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Category: History

The principles of classical positivism and historical works of P.N. Milyukov in emigration


UDC 101.8

V.I. Povilaytis


The ideas of the Russian thinker P.M. Milyukov in the context of philosophy of the Russian abroad are considered. Problems of the philosophical bases of history and historical science are analyzed.

This article is dedicated to P. N. Milyukov&s philosophy of history. The ideas of the Russian thinker are analysed in the context of Russian philosophy abroad. The author considers the problems of philosophical bases of history and historical science.

The whole era in development of the Russian historical science is connected with a name of Pavel Nikolaevich Milyukov (1859 — 1943). Without it "Essays on the history of the Russian culture" — began scientific and public life of the end of XIX it is impossible to present 20th century. This research is really unique: having for the first time been issued in 1895 — 1896, it was repeatedly republished. Moreover, to the anniversary reprinting of "Essays" begun in 1930, the author considerably processed the composition that allows to consider it in the context of development of historical and philosophical thought of Russian zarubezhya1.

Of course, Milyukov did not reconsider own ideas cardinally, but at the same time did not remain and in the past — defending the principles, he polemizes with those who tried to make to it the ideological and scientific competition. Protecting the liberal values in political life and the ideas of positivism — in scientific, Milyukov reflects the most influential mentality in emigration which to ignore nelzya2.

The thesis according to which "concepts of regularity and evolution have to be widespread from the field of natural sciences in the field of the humanities" [4, t became the statement which defined features of methodology of a historical research at Milyukov. 1, page 40]. He agreed not with consequences of the opposition of sciences offered by neokantianets about spirit and sciences about the nature and continued to see the task in creation of a universal and systematic way of an explanation of history of which the belief is characteristic that the original historical science is engaged only in comprehension of the general — the preparatory role is prepared for narrative history (selection and the description of the facts) in this scheme. Such sociologism (and for most of contemporaries Milyukov first of all the most prominent representative of the sociological direction of the Russian historiography [6, page 68]) leads the scientist to recognition "possibilities of a natural explanation even what gives to his story individual character" [4, t. 1, page 41]. It means that concepts of the personality, spirit, freedoms are not the last bases for the Russian historian.

The statement according to which "scientific synthesis in sociology removes the antiprovision of the spiritual and material beginning" [4, t results of these installations. 1, page 42] is

1 Also that strange order in which "Essays" were republished is explained by this continuous work on the text. So, at first parts, changes in which were the smallest, were issued: the third volume left in 1930, the second — in the 1931st. And only after it the publication of the first volume which underwent the most significant changes began: its first part came out in 1937, and the second (work on which was finished by 1941) — at all saw the light in 1964, after the death of the author. Work as the scientist was performed huge, and it deserved the appreciation. So, for example, Vernadsky writes about it: "In the 1930th years — when it (Milyukov. — Century of P.) anew wrote the 1st volume & #34; Очерков" — it, probably, returned to science with all the heart... Anyway in the twilight of the life Pavel Nikolaevich endured kind of the second) МШ1одРсЗЗыШМШ> o1ShaShchnvotg @] ush8: tsh" 1[2, ack.m5y]. Edging. 2010. Issue 6. Page 16 — 23.
2 we will not forget that for twenty years Milyukov was at the head of "Latest news" —

the most influential emigrant newspaper which full competition on circulations could not

to make even "Renaissance" to Struva and "Days" of Kerensky. About other emigrant editions there is even nothing and

to speak.

a peculiar call to Marxism on what contemporaries turned special vnimaniye3. However similar assessment by Milyukov of own method can be accepted only taking into account other, not dialectic treatment snyatiya4. Within dialectics the removal of contrasts assumes their denial and synthesis, but Milyukov does not have anything similar: for it everything is subordinated to laws, and "in the field of processes of spirit the same determinism, as well as in the field of processes material dominates".

The only retreat which he declares is that "between two mentioned parties of the phenomena it is not necessary to try to establish direct causal dependence or to reduce one beginning to another" [4, t. 1, page 42]. Even taking into account recognition of overlapping objective and subjective the proposed solution is not removal, but submission rather — anyway there are no concessions to a spiritual element from material here.

