Pniiosovny ov ¡coxo:y

Thc Vorld as Houschold
Svvcvi 8iic~xov
Translatcd, ¡ditcd, and with an !ntroduction by Cathcrinc ¡vtuhov
Yalc Univcrsity Prcss Ncw Havcn and London
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Copyright © :ccc by Yalc Univcrsity.
All rights rcscrvcd.
This book may not bc rcproduccd, in wholc
or in part, including illustrations, in any lorm
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Printcd in thc Unitcd Statcs ol Amcrica.
Library ol Congrcss Cataloging-in-Publication Ðata
8ulgakov, Scrgci Nikolacvich, .8y.–.o±±.
|Filosofiia khoziaistva. ¡nglish|
Philosophy ol cconomy : thc world as houschold [ Scrgci 8ulgakov ;
translatcd, cditcd, and with an introduction by Cathcrinc ¡vtuhov.
p. cm. — (Russian litcraturc and thought)
!ncludcs bibliographical rclcrcnccs and indcx.
isnx c-¡cc-cyooc-y
.. ¡conomics—Philosophy. !. ¡vtuhov, Cathcrinc.
!!. Titlc. !!!. Scrics.
n±:¡8.n8¡ v¡¡.¡ :ccc
¡¡c'.c.—dc:. oo–c¡¡±¡±
A cataloguc rccord lor this book is
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Cox)vx)s
!ntroduction by Cathcrinc ¡vtuhov [ .
Philosophy of Economy: The !orld as Household
Prclacc [ ¡¡
cn~v )vv .
Thc Problcm ol thc Philosophy ol ¡conomy
! Contcmporary ‘‘¡conomism’’ [ ¡o
!! Philosophy and Lilc [ ±±
!!! Philosophy and Scicncc [ ¡8
!\ Criticism and Ðogmatism [ 6¡
\ A Prcliminary Ðcfinition ol ¡conomy [ 68
cn~v )vv :
Thc Natural-Philosophical 8ascs ol thc Thcory ol ¡conomy
! !dcalism and Natural Philosophy [ yy
!! Schclling’s Philosophy [ 8¡
cn~v )vv ¡
Thc Significancc ol thc 8asic ¡conomic Functions
! Consumption [ o¡
!! Production [ .c8
.
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cn~v )vv ±
Òn thc Transccndcntal Subjcct ol ¡conomy
! Man and Humanity [ .:¡
!! Thc Sophic ¡conomy [ .±:
cn~v )vv ¡
Thc Naturc ol Scicncc
! Thc Multiplicity ol Scicntific Knowlcdgc [ .¡y
!! Thc ¡conomic Naturc ol Scicncc [ .66
!!! Thc Sophic Naturc ol Scicncc [ .y±
!\ ¡pistcmology and Praxcology [ .yy
\ Scicncc and Lilc [ .8.
\! Òn thc ‘‘Scicntific Vorldvicw’’ [ .86
\!! Scicncc’s Scll-Consciousncss [ .o:
cn~v )vv 6
¡conomy as a Synthcsis ol Frccdom and Ncccssity
! Frccdom and Causality [ .o6
!! Frccdom and Ncccssity [ :c¡
!!! Thc Spirit ol ¡conomy [ :.±
!\ Frccdom as Powcr, Ncccssity as !mpotcncc [ :.8
cn~v )vv y
Thc Limits ol Social Ðctcrminism
! Thc Stylc ol Social Scicncc [ ::¡
!! Sociologism and Historicism [ :¡¡
!!! Thc Problcm ol Social Politics [ :¡o
.i ´ Contents
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cn~v )vv 8
Thc Phcnomcnology ol ¡conomy
! Thc Task ol Political ¡conomy [ :±¡
!! Political ¡conomy’s Scicntific Stylc [ :¡c
cn~v )vv o
¡conomic Matcrialism as a Philosophy ol ¡conomy
! ¡conomic Matcrialism as Philosophy and as Scicncc [ :6:
!! Thc Contradictions ol ¡conomic Matcrialism [ :y¡
Notcs [ :8y
Glossary ol Grcck Tcrms [ ¡:8
Glossary ol Namcs [ ¡:o
!ndcx [ ¡¡o
Contents ´ .ii
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!ntroduction
C~)nvvi xv ¡v)inov
Thc cnd ol a ccntury and thc bcginning ol a ncw onc can bc a
momcnt ol scll-consciousncss, whcn pcoplc pausc in thcir usual
activitics to rcflcct on thc dircction ol thcir civilization and to
wondcr what thc luturc might hold. Thc citics ol ¡uropc—
lrom Paris to St. Pctcrsburg, lrom 8crlin and \icnna to Mos-
cow and Kicv—bccamc consumcd, in thc final ycars ol thc
ninctccnth ccntury, by a passion lor introspcction and cxpcri-
mcntation, by a rcjcction ol old moral norms and a tastc lor thc
good lilc, by a joylul crcativc cncrgy and a worldly dccadcncc.
!n Russia thc twcnticth ccntury was ushcrcd in by a whirlwind
ol crcativc activity, a vcritablc cxplosion in all sphcrcs ol cultural
and artistic lilc lrom litcraturc, painting, and music to thc-
atcr and ballct. This movcmcnt—thc ‘‘Silvcr Agc’’ ol Russian
culturc—was accompanicd by an cqually intcnsc philosophical
scarch.
