on transitions of soul of the people from a non-existence to life Vipper speaks about cultural revival as restoration, restoration (perhaps, partial) a certain structure.

So, in Vipper's works of the 20th years we quite reasonably can see one of diverse manifestations of those scientific and philosophical trends which defined development of historical science and social philosophical thought in the Russian abroad. He suggests not to trust metaphysics an explanation of historical process, to draw analogies between life of society and an organism more carefully, points, that the Christian, sacrificial vision of the world which deeply got into our culture, the national Messianism and other cultural and religious stereotypes often prevent the person to understand true meaning of history. But the main task of the historian in it.

List of references

1. Vipper R. crisis historical science. Kazan, 1921.
2. Vipper R. circulation history. M.; Berlin, 1923.
3. K. Grasis. Franc S.L. Ocherk of methodology of social sciences. M, 1922. [Review]//Red nov. 1922. No. 3. Page 276 — 278.
4. L.P. Karsavin. History philosophy. SPb., 1993.

About the author

V.I. Povilaytis — an edging. filos. sciences, dots., RGU of I. Kant,

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