Kantian Journal

2015 Issue №3(53)

Kant in Nikolai Strakhov’s philosophical research (An experience of epistemological orientation)


This article considers the major references to Kant’s works in the texts of an authoritative Russian thinker Nikolai Strakhov (1828—1896), whose legacy has been revised in recent historical and philosophical studies. The author of the article analyses the materials of Strakhov’s works ‘The key feature of thinking’, ‘On time’, ‘On objectives of history of philosophy’, ‘On key concepts of psychology’, his many years’ correspondence with L. N. Tolstoy and A. A. Fet, who expressed keen interest in the works of the German philosopher, the works of A. I. Vvedensky, etc. The study fol¬lows the pattern of a dialogical reconstruction; it examines the conceptual range of interpretations of Kant’s philosophical legacy in the context of the Russian intellectual culture of the 1860—90s. Modern Kant studies just began investigating Strakhov’s oeuvre. One cannot but agree that Strakhov ‘offers a subtle and in-depth interpretation of Kant’s understanding of the subjectivity of thinking (V. A. Zhuchkov). However, the complexity of historical and philosophical interpretation and analysis of Kant’s meanings in Strakhov’s philosophical research lies in the fact that this re-search is hermeneutic (‘peripheral’, according to F. E. Shperk). It strives to grasp the meanings not in the framework of historical continuity as a creation of the ‘forefather of ensuing systems’, but as part of the open whole of Kant’s philosophy filled with the ‘questions without answers, doubts without solutions’ (from Strakhov’s letters to Fet). Strakhov considers Kant’s critique of pure rea¬son as a critique of thinking in its ‘deepest’ free meaning-related perspective. With this in mind, Strakhov comments on the concept outlines of Kant’s philosophy and Kant’s apriorism and at¬tempts at ‘joint thinking’ with Kant and about Kant using his original epistemological style of thinking. This style is fundamentally non-solitary, reciprocal; it suggests formal logical and con¬tent-related clarity, metaphysical cautiousness, and conceptual pluralism.

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