1
!t was a momcnt whcn thinkcrs and writcrs rcflcctcd
on, qucstioncd, and tricd to lormulatc thc bascs on which thcir
socicty rcstcd.
Scrgci 8ulgakov (.8y.–.o±±) was onc ol thc major figurcs ol
thc Silvcr Agc. His complicatcd and brokcn intcllcctual path is
symptomatic ol thc turbulcnt and widc-ranging spiritual qucst
ol thc carly twcnticth ccntury. A promincnt Marxist intcllcc-
tual in thc .8ocs (among thosc known as ‘‘lcgal Marxists’’), hc
was at thc lorclront ol thc intclligcntsia’s rcjcction ol Marxism
and turn to Christianity in thc .occs and .o.cs. Author ol thc
lcading articlcs in thc scminal publications Problemy ideali.ma
z
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|Problcms ol idcalism| (.oc:) and thc lamous !ekhi |Land-
marks| (.oco), 8ulgakov also playcd an important rolc in thc
Union ol Libcration and in thc rcvolution ol .oc¡. As ccono-
mist, philosophcr, publicist, politician (dclcgatc to thc Sccond
Ðuma), cditor, loundcr ol a Christian Socialist party, mcmbcr
ol thc Moscow Rcligious-Philosophical Socicty, and cvcntu-
ally dclcgatc to thc .o.y All-Russian Council ol thc Òrtho-
dox Church, 8ulgakov combincd a dccply scrious acadcmic lilc
with cqually scrious political activity. Hc was also a closc lricnd
and collaborator ol such figurcs as Nikolai 8crdiacv and Pavcl
Florcnsky, who havc sincc bccomc morc lamiliar in thc Vcst.
8ulgakov was among thc promincnt intcllcctuals cxilcd lrom
thc Sovict Union at thc cnd ol .o::; during his ‘‘sccond lilc’’
in Paris hc bccamc, arguably, thc twcnticth ccntury’s lorcmost
Òrthodox thcologian.
Philosophy of Economy (.o.:) is a work ol social thcory. Òn
thc simplcst lcvcl it is 8ulgakov’s rcjcction ol Marxism. !n his
youth 8ulgakov had rcvclcd in thc iron laws ol historical ma-
tcrialism, finding plcasurc and indccd cxaltation in thc scnsc ol
his own insignificancc vis-a-vis thc lorward march ol history,
but by .occ, Marxism’s subjugation ol individual wcll-bcing
in thc prcscnt lor thc sakc ol a shining luturc sccmcd to him
bothcrsomc. Thus Philosophy of Economy was also an attcmpt to
lormulatc an altcrnativc philosophy that prcscrvcd what 8ul-
gakov considcrcd Marxism’s main insights yct climinatcd its
disrcgard lor individual human dignity. !n thc politics ol thc
.oc¡ rcvolution, 8ulgakov’s position was casily idcntifiablc as
classic libcralism: hc advocatcd lrccdom ol conscicncc, lrcc-
dom ol spccch (glasnost’), national scll-dctcrmination, thc rulc
ol law, a constitution, and thc abolition ol autocracy. Yct thc
difficultics ol implcmcnting thcsc conditions on Russian soil
lcd 8ulgakov, as wcll as contcmporarics such as Scmën Frank,
8ogdan Kistiakovsky, Mikhail Gcrshcnzon, Scrgci Trubctskoy,
: ´ Introduction
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and othcrs, to a dccpcr articulation ol thc philosophical and
spiritual principlcs that undcrlay his qucst lor a socicty ordcrcd
according to just and lcgal norms.
2
Philosophy of Economy was
thc lruit ol thcsc scarchings.
Svvcvi 8iic~xov: A 8vivv 8iocv~vnic~i Sxv)cn
Scrgci 8ulgakov was born in thc small town ol Livny in Òrcl
provincc, to a mothcr ol noblc background and a lathcr whosc
lamily had bccn provincial pricsts lor six gcncrations. Likc
many mcmbcrs ol his gcncration, hc was to rctain a scnsc ol
his original social idcntity in thc provincial ‘‘middlc intclligcn-
tsia’’ cvcn altcr hc bccamc a promincnt rcprcscntativc ol thc
rarcficd urban clitc. An intcnscly rcligious and church-oricntcd
childhood was lollowcd by a loss ol laith at thc agc ol lourtccn
or filtccn, partly undcr thc influcncc ol Gcrman philosophy. !n
this rcspcct, 8ulgakov’s biography rcitcratcs thc trajcctory ol
thc prcccding gcncration ol radical intclligcntsia—Ðobroliu-
bov, Chcrnyshcvsky, Shchapov wcrc all scminarians lrom clcri-
cal lamilics who rcjcctcd thcir childhood laith in lavor ol radi-
cal politics. 8ulgakov lclt thc scminary and cntcrcd thc sccular
gimna.iia in ncarby ¡lcts.
