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Category: History

I. Kant and P.I. Novgorodtsev in their views of history subject

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A.I. Vinogradov


Solutions by I. Kant and P.I. Novgorodtse-vym of a problem of a role and value in historical process of two of his subjects — mankind and persons are compared. Lines of similarity and distinction of philosophical positions of these thinkers on the matter are detected. The main lines of development of Kant's methodology by Novgorodtsev are defined.

The article compares the approaches of Immanuel Kant and Pavel Nov-gorodtsev to the role and importance of humanity and human personality in historical process proposed by I. Kant and P. I. Novgorodtsev. The author analyses the similarities and differences of their positions and defines the main lines of Novgorodtsev&s development of Kant&s methodology.

Many philosophers of the past, reflecting on a subject on the subject of history, sought in the idea of it for finding of balance between universalism (first of all Christian), with its orientation to all mankind, on the one hand, and recognition of a special role of the personality as most important link of historical process — with another. To find this balance extremely difficult of force of both incomparability of volume of the concepts "mankind" and "personality", and significant differences in their contents. As a result the similar aspiration came to an end or a strong list towards one of concepts, or led to emergence of deep internal contradictions in philosophical systems.

To I. Kant the ethical standards regulating behavior of the person were considered as generated by forces, external in relation to the person — God or society. As a result the person was the hostage of these forces. Its own value was dissolved in value of these of the highest in relation to it the authorities and he, therefore, could not be considered as the independent subject of history any more, but only as the performer of the will which is above it.

Immanuel Kant as justification of a historical role of the personality used the ethical representations. According to it, a source of human knowledge are the independent of experience and preceding it sensuality forms which signs — need and strict generality [3, with. 33]. According to this situation, moral categories gained aprioristic character, began to be considered by Kant as not depending on experience of the person. The moral act from this point of view looks as result internal

Bulletin of the Russian state university of I. Kant. 2009. Issue 6. Page 20 — 25.

an imperative which does not depend on an era, specific life circumstances, national or other peculiarities. The fact that in Kant's representation the moral behavior of people is caused by the autonomous law of moral will gives the independent value of the human person and opens area of freedom for the person, creates a possibility of manifestation it as subject of history.

Attempts to solve this problem otherwise led only to contradictory ideas of the subjective nature of action in the history of objective laws. Philosophico-historical views of one of ideological leaders of populism — P.L. Lavrova can be an example of similar discrepancy. On the one hand, coming under influence of positivism, he acknowledged the possibility of removal of the sociological laws explaining the reasons and the direction of progressive development of all human society. But, on the other hand, that mechanism which it suggested to use for this purpose shows that it put very specific contents in concepts of laws and progress, putting them into dependence on subjective factors. For opening of laws of development of society, according to Lavrov, it is necessary to use "a subjective method" which it defined as need "to become to the place of sufferers and the enjoying members of society, but not to the place of the passionless foreign observer of the public mechanism" [4, page 39]. At such approach the regularity of universal history faces unpredictability of emotional manifestations of the personality which as it emphasizes, does not differ at the same time in impassivity. Combination of the natural and steady movement of society on the way of progress with voluntarism of the personality looks very problematic.

Understanding of this problem generated need to look for new, satisfactorier approaches to an explanation of historical process. Such development tried to carry out at the very end of XIX — the beginning of the 20th century the Russian Neo-Kantianism acting through first of all leader of the Moscow school of legal philosophy, one of founders of constitutional democratic party Pavel Ivanovich Novgo-rodtsev. This direction sought to create such idea of history in which could be combined the natural movement of society to a definite purpose and freedom of manifestation of the individual. Also it solved this problem, based on I. Kant's ideas.

Considering society as the subject of history, Novgorodians agrees with Kant that it aims the development, otherwise history would turn into senseless process. At the same time such understanding of the purpose of history which was formulated by representatives of the civilization and culturological direction of philosophy of history because in it the common goal of history of mankind absolutely disappeared as it was replaced with a set of the purposes of separate social communities was unacceptable for both thinkers. And Kant and Novgorodians considered that the common goal of mankind cannot be abolished, it is impossible to break history into a set of the processes and states which are not connected with each other. Novgorodians need of such purpose for society, necessary, "to have criterion for razliche-insistently emphasizes

a niya of eternal shrines from temporary idols and idols to know the direction in which it is necessary to go" [6, page 60].

