Alexander Radischev – Dialectics of Enlightenment and the Origin of Russian Thought

Sławomir Mazurek

The article constitutes an attempt at reconstructing the views of Aleksander Radishchev, the 18th and 19th century Russian writer and thinker. In considering his most famous work, the novel A Journey from Petersburg to Moscow, the author questions the validity of the decade-long held opinion of Radishchev as the precursor of Russian intellectual consciousness. In analysing various motifs within his thought – his political programme, historiosophy, and moral philosophy (including refl ections on suicide) he shows that Radishchev was at the same time an advocate of modernisation and a pessimist aware of its very limitations. This determines the difference between his position and that occupied  later by intellectual progressivism and allows one to consider him as the precursor of contemporary post-Enlightenment consciousness.

Keywords: Radischev · Enlightenment

Sławomir Mazurek — Associate Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Expert on Russian Philosophy; author of several books about so called Russian religious Renaissance, among others: Wątki katastroficzne w myśli rosyjskiej i polskiej (Catastrophical Currents in Russian and Polish Thought 1917–1950); Utopia i łaska. Idea rewolucji moralnej w rosyjskiej filozofii religijnej (The Utopia and The Grace. Idea of Moral Revolution in the Russian Religious Thought).   »  

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