Ðuring his ycars at Moscow Univcrsity in thc .8ocs, 8ulga-
kov cstablishcd his rcputation as onc ol Russia’s lcading Marx-
ist intcllcctuals. A studcnt ol thc lamous cconomist, statisti-
cian, and tcachcr Alcxandcr Chuprov, 8ulgakov was graduatcd
in .8o± and immcdiatcly bcgan tcaching statistics and politi-
cal cconomy at thc Moscow Tcchnical !nstitutc; hc also bcgan
a publicistic carccr with rcvicws and articlcs in lclt-lcaning
‘‘thick journals’’—Mir Bo.hii |Thc world ol God|, No.oe slo.o
|Thc ncw word|, and othcrs. O rynkakh pri kapitalisticheskom
proi..odst.e |Òn markcts in capitalist conditions ol produc-
tion|, publishcd in .8oy, thrust him into thc lorclront ol politi-
Introduction ´ ¸
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cal dcbatc with its argumcnt that capitalism could bc achicvcd
in Russia without rccoursc to thc cxtcrnal markcts that had
lormcd an csscntial clcmcnt ol capitalist dcvclopmcnt in wcst-
crn ¡uropc. Likc his lcllow adhcrcnts to thc philosophy ol so-
callcd lcgal Marxism (a rathcr awkward labcl, invcntcd by its
critics, that rclcrrcd to bclicvcrs in Marxism who did noth-
ing illcgal and hcncc wcrc not subjcct to policc pcrsccution),
8ulgakov bclicvcd that capitalism was a ncccssary stagc ol dc-
vclopmcnt lor all nations and thcrclorc dcnicd thc possibility ol
a ‘‘spccial path’’ lor Russia.
Òn thc crcst ol his succcss, 8ulgakov travclcd to 8crlin (as
wcll as London and Paris) lor two ycars in ordcr to pursuc his
studics and to makc thc acquaintancc ol lcadcrs ol thc Gcrman
and Austrian Social Ðcmocratic movcmcnts—Kautsky, 8cbcl,
8raun, Adlcr; hc plungcd, with cnthusiasm, into Gcrman radi-
cal politics and also bcgan a doctoral disscrtation, Kapitali.m i
.emledelie |Capitalism and agriculturc|. Thcsc two ycars, how-
cvcr, provcd to bc an uncxpcctcd turning point. Likc many
Russian intcllcctuals who travclcd to thc Vcst lor thc first timc
(Hcrzcn in Paris in .8±8 is thc archctypal cxamplc), 8ulgakov
lound thc practicc ol rcvolutionary politics in ¡uropc disillu-
sioning; thc problcms, lurthcrmorc, ol working-class organiza-
tion in turn-ol-thc-ccntury Gcrmany wcrc vcry diffcrcnt lrom
thc most prcssing political issucs in Russia, whcrc, altcr all,
thc industrial prolctariat was small and wcak, and rcvolution-
ary dcbatcs ccntcrcd on thc translormation ol a complctcly in-
adcquatc organization ol agriculturc rcsulting, cvcn as latc as
thc .8ocs, in lrcqucnt laminc. ¡uropcan culturc, too, had its
surpriscs: 8ulgakov dcscribcd his cncountcr with thc Sistinc
Madonna in thc Zwingcr Gallcry in Ðrcsdcn as a spiritual cx-
pcricncc that madc him, thc convinccd Marxist, brcak down
in pious tcars. Vhcthcr as a rcsult ol spiritual doubts or ol in-
consistcncics in his scicntific rcsults, by .occ 8ulgakov lound
, ´ Introduction
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it difficult to concludc his disscrtation, which hc had originally
conccivcd in a Marxist vcin. Thc massivc work, which invcs-
tigatcd agricultural structurcs in ¡ngland, Gcrmany, Francc,
!rcland, and thc Unitcd Statcs, cndcd by asscrting thc inappli-
cability ol Marxist thcory to agriculturc and, hcncc, thc im-
possibility ol any gcncralizcd dcscription ol capitalist socicty.
Vhcn hc rcturncd to Russia in .occ, 8ulgakov was in a statc
ol spiritual crisis.
This crisis was to cstablish thc ncw paramctcrs ol 8ulgakov’s
intcllcctual lilc lor thc cnsuing two dccadcs; lrom this mo-
mcnt bcgan an intcnsivc scarch lor a worldvicw to rcplacc thc
Marxism that had provcd inadcquatc. Thc cxtcrnal aspccts ol
8ulgakov’s lilc rcmaincd constant: bctwccn .occ and thc .o.y
rcvolution hc taught political cconomy, first in Kicv, at thc uni-
vcrsity and also at thc Polytcchnical !nstitutc, and thcn (bcgin-
ning in .oc6) in Moscow. Hc rcsigncd lrom Moscow Univcrsity
with a group ol .:c ol thc most promincnt prolcssors in .o.., in
protcst at govcrnmcnt policy toward thc univcrsity; but hc con-
tinucd to tcach at thc Moscow Commcrcial !nstitutc, which
had bccn loundcd by Muscovitc mcrchants in .ocy. 8ut, morc
significant, 8ulgakov thc oncc-promincnt Marxist now bccamc
an cqually promincnt participant in thc rcncwal in art, litcra-
turc, and philosophy known as thc Silvcr Agc. !n this capacity
hc bccamc thc invcntor ol thc slogan ‘‘From Marxism to !dcal-
ism,’’ which dcscribcd thc intcllcctual trajcctory ol an cntirc
gcncration ol Russian intcllcctuals. 8ulgakov cxpcricnccd and
gavc voicc to thc pcriod’s ‘‘discovcry’’ ol idcalism and cvcntu-
ally ol Christianity. Hc cxpcrimcntcd with nco-Kantianism in
thc carly .occs, but hc ultimatcly lound in Òrthodoxy a systcm
ol bclicls that could rcplacc his Marxist crccd ol thc .8ocs. Phi-
losophy of Economy was a rcsult ol thc prcccding dccadc’s scarch
and 8ulgakov’s most important contribution to thc philosophy
ol this immcnscly lruitlul crcativc pcriod.