But in understanding of nature of this purpose between thinkers there are two essential distinctions. Kant believed that the natural course of improvement of state system has to lead to achievement of general legal civil society, and the solution of this task depends on establishment of the zakonoobrazny external relations between the states [1, page 15]. "To everlasting peace" (1795) Kant expresses strong confidence that history purpose proclaimed by it — establishment of everlasting peace between the states — will be reached in work: "The nature guarantees everlasting peace, but, of course, with reliability insufficient (theoretically) to predict time of its approach, but nevertheless almost achievable and binding to try to obtain us this (not so illusive) the purpose" [5, page 288]. It says that everlasting peace — not the empty idea, but the task which, "being gradually resolved, approaches closer and closer the purpose as terms in which identical success is achieved it is necessary to hope, will become shorter" [5, page 309]. Thus, Kant understands almost achievable condition of society to which the mankind aspires as history purpose, forced by conditions of the existence.

Unlike Kant, Novgorodians, first, understood this purpose not as realized during historical process and as taken out for natural borders of terrestrial existence of mankind. Proceeding from Christian parcels, Novgorodians saw history purpose in the movement of mankind out of borders of the terrestrial world. Owing to history purpose understood thus (stay it out of society) it cannot be, for example, a problem of establishment of everlasting peace between the people as it seemed to Kant, it cannot be implemented in terrestrial reality at all.

Secondly, history purpose, across Novgorodtsev, does not represent something concrete. In his treatment the purpose of life of society is an ideal, an abstract reference point of the movement, and the philosophy cannot "neither fill this ideal with concrete contents, nor represent transition to it from the world of the final and conditional phenomena" [6, page 60]. It can define a way to the highest perfection only in the common and abstract features. Therefore history, across Novgorodtsev, cannot be represented as the harmonious row conducting mankind in a straight line to a final celebration of reason. It seems to the thinker difficult set of the separate efforts and actions which are not connected in a uniform chain. However from denial of a zadannost of social progress at Novgorodtsev the idea of history as about something absolutely accidental and chaotic, deprived of any logic and an order does not follow at all. He wrote that "how separate links of historical development seemed broken off and accidental, all of them are connected by some general and highest sense" [6, page 63].

Idea of the mankind history purpose as about the ideal which is taken out out of limits of its terrestrial history, but not as about concrete and achievable in future condition of society allowed Novgorodtsev to solve, at least, two problems of philosophy of history.

First if the purpose of history is not a certain desirable condition of society, but an unattainable ideal, then the center of gravity by consideration of historical process is transferred from the future to the present. Search of an exit comes from topical problems not the aspiration to lead cash reality to an ideal order, without reckoning at the same time with means, and finding of what at the moment can be made really for simplification of life of people. Writes Novgorodians that if to take away belief in future harmony of life from an ideal, then "there will be the politician of the next affairs and social reforms, the politician Clemenceau and Bryan, Askvita and Lloyd-George". And further it cites Clemenceau's words characterizing his aspiration "to bring a little more justice in this world" [6, page 40 — 41]. This statement does not promise radical transformation of society, but is quite feasible for performance.

Secondly, at such approach the identical value and own sense is received by each historical era, irrespective of the ratio with others. "Never there will be such public state in relation to which the previous states would be only means. All of them carried in themselves both the purpose and the justification" — wrote Novgorodians [6, page 66]. If to recognize objectivity of existence of the terrestrial purpose of history, then it is impossible to avoid assessment of historical eras in terms of approach to this purpose. What Novgorodians transfers this purpose to the sphere of morality and represents it only as a reference point of the movement of society attaches to every era independent internal significance. Here mankind life as subject of history looks samotsenno in each moment, irrespective of the considered period.

Speaking about historical value of other subject of history — the human person, P.I. Novgorodtsev also proceeded from Kant understanding of morals. He repeats after Kant: "To work for ideal motives out of any dependence on possible external results makes essence and depth of moral will of the person. To create for moral communications, besides any reasons about direct advantage — here that gives to the person the highest satisfaction" [6, page 65].

Using this position as the methodological tool, Novgorodians formulates the idea of the nature of a ratio in the history of society and the personality. One of the most important characteristic features of philosophy of P.I. Novgorodtsev was that the human person with own moral choice was a starting point and the center of her reasonings. He repeatedly emphasized that each human person has unconditional moral value according to what "the concept of the personality has to be considered as the purpose and criterion of progress" [6, page 67]. In this point Novgorodtsev's views completely coincide with Kant's representations. Both thinkers considered that the personality should not be considered as means for public harmony; on the contrary, this harmony is only one of means for implementation of tasks of the personality.