Imposing a ban on direct submission of the first to the second, Milyukov in practice nevertheless does it, recognizing as universal the principles of an explanation (determinism) accepted in natural sciences. Of course, it considers that "the phenomena of human economy occur in the same mental environment, as well as all other phenomena of the public" [4, t. 2, Part 2, page 10], however further it business does not go — claiming need to reduce material and mental to the highest unity, Milyukov does not give accurate characteristic of this unity, only meaning it. From here also the contradiction between the recognition of monistichesky nature of own system and elements of dualism reflected by the structure of "Essays" undertakes: as convincing synthesis mental and material was not reached, we deal with alternate updating at the general domination of material factors. The question of a ratio of spiritual and material culture is considered by the Russian historian in the context of a problem of a ratio of spirit and matter, in attempts to attach to spiritual culture exclusive significance he sees continuation of old metaphysical speculation. The refusal of metaphysics conducts Milyukov to "a protest against metaphysical freedom of "personality"", recognition of free will an ethical fiction [4, t. 2, Part 2, page 10 — 11]. A certain identity gives to positivistic moods of Milyukov refusal of the idea of world history — for it "the separate social (national) organism" [4, t becomes unit of scientific observation. 1, page 43]. He denies a thesis which is quite distributed in historical science of positivistic sense. But this criticism has to correct, but not disprove classics of scientific sociology. The idea of world history is challenged by it just because not quite corresponds to his understanding of positivism: Milyukov specifies that in the origin this principle is directly connected with the idea of the divine providence operating human life. And having even exempted from the power of religion, the idea of world history kept the defects inherent in it on rozhdeniyu5. Thus, idea of a national organism as the highest possible subject of historical process is intended to clean historical science from any metaphysical designs and assumptions of metahistorical character.

This pronounced positivistic nature of the organic model offered by Milyukov is shown also in refusal to recognize national organisms as motionless, invariable types, and that a problem of science not only studying evolution of each separate organism, but also search of analogies to evolution of other organisms [4, t appears. 1, page 47]. Proceeding from a position that it is possible to explain something only having spread out it to elements, Milyukov categorically against recognition of cultural formations uniform and indivisible — for it their ontologization is a metaphysical and theological remnant. He shares belief that cultural

3 Kizevetter writes: "Milyukov the "& #34; Очерками" threw down a direct challenge. to a Marxist template. It proceeded from the theory of interdependence of all parties of historical process. If the economy influences a social order and public ideology, and back — and another influences economy" [3, page 52].
4 Milyukov, as well as most of positivists, sneers concerning dialectics and its categories. History "does not come down to alternation & #34; thesis, antithesis and синтеза" as demands that & #34; диалектический" Hegel's method — Marx. "& #34; Game world духа" in this dialectics to eat simply the play of own imagination of of philosophers" [4, t. 1, page 48]. Let's notice that in similar spirit other authors who also came some influence of positivism also spoke dialectics (for example, Vipper).
5 Milyukov notes, as at Voltaire, both Herder, and at Hegel has a philosophy of history "had nothing in common with science and, on the contrary, [had] much the general with the theological idea and #34; плана" imposed on human events from above". "the randomness of allocation of only one certain group of the people designed to make a progress chain and elimination from the scheme of all other mankind, except for inhabitants of Europe and Western Asia" [4, t becomes one more lack of the idea of world history. 1, page 44].

types should not be identified with ideal and неизменными& entities on an example of the platonovsky ideas. For this reason the explanation manner peculiar to idealists according to which justification of concrete history demands an exit out of its limits seems to it unconvincing. From his point of view, the historical science faithful to the principles of positivism "marks out common features of evolution of national organisms in natural sociological ranks and tries to define interdependence between these ranks" [4, t. 1, page 49]. Realization of these principles in practice, according to Milyukov, leads to what we find in the history of the different people of both similarity, and distinction. For a solution of the problem of unity and variety of cultures the Russian historian offers the following scheme: certain universal regularities of evolution of cultural organisms are responsible for emergence of the general in the history of various cultures, however their influence is always limited to action of the environment causing uniqueness of history of everyone separate naroda6.

Thus, at Milyukov history is extremely rationalized as not only the maintenance of history subordinated to regularities is subject to a scientific explanation, but also what does not keep within these regularities. Where opponents were inclined to see ruptures of rigid causal chains and a celebration of irrationalism, Milyukov just finds action of one more quite rational factor. However this confidence in extremely natural course of history is, as well as it is necessary to theories of positivistic sense, in many respects any. Even when in the history in practice no progress is found, Milyukov does not doubt that the required positive trend nevertheless exists: for it "under influence. geographical, climatic, soil, biogeographical conditions, as well as the descended features. human society the valid course of historical process can be diversified indefinitely, up to a full paralizovaniye of a similar internal trend" [4, t. 1, page 53].