Introduction ´ ·
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At thc samc timc, up to Stolypin’s dismissal ol thc Scc-
ond Ðuma in .ocy, 8ulgakov was an activc mcmbcr ol thc
libcration movcmcnt. Ònc ol thc lounding mcmbcrs ol thc
Union ol Libcration (to bccomc thc corc ol thc Constitutional
Ðcmocratic (‘‘Kadct’’) Party) in .oc:, hc contributcd to its
radical ncwspapcr, Os.obo.hdenie |Libcration|, and wrotc thc
agrarian program cvcntually to bc adoptcd by thc Kadcts. Un-
satisficd with Vcstcrn-stylc political partics, hc tricd to lound
an altcrnativc Christian Socialist party as a Ðuma dclcgatc,
but with limitcd succcss. 8ulgakov bccamc disillusioncd with
politics altcr thc lailurc ol thc radical Sccond Ðuma, whosc
insistcncc on thc cxpropriation ol gcntry lands mct with abso-
lutc rcjcction lrom thc govcrnmcnt. 8ulgakov also bccamc a
major figurc in a widcsprcad movcmcnt lor a rcligious ‘‘rclor-
mation’’ ol socicty among thc intclligcntsia. This movcmcnt
(similar to contcmporary dcvclopmcnts in Gcrmany) sought to
bring about social rclorm by instituting changcs in thc church
and by bringing thc church and thc sccular intclligcntsia closcr
togcthcr. !n this capacity, 8ulgakov was a loundcr ol thc Mos-
cow Rcligious-Philosophical Socicty and cditor ol a rcligious
publishing housc; hc also bricfly publishcd a rcligious ncws-
papcr, put out thc thick journal !oprosy .hi.ni |Òucstions ol
lilc|, and bccamc a dclcgatc to thc .o.y All-Russian Council ol
thc Òrthodox Church.
8ulgakov’s cvolution away lromMarxismand toward Òrtho-
dox Christianity culminatcd in .o.8 whcn, lollowing thc 8ol-
shcvik victory, hc took holy ordcrs and thus, lollowing a long
and circuitous journcy, rcturncd to thc laith ol his childhood.
Soon altcrward hc lclt Moscow lor thc Crimca; at thc cnd
ol .o:: hc bccamc onc ol thc boatload ol promincnt intcllcc-
tuals to bc litcrally shippcd out ol Russia by thc ncw Sovict
rcgimc. Altcr a short whilc in Praguc and 8crlin, 8ulgakov
wcnt to Paris and bcgan his ncw lilc as an Òrthodox thcologian
o ´ Introduction
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and rcctor ol thc Paris !nstitutc ol Òrthodox Thcology. This
final pcriod ol 8ulgakov’s activity continucd cntircly within thc
church; it is intcrcsting to notc, howcvcr, that thc ccntral doc-
trinc ol his thcology, thc thcory ol Sophia, thc Ðivinc Visdom,
or ‘‘sophiology,’’ was first lormulatcd in Philosophy of Economy
(scc chaptcr ±), that is, in a sccular contcxt. 8ulgakov’s sophi-
ology was condcmncd as hcrcsy in .o¡¡ by thc Moscow patri-
archatc. Ðuring thc ycars bctwccn his cmigration and his dcath
in .o±±, 8ulgakov wrotc a numbcr ol significant thcological
works as wcll as popularizations ol Òrthodox doctrinc; hc also
bccamc an important figurc in thc ccumcnical movcmcnt ol thc
Christian churchcs.
3
!xxvv Svivi) \vvsis ¡x)vvx~i Fov:s:
Pniiosovny ov ¡coxo:y ix )nv
Cox)vx) ov Tivx-ov-)nv-Cvx)ivy ¡ivovv
8ulgakov’s scarch lor a ncw social philosophy was part ol
a broadcr ¡uropcan movcmcnt that historians, lollowing
H. Stuart Hughcs, havc comc to summarizc as thc ‘‘rcvolt
against positivism.’’