However, analyzing Kant ethics, Novgorodians comes to a conclusion that in the form it Kant formulated, it insufficiently expressed practical orientation. In opinion Novgorod -

a tseva, "the morals in its clean and unconditional definition in what it is never carried out in fact, are the schematic drawing, an algebraic formula of moral will" [5, page 21 — 22]. For the purpose of an exit from this difficulty, Novgorodians considers it necessary to add individual Kant ethics with a concept of social development. It considered that the moral law should be understood as the basis for the general moral life connecting all people by a common goal. Then the autonomous law of personal will turns with itself into ethical standard of communication between people, and it becomes at the same time a basis of private life. In that case contradictions between the personality and society reconcile, and the ethical standard of communication gains the nature of the highest communication, "which as the combination of contrasts, as their moral unity, matters for communication persons even more, than similarity of their requirements and the purposes" [5, page 27].

The ratio of society and the personality carries, across Novgorodtsev, difficult, dialectic character. He tried to avoid such representation at which these categories are allocated with self-sufficing value, and, as a result, their impact on history is considered by analogy with mechanical. Novgorodians represents them "growing from one root... — live human spirit" [5, page 318]. At the same time the personality looks not as "the beginning distracted and closed in itself which is not recognizing over itself any communications and norms" and as the carrier of the moral law opening ideal communication of the personality with society [5, page 106]. Thus, both over the personality and over society there are highest — moral values which eliminate their extreme manifestations and regulate their ratio. Across Novgorodtsev, in the field of the public phenomena there cannot be no other highest norm, except that which has to direct the person in his private life.

The look in which moral standards took the place of the irrespective regulator of behavior of people appropriate to them gives the chance to estimate point of the happening historical changes not from the point of view of separate social groups and their interests, and on the basis of valid values. Moral values were the only actual values — both for Kant, and for Novgorodtsev —. The basic unity of human morality lifts the solution of a question to mankind level at once, passing separate social groups. It means that at such approach the status of the subject of history cannot belong to separate social communities, such as classes, nations or civilizations. And it leads to a conclusion that they cannot be considered as independent participants of historical process and such right belongs only to mankind and certain people.

At last, such understanding of the purpose of the historical movement of mankind at which this purpose cannot be one of steps of historical progress removes one of problems which could not be resolved well before in those philosophico-historical concepts which existence at purpose history admitted. It was the contradiction problem between predisposition of the end of story and freedom of the human person. As soon as any given thinker recognized predefiniteness of achievement by mankind

the prime target of its historical development, this idea came into conflict with free will of the certain person who can not want achievement of this purpose by society. In such cases the philosophers had, for example, an appeal to "cunning of reason" which of actions of the certain people pursuing the own individual aims at the public level created something new in comparison with what was in their intentions as Hegel had it, or other options designed to disguise the existing contradiction were invented.

It is represented that Novgorodians managed to find the most acceptable way out of such situation. On the one hand, he did not refuse the concept of the purpose of history to avoid loss of point of historical process. But with another — understanding of this purpose at Novgorodtsev such is that it at the same time does not suppress and does not make senseless human activity. On the contrary, such understanding of the purpose opens for the person unprecedented opportunities for manifestation of own forces and abilities. Such interpretation of the purpose focuses the person on eternal search, on eternal concern for which there is no limit. Therefore Novgorodians are also formulated by the main definition of the purpose of history as "an ideal of eternal improvement" [6, page 69].

Thanks to creative development of Kant methodology, addition with its social representations, Novgorodtseva managed to create quite balanced and consistent idea of activity of subjects of history. Reinterpreting Kant's heritage, bringing in his philosophy an original element, Novgorodtsev's system, as well as the Russian Neo-Kantianism in general, had good philosophical prospects. Unfortunately, the school stopped the existence during the postoctober period and therefore could not have noticeable impact both on Russian, and on a world philosophico-historical thought. But the potential of the ideas which are contained in it can be realized at modern judgment of the problems lifted by it.

List of references

1. I. Kant. The idea of general history in the world and civil plan//Soch.: in the 6th TM, 1966. T. 6.
2. I. Kant. To everlasting peace//In the same place.
3. I. Kant. Criticism of pure mind. M, 1994.
4. P.L. Lavrov Formula N.K. Mikhaylovsky's progress. SPb., 1906.
5. Novgorodians P.I. A moral problem in Kant's philosophy. M, 1903.
6. Novgorodians P.I. About a public ideal. M, 1991.

About the author

A.I. Vinogradov, edging. filos. sciences, dots., Kaliningrad state technical university, e-mail:

About author

Dr. A. Vinogradov, Associate Professor, Kaliningrad State University of Technology, e-mail:

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