Of course, Milyukov as the historian feels that the similar scheme is too primitive also the real shape of the social phenomenon "is not finished drawing by joint action of both specified factors yet — the top sociological trend and Wednesday": similar approach well works for interpretation of evolution of a social order (institutions and customs), but is not able to explain concrete historical events [4, t. 1, page 54]. However in the light of this recognition no revision of own methodological installations happens — probably because for the scientist the inefficiency of own method in an explanation of concrete acts of historical persons will bathe a possibility of construction internally connected and integral generally - a sociological picture historical processa7.

Therefore in conclusion of statement of the philosophical and methodological credo Milyukov not so much proves how many he hopes: "the .sotsiologiya cannot deny opportunities scientific (i.e. natural) explanations of a historical role of the personality, at least practically implementation of this opportunity and was represented extremely difficult" [4, t. 1, page 55]. Let's specify that the understanding of history professed by Milyukov in which scientific exists only in the form of natural is the reason of these extreme difficulties. The fact is that history often interferes with adoption of own thesis by the scientist about absolute rationality of historical process: recognizing that in the history, submitting to objective social regularities, "the personality as the recognized leader or the hereditary master is called to express the next trend of time", Milyukov refuses, for example, to Bolsheviks the right to become such spokesmen of spirit of an era, for it the October revolution — only a long deviation "from the line of the main process under the influence of an arbitrariness of the person or the doctrine" [4, t. 1, page 56 — 57].

6 Quite precisely Milyukov's position in this question was depicted by his contemporary — the historian emigrant Myakotin: it carries to merits of the Russian scientist that, having refused to explain the phenomena of the Russian history with national peculiarities of the Russian people, it, on the contrary, showed that "these national peculiarities were created by conditions of the Russian historical process" [5, page 40].
7 The sketchiness impoverishing a picture and selectivity of some sociological generalizations of Milyukov is obvious. Rather precisely Bitsilli commented on it: "The fact that Milyukov speaks about Russian intelligentsia is inapplicable to all her representatives, and, above all — to the greatest of them" [1, page 87]. The reason of it that history understood as concrete sociology "has to study mainly such phenomena to which the measure and numbers which can be compared so that their interdependence was investigated and that thus the regularity of historical process & lt was found are applicable;...> In other words, a subject of historical science — the mass phenomena" [1, page 89]. Milyukov buries in oblivion the idea according to which the historical science has to reckon with all factors that she is called to investigate.

And though in this case, the scientist considers, it is possible to find factors in the history of a question, "inflated the small reason in big result", the procedure of examination — whether activity of any given personality natural is — differs from the principles professed by Milyukov nauchnosti8 a little. He says that the choice of the facts made by him serves one quite specific goal — "to lay aside accidental, and partly and the individual nature of historical events" [4, t. 1, page 57]. As a result, declaring the right to select material according to research objectives, it leaves us before a question of a being of historical knowledge: whether the aspiration to get rid of all accidental the essential requirement of history or a private wish of the historian is? There is a certain duality which emergence can be explained partly with the mentioned influence on brought up in the spirit of Milyukov's positivism of Kant's works and neokantianets who paid special attention to a role of the learning subject in process poznaniya9.

Told above the structure of "Essays" which comes down to systematic illumination of various aspects of culture ("sociological ranks") in process of their internal evolution from spontaneity to consciousness is defined by

>: Milyukov begins with detailed characteristic of the environment, designates its influence on initial cultural development and after it passes to consideration of economy, the social and political system, spiritual culture. The third volume is devoted to the analysis ideological and ideological (according to Milyukov — "public and strong-willed") the parties of cultural process. Such structure allows the author of "Essays" to place accents, basic for it, to defend the theory of progress and to show that the uniqueness of national stories does not exclude them edinoobraziya10.

Milyukov's polemic with eurasianism is interesting that, equally highly appreciating influence of the geographical environment on the course istorii11, opponents come to essentially various conclusions: it turns out that the similar methodological principles can serve justification denying each other historico-philosophical skhem12. Borrowing the word of mestorazvitiye Eurasians, Milyukov tries, "having held the successful term" to revive "the scientific use of a concept of the geographical environment" — business in which Eurasians, despite all noise, did not succeed at all: they have this fruitful idea, "on the one hand, remained undeveloped, and with another — led to artificial and often fantastic conclusions" [4, t. 1, page 62].

Not fantastic, but scientific conclusions, according to the Russian historian, are that the analysis the mestorazvitiya of the Russian culture allows to find in it "not only elements of an Asian identity, but also even more undoubted elements of similarity to the European environment"; besides, the unity of the Eurasian world for Milyukov appears illusion — in practice it breaks up to several mestorazvitiya, considerably differing from each other [4, t. 1, page 62].