4
At thc turn ol thc twcnticth ccntury,
thinkcrs throughout ¡uropc qucstioncd thc loundations ol
ninctccnth-ccntury attitudcs toward scicncc, litcraturc, and so-
cicty. This intcllcctual rcvolution, whosc magnitudc and intcn-
sity surpasscd thosc ol any such movcmcnt sincc thc Romantic
rcvolt against thc ¡nlightcnmcnt, rcjcctcd a numbcr ol sci-
cntific and philosophical attitudcs associatcd, lor thcsc think-
crs, with positivism’s laith in thc capacity ol scicncc to rc-
solvc human problcms: positivism’s critics rcvoltcd with cqual
lorcc against matcrialism, mcchanism, and naturalism. !n social
thought, thc qucstioning ol dominant ninctccnth-ccntury bc-
licls lrcqucntly involvcd a rccvaluation ol Marxism (as wcll
as Fcucrbach, who was sccn as a primary proponcnt ol ma-
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tcrialism) and a dissatislaction with thc application ol Ðar-
winian thcorics to social lilc. Thc rcvolt against positivism took
a varicty ol lorms: Gcrman nco-Kantianism and nco-idcalism,
Sorcl’s rcthinking ol Marxism as ‘‘social poctry,’’ Frcud’s ‘‘dis-
covcry’’ ol thc unconscious, and Saussurc’s approach to lan-
guagc as structurc (as opposcd to thc historical rcscarchcs ol
ninctccnth-ccntury linguists) arc a lcw ol thc morc important
cxamplcs.
8ulgakov’s dramatic transition lrom Marxism to idcalism
and, cvcntually, Christianity, coincidcd with, and lormcd a part
ol, thc rcvolt against positivism that cngagcd many ol his Rus-
sian and ¡uropcan contcmporarics; 8ulgakov might bc consid-
crcd thc Russian countcrpart ol Sorcl in Francc and Crocc in
!taly. Vhcn 8ulgakov announccd thc primacy ol cthical valucs
in .oc.–.oc:, hc did so bccausc Marxism, with its dialcctical
world-historical vision ol modcs ol production rcplacing onc
anothcr until thc ultimatc Socialist Goldcn Agc, sccmcd to
him mcrcly a variant or manilcstation ol a grcatcr cvil: posi-
tivism. 8ulgakov had bcgun to qucstion thc worldvicw that
undcrlay Marxist cconomic thcory. Hc did not mcrcly rcjcct
onc scicntific thcory to rcplacc it with anothcr; rathcr, hc quitc
consciously lormulatcd his Marxism as a !eltanschauung and
saw it as subsumcd in a concrctc mctaphysical systcm callcd
‘‘positivism,’’ simultancously submitting thc cntirc systcm to
rccvaluation and criticism.
Vhat did 8ulgakov mcan by ‘‘positivism,’’ and why did hc
considcr it an inadcquatc basis lor a vision ol socicty. To a largc
cxtcnt, 8ulgakov cquatcd positivism with what hc callcd thc
‘‘thcory ol progrcss.’’ 8ulgakov spokc lor an cntirc gcncration
ol Russian intcllcctuals—figurcs such as Ðmitri Mcrczhkov-
sky, Nikolai 8crdiacv, Pctr Struvc, and Scmën Frank—whcn
hc claimcd that positivism, as a codc ol social morality, pro-
vidcd a vision ol history as progrcss toward a pcrlcct carthly
8 ´ Introduction
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socicty, sacrificing thc good ol prcscnt gcncrations lor that ol
thc luturc. 8clicl in scicncc, lurthcrmorc, had attaincd thc lcvcl
ol a rcligion, had bccomc its own moral codc; yct, prcciscly bc-
causc scicncc did not and could not addrcss thc problcms ol
mctaphysics and ol rcligion dircctly, il its csscntial suppositions
wcrc clcvatcd to thc lcvcl ol a rcligion it would providc lalsc
dircction lor human bchavior. 8ulgakov argucd that at no timc
could man livc by scicncc alonc; pcoplc nccdcd mctaphysics and
rcligion. Givcn this condition, positivism had bccomc much
morc than a scicntific thcory—thc thcory ol progrcss had bc-
comc a thcodicy; scicntificity had swallowcd up rcligion and
mctaphysics, claiming lor itscll thc rights ol both. 8ut, again
according to 8ulgakov, thc attcmpt ol positivism to cstablish a
scicntific rcligion had lailcd; instcad, scicncc had ccascd to bc
scicncc and bccomc a rcligion. Thc subjcct ol this rcligion was
humanity, which itscll bccamc dcificd; thc goal ol thc rcligion
ol progrcss was thc good ol luturc gcncrations, and thcrclorc it
dcmandcd thc sacrificc ol thc prcscnt onc. Positivism in gcn-
cral and Marxism in particular, in othcr words, subjugatcd thc
nccds ol individual human bcings hcrc and now lor thc sakc ol
thc vagucly dcfincd luturc wcll-bcing ol collcctivc humanity.
Although his initial qucstioning ol Marxism and positiv-
ism had takcn placc in thc final ycars ol thc ninctccnth ccn-
tury, 8ulgakov finally lormulatcd his own solution—his original
thcory ol socicty—only in thc .o.cs. Thc turn-ol-thc-ccntury
¡uropcan critics ol Marx, dcpcnding on thc spccific rcasons lor
thcir rcjcction ol Marxism, wcnt about rcluting him in various
ways, ranging lrom rcvisionism to Vcbcr’s powcrlul countcr-
argumcnt ol rcligious and cthical valucs as a driving lorcc in
history. 8ulgakov’s particular answcr to Marxism and positiv-
ism took thc lorm ol a ‘‘philosophy ol cconomy.’’ !n his book
ol this titlc, 8ulgakov rcplaccd Marx’s vision ol socicty as a
class strugglc bascd on matcrial intcrcsts, in which thc modc
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ol production dctcrmincd social lorms and idcologics, with a
vicw at whosc crux stood thc rclation bctwccn man and naturc.
