Kantian Journal

2016 Vol. 35. №4

Kant’s fundamental idea of state and law in Pushkin’s Boris Godunov

Abstract

The tragedy Boris Godunov occupies a unique place in A. S. Pushkin’s oeuvre. It was a turning point, when the author needed the whole power of his poetical genius, when a work beyond traditional literary and aesthetic styles, which interchange and establish a canon of a new style that transforms its predecessors in an act of creativity, appeared in Russian culture. Boris Godunov marked the birth of an individual author’s style in Russian art. A unique literary world — the world of Pushkin — manifested itself in a work of art. This article sets out to prove the influence of Kant’s philosophical and legal ideas on A. S. Pushkin during the poet’s work on Boris Godunov. Kant’s thought that the people is the only monarch and that legislative power is vested in it in a rule-of-law state is the central idea of the tragedy. When working on Boris Godunov, Pushkin not only studied the Critique of Judgement but he also read Kant’s works on epistemological theory. In his tragedy, Pushkin was guided by Kant’s ideas of state and law and strived to make it obvious that the people is the only monarch and source of political and legislative power. The tragedy of the people is that it does not know it and the mission of the educated class is to make the people aware of its powers and educate it. Law cannot exist beyond the people’s consciousness — everything else is despotism and a tyranny.

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Ideas of Kant’s theoretical philosophy in Peirce’s graph theory

Abstract

C. S. Peirce is a prominent figure in the nineteenth-century American philosophy. His contribution to philosophy and logic is enormous. The significance of some of his ideas was not realized until today. As a philosopher, Peirce was shaped by Kant, whose Critique of Pure Reason he knew almost by heart. Peirce was fascinated by the German thinker, who literally opened for him the philosophy of modern era and introduced him to the problem of cognition and increment of knowledge. Peirce was never a Kantian but the oeuvre of the Königsberg philosopher had a profound effect on all of his further works. The major elements of Kant’s theory (transcendental deduction of categories, classification of judgements, synthetic and analytic judgement dichotomy, etc.) were substantially modified by Peirce. He reduced the number of categories, changed their content, and transformed analytic and synthetic judgements into ampliative and explicative reasoning. Kant helped Peirce to overcome the doctrine of nominalism and develop the doctrine of critical realism. This paper addresses the existential graph theory, which is scrutinised from the perspective of transformations of Kant’s ideas. The graph theory was chosen, firstly, because of its chronological significance — it is the last logical theory of the American thinker. Secondly, it was greatly valued by the author, who called the theory his greatest accomplishment. The fact that the echo of Kant’s philosophy is heard in such a recent theory is an evidence of Kant’s strong influence. This thesis is proven in this work.

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