The significance of the critique of A. I. Vvedensky’s ‘new psychophysiological law’ for Russian philosophyAbstract
This article analyses the historical and philosophical critique of A. I. Vvedensky’s ‘new psychophysiological’ law. The author examines the most substantial commentaries, namely, those by P. E. Astafyev, N. Y. Grot, L. M. Lopatin, E. L. Radlov, and S. N. Trubetskoy. At the end of the 19th century, these authors contributed to an active discussion in the pages of scientific journals. The discussion focused on the ideas expressed in the work On the Limits and Characteristics of Becoming Conscious, which was published in the form of theses in book 16 book of the journal Problems of Philosophy and Psychology. Trough formulating the law of the absence of objective evidence of becoming consciousness, Vvedensky did not only raise issues relating to philosophy of mind but also pointed to the growing contradictions in Russian philosophy caused by the development of scientific knowledge amid the dominance of religious philosophy. Using the tools of criticism, the Russian philosopher identified the metaphysical origins in scientific knowledge in order to eliminate them, although preserving the particular critical field of metaphysics dealing with issues transcending the available rational knowledge. Such an approach to the role of metaphysics, as well as demarcation of the border between philosophy and psychology amid the need for coherent knowledge provoked sharp criticism. The author describes Vvednesky’s position, which can be traced in all of his later works. Its central elements is the need to create a coherent understanding of the world providing answers to all the phenomena of human existence, including those traditionally interpreted as objects of nonscientific knowledge. In the conclusion, the author focuses on the characteristics of Vvedensky’s oeuvre and its role in the development of Russian critical philosophy. It is postulated that an analysis of the discussion not only is interesting as a fact in the history of Russian philosophical though but it also gives a new perspective on the problems arising with attempts to create a means for attaining objective and reliable knowledge in philosophy and science, which potentially unites them within research. It is proven that Vvedensky’s philosophical ideas can be classed as Neo-Kantian, which emphasises their unique features and relevance for further historical and philosophical analysis.