Likc many ¡uropcan social thcorists, 8ulgakov turncd to a
way ol thinking about socicty lamiliar to all cightccnth- and
ninctccnth-ccntury Christians: hc took as his point ol dcpar-
turc an imagincd original statc in which man and naturc livcd
in pcrlcct harmony. To this initial statc, analogous to thc Statc
ol Naturc postulatcd by Lockc or Rousscau, 8ulgakov gavc thc
namc ‘‘¡dcnic cconomy’’— thc world as it cxistcd in Paradisc,
bclorc original sin. Yct, again lollowing thc lamiliar pattcrn, thc
world in which wc currcntly livc is latally scparatcd lrom this
harmonious cxistcncc by thc Fall ol man—which 8ulgakov saw
as a ‘‘mctaphysical catastrophc’’ that draggcd all ol crcation into
a sinlul, cmpirical statc in which man must strugglc lor sur-
vival, cking out a painlul cxistcncc lrom an unlricndly, mccha-
nizcd naturc. This is thc world in which wc livc now, prisoncrs
to our matcrial nccds; and this is thc world, said 8ulgakov,
that Marx took to bc thc only rcal onc, basing his doctrinc ol
cconomic matcrialism on thc ‘‘lallcn’’ statc ol humanity. 8ut
whcrcas thc cightccnth-ccntury thcorists proposcd thc idca ol
a social contract as a way ol rcgulating rclations among pcoplc,
as wcll as bctwccn thcm and thc govcrnmcnt, in this impcrlcct
world 8ulgakov turncd to a biblical notion—Sophia—as a way
out ol thc mcrc labor ‘‘in thc swcat ol our lacc’’ that charac-
tcrizcs our cxistcncc in thc lallcn world. Thc Ðivinc Visdom,
Sophia, which according to thc Òld Tcstamcnt was prcscnt
with God at thc Crcation (Prov. 8:::–:¡) and ‘‘shincs in thc
world as thc primordial purity and bcauty ol thc univcrsc, in
thc lovclincss ol a child and in thc gorgcous cnchantmcnt ol a
swaying flowcr, in thc bcauty ol a starry sky and a flaming sun-
risc,’’
5
was an clusivc conccpt that 8ulgakov took carc ncvcr to
dcfinc prcciscly: Sophia consistcd ol thc totality ol ctcrnal idcas
that conlrontcd God at thc crcation; yct thc notion ol Sophia
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is in constant flux, it is joyousncss, it is play, it is wisdom, it
is lovc.
6
8ulgakov’s cntcrprisc was to introducc thc notion ol
Sophia into social and cconomic lilc. Sophia potcntially sul-
luscs thc grim world ol work and thc strugglc lor survival: in
rarc momcnts ol rcvclation, wc catch a glimpsc ol what lilc was
oncc likc in thc Gardcn ol ¡dcn. Thc cconomy, cvcn il ¡dcn
had bccn irrctricvably lost, could oncc again bccomc ‘‘sophic’’:
what wc must do is find within oursclvcs this hiddcn potcntial
lor pcrlcction and work to resurrect naturc, to cndow it oncc
again with thc lilc and mcaning that it had in Paradisc, and
thus to complctc thc cosmic cyclc ol Fall and Rcsurrcction. !t
was in our powcr to translorm thc world, to bring it to lilc,
to rcturn it to that pcrlcct harmonious cxistcncc in lovc and
labor lrom which Adam and ¡vc wrcnchcd it with thcir sin.
!n 8ulgakov’s vision pcoplc’s rclations to cach othcr, lurthcr-
morc, wcrc dcfincd not by conscnt or contract but implicitly,
by virtuc ol thcir common inspiration and participation in thc
sharcd task ol naturc’s rcsurrcction.
Vhat gavc this vision its powcr was not simply its itcra-
tion ol a cohcrcnt argumcnt against Marxism but thc lact that
it rcstcd on a widcly acccssiblc cultural and rcligious lounda-
tion. For 8ulgakov, this loundation was clcarly and unambigu-
ously Christian. Thc sccond part ol his answcr to Marx was
lormulatcd in a book originally intcndcd as thc sccond vol-
umc ol Philosophy of Economy, S.et ne.echernii |Thc unlading
light| (.o.y): whcrcas Philosophy of Economy stands alonc as an
‘‘ontology ol cconomy,’’ or a study ol thc gcncral loundations
ol thc cconomic proccss, it was S.et ne.echernii that providcd
thc argumcnt advanccd in thc lormcr with ‘‘a particular undcr-
standing ol thc naturc ol thc world and ol man, i.c. a particular
cosmology and anthropology’’: ‘‘Vhat is thc csscncc ol thc
world. Vhat is thc csscncc ol man. Howdo wc undcrstand thc
world, thc ‘transccndcntal objcct’ ol cconomy, and what is man,
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its ‘transccndcntal subjcct’. A particular systcm ol cosmology
and anthropology is implicit in cvcry philosophy ol cconomy,
and this is why wc must bclorc all clsc distinguish and cstab-
lish thc corrcsponding cosmological tcachings as wc study thc
world-vicws which intcrcst us.’’