8 In any case, it is difficult not to notice that opposition of natural historical events to accidental cannot be executed only within positivism for which the highest authority is the fact — if valid there is an expression of regularity, then it does not need in any additional justifications. Allocation among the become more or less natural demands introduction of value approach to historical material, and Milyukov goes on it, being guided by reasons — both theoretical, and practical: on the one hand, he cannot ignore those results to which Zimmel, Vindelband, Rikkert came (this influence is mentioned casually by him [4, t. 1, page 40]). With another — by the time of reprinting of the first part of its essays (1937) of an event of February for it are still natural, and October — is accidental, despite twenty-year history of the Soviet mode and lack of visible manifestations of its weakness.
9 However to consider this influence too deep we have no bases: of course, Milyukov understands that interest in the general is a feature of its research installation. But at the same time it recognizes that in history something corresponds to this installation. So, characterizing prospects of the Soviet mode, he foggy concludes: "... will disappear accidental in historical process; not casual will remain" [4, t. 2, Part 2, page 463].
10 This duality was noticed also by Bitsilli for whom Milyukov's concept — "not simple denial of traditional concepts of the Russian historical science, & #34; западнической" and & #34; славянофильской"". This overcoming both theories in some of their synthesis. Milyukov accepts both characteristics of the Russian historical process: from Westerners he apprehended the idea of its simplicity, from Slavophiles — the idea of its identity" [1, page 83].
11 Closest in this question Milyukov to Savitsky — the Eurasian in whose creativity the positivistic trends dominate.
12 Interestingly and the fact that the ideological unity of the Eurasian doctrine was created by variety of philosophically extremely non-uniform material.


Noted unity in the initial principles and a contradiction in conclusions demonstrate most likely that conclusions are created not only by science, but also ideology, political preferences of the author. Value systems penetrate Milyukov's attitude, forcing it peculiar both to select and to interpret the facts, pushing it sometimes on quite strange conclusions. For example, we will point to a small fragment where Milyukov calls the purpose of the research not only identification of an originality of the Russian culture, but also search of elements of "community of Russia with the countries happier culturally" [4, t. 3, page 4]. Even taking into account a context of this statement ("Europeanism, there is no beginning alien to the Russian life, but own elements, one of the main beginnings on which this life develops") the instruction on the countries happier culturally belongs not to the sphere of the facts, and estimates, and there are enough any.

The same arbitrariness in relation to own principles, in our opinion, is also Milyukov's statement that the history of porevolyutsionny Russia not only does not disprove historical optimism, but also there is enough oddly of it podderzhivayet13. The similar trend, internally reasonable at smenovekhovets and Eurasians, at the liberal public first of all testifies to not resolved contradiction between the positivistic ideological and philosophical installations and experience of a real story created before revolution.

Probably, the feature of a position of Milyukov — one of classics of the Russian historical science, undoubtedly talented, thinly feeling historical material consists in it. However, as he tried to represent objectivity and impartiality, opposing himself to populists and Marxists, philosophically his outlook bears on itself the same print of an era.

List of references

1. P.M. Bitsilli. Philosophy of the Russian history in works P.N. Milyukova//P.N. Milyukov: sb. mater. on a celebration of its seventieth anniversary (1859 — 1929). Paris, 1929. Page 81 — 91.
2. G.V. Vernadsky of the Item N. Milyukov and mestorazvitiye of the Russian people//New magazine. 1964. Prince 77. Page 254 — 289.
3. A.A. Kizevetter. About P.N. Milyukov historian//P.N. Milyukov: sb. mater. on a celebration of its seventieth anniversary (1859 — 1929). Paris, 1929. Page 49 — 54.
4. P.N. Milyukov. Essays on the history of the Russian culture: in 3 TM, 1993 — 1995.
5. V.A. Myakotin. P.N. Milyukov as historian//P.N. Milyukov: sb. mater. on a celebration of its seventieth anniversary (1859 — 1929). Paris, 1929. Page 39 — 47.
6. Odinets D.M.P.N. Milyukov in the Russian historical science//In the same place. Page 55 — 68.
7. M. Rayev Russia abroad: Cultural history of the Russian emigration. 1919 — 1939. M, 1994.

About the author

V.I. Povilaytis — an edging. filos. sciences, dots., RGU of I. Kant, e-mail:


Dr. of V. J. Povilaitis, Associate Professor, IKSUR, e-mail:

13 In literature it is noted that this contradiction is peculiar to the Russian positivists in emigration in general [7, page 208 — 209].
Susanna Marjorie
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