7
S.et ne.echernii sct out a rcligious and spccifically Òrtho-
dox Christian vision ol thc world that inspircd and supportcd
thc philosophical and political-cconomic cntcrprisc undcrtakcn
in Philosophy of Economy. Yct il 8ulgakov’s own roots wcrc in
Òrthodox Christianity, his social philosophy potcntially had a
morc univcrsal appcal. Thc idca ol thc Ðivinc Visdom was par-
ticularly closc to 8ulgakov bccausc ol its important rolc in thc
Òrthodox (both Grcck and Russian) liturgy and in Òrthodox
iconography; yct its valuc as a social-philosophical conccpt dc-
rivcs, at thc samc timc, lrom its univcrsality. Sophia was much
broadcr than Christianity; it had roots in Gnosticism and ]uda-
ism and parallcls in Platonism (thc Vorld Soul); indccd, thc
scnsc ol clusivc and bcautilul divinity would not bc alicn to a
Muslim or cvcn a 8uddhist.
8ulgakov’s ‘‘sophic cconomy’’ wcnt lurthcr than thc insis-
tcncc on ‘‘individual rights’’ ol his days in libcral politics: thc
ncw social philosophy affirmcd human dignity by attributing
mcaning and crcativity to thc most prosaic ol tasks in our daily
lilc and work. ¡ach lurrow plowcd, cach pagc writtcn, could
potcntially bring thc individual closcr to Sophia. Thc worth
and lulfillmcnt ol cach individual, morcovcr, was augmcntcd by
thc vcry rcassurancc that onc was not alonc but was a partici-
pant, along with onc’s lcllow human bcings, in a largcr, cosmic,
and bcautilul proccss.
8
A numbcr ol striking lcaturcs in this vision ol lilc in socicty
mark Philosophy of Economy as onc ol thc varicty ol original
conccptions that constitutc thc ‘‘modcrnist’’ cntcrprisc. Among
thcm is 8ulgakov’s substitution ol a ‘‘rcsurrcctivc’’ modcl ol
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history—thc Christian cyclc ol Fall and Rcsurrcction—lor thc
lincar ‘‘thcory ol progrcss’’ that hc had so condcmncd in posi-
tivism. For positivism, at lcast in its unadultcratcd vcrsion,
thc goal ol history lay at thc cnd ol a long proccss in which
mankind gradually approachcd, and finally achicvcd, a pcrlcct
world. This basic modcl might includc a Hcgclian clcmcnt ol
rcvolutionary translormation at kcy momcnts ol historical dc-
vclopmcnt. 8ulgakov, instcad, saw human history as a contin-
gcnt proccss, dcvcloping in thc conditions ol a lallcn world.
Although wc must constantly work to rcflcct thc modcl pro-
vidcd by Sophia in our daily cxistcncc, wc havc no guarantcc
that this labor will bring us any closcr to a pcrlcct cxistcncc.
Thc cnd ol thc world will comc, as wc know lrom Scripturc; but
thc rcalization ol thc lilc ol thc luturc agc rcmains ultimatcly
indcpcndcnt ol thc carthly goals ol mankind. Christianity pro-
vidcd 8ulgakov with a mcans lor avoiding thc construction ol
but anothcr utopia: a ‘‘sophic cconomy’’ was not a paradisc to
bc achicvcd on carth but a constantly prcscnt vision inspiring
us to work lor thc rcstoration ol thc harmony ol naturc and
culturc that humanity had lost in thc Fall. This Christian, cs-
chatological philosophy ol history anticipatcs thc usc ol this
samc rcsurrcctivc modcl by thc cxistcntialist philosophcrs, and
particularly Hcidcggcr, whosc notion ol thc ‘‘thrownncss’’ ol
Dasein corrcsponds to 8ulgakov’s dcscription ol history as thc
rcsult ol thc Fall.
Anothcr, rclatcd, csscntial charactcristic ol thc sophic ccon-
omy was its cmphasis on proccss rathcr than on cnds. 8ulgakov,
dcspitc his rcjcction ol cconomic matcrialism as a comprchcn-
sivc vicw ol thc world, bclicvcd that it had discovcrcd an csscn-
tial insight in its cmphasis on labor. !n othcr words, apart lrom
bcing a vision ol socicty, 8ulgakov’s sophic cconomy was also
an cthic—but onc that prcscribcd joylul labor ‘‘in Sophia’’ as an
antidotc to thc grim cking out ol cxistcncc that was so prcva-
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lcnt in lilc and acccptcd as ncccssary by Marxism and othcr
cconomic doctrincs. Sophia’s constant radiant prcscncc could
cndow work with mcaning and bcauty, and thc constant, joy-
lul crcation ol onc’s own lilc gavc mcaning to cxistcncc. Hcrc,
as wcll, 8ulgakov’s thcory rcminds us ol contcmporary wcstcrn
¡uropcan idcas. Spccifically, 8ulgakov’s man, poiscd lor action,
‘‘holding a tool in onc hand and thc flaming torch ol knowl-
cdgc in thc othcr’’ (chaptcr ¡), rccalls nothing so much as Hcnri
8crgson’s activc and intclligcnt subjcct: ‘‘Harncsscd, likc yokcd
oxcn, to a hcavy task, wc lccl thc play ol our musclcs and joints,
thc wcight ol thc plow and thc rcsistancc ol thc soil. To act
and to know that wc arc acting, to comc into touch with rcality
and cvcn to livc it, but only in thc mcasurc in which it con-
ccrns thc work that is bcing accomplishcd and thc lurrow that
is bcing plowcd, such is thc lunction ol human intclligcncc.
Yct a bcncficcnt fluid bathcs us, whcncc wc draw thc vcry lorcc
to labor and to livc. From this occan ol lilc, in which wc arc
immcrscd, wc arc continually drawing somcthing, and wc lccl
that our bcing, or at lcast thc intcllcct that guidcs it, has bccn
lormcd thcrcin by a kind ol local conccntration.’’
9
Thc 8crg-
sonian vision ol a thcory ol knowlcdgc cntircly luscd with a
thcory ol lilc bctrays a nco-Romantic rclutation ol positivism
sharcd with 8ulgakov. Furthcrmorc, Creati.e E.olution (.ocy),
likc Philosophy of Economy, builds on thc pcrccption ol a world
constantly in flux, in which not only thc crcation ol an artis-
tic or intcllcctual gcnius but also thc lilc and labor ol ordinary
pcoplc acquircs crcativc mcaning. Thc 8crgsonian elan .ital,
thc prolound conviction ol a dccpcr mcaning in lilc than pcr-
mittcd by thc ‘‘mcchanism’’ ol positivist, Ðarwinian cvolution-
ary thcory, coincidcs with a similar lcap in 8ulgakov’s thought
lrom strictly philosophical argumcntation to an affirmation ol
thc mcaning and joyousncss ol lilc that hc calls Sophia.
8ut most important, 8ulgakov’s sophic cconomy includcs
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what is pcrhaps thc singlc charactcristic that thc many variants
ol thc modcrnist rcjcction ol positivism had in common: a ncw
attcntion to things bcyond thc matcrial world, an cffort to look
bcyond physical rcality to csscnccs invisiblc to thc nakcd cyc.
!n kccping with this ncw rccognition ol thc ‘‘disparity bctwccn
cxtcrnal rcality and thc intcrnal apprcciation ol that rcality,’’
10
thc ccntral lcaturc ol 8ulgakov’s sophic cconomy, and onc that
complcmcnts its rcjcction ol a lincar conccption ol history and
cmphasis on proccss rathcr than cnds, is its rcplaccmcnt ol a
social thcory—Marx’s—that, likc most social thcorics ol thc
cightccnth and ninctccnth ccnturics, dcscribcd socicty in tcrms
ol cxtcrnal lorms (institutions, classcs, lorms ol govcrnmcnt)
by a vision that instcad strcsscd thc intcrnal contcnt, or ‘‘spirit,’’
ol socicty. 8ulgakov, partly as a rcsult ol disappointmcnt in
thc libcration movcmcnt’s unsucccsslul strugglc to throw off
autocracy and sct up a constitutional lorm ol govcrnmcnt in
.oc¡–.ocy, was by .o.. no longcr intcrcstcd in institutions:
Philosophy of Economy asscrtcd thc socially crcativc and trans-
lormativc powcr ol thc attitudc with which cconomic lilc was
conductcd, rathcr than thc govcrnmcntal lorms it took; Sophia
was potcntially compatiblc with diffcrcnt typcs ol institutions.
Vhat wcnt on in thc mind and soul ol thc individual social and
cconomic actor—thc kho.iain, or proprictor—was as csscntial
a part ol thc cconomic proccss as its ultimatc goals or organi-
zational structurc. !n this scnsc, 8ulgakov’s thcory conlormcd
to thc shilt ol locus ol social thought, charactcristic ol his agc,
lrom ‘‘objcctivc’’ and clcarly visiblc lorms to thc morc ncbu-
lous arca ol subjcctivc motivation. Thc originality ol his work,
howcvcr, lay in his cxplicit idcntification ol this ‘‘only partially
conscious arca’’ as Sophia. Not ‘‘contcnt to dwcll in a twilight
zonc ol suspcndcd judgmcnt—opcn to mctaphysical possibili-
tics, yct wary ol dogmatic asscrtion’’
11
likc his Vcstcrn countcr-
parts, 8ulgakov took thc rcvolt against positivism all thc way—
Introduction ´ z·
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and cndcd up with a modcrnist philosophy that was also dccply
rcligious.
Philosophy of Economy was also a contribution to thc con-
tcmporary ¡uropc-widc dcbatc on thc tasks and limitations ol
social scicncc. !n his discussion ol lrccdom and ncccssity, thc
status ol thc social scicnccs, and thc position ol cconomic ma-
tcrialism as a doctrinc, 8ulgakov madc a casc lor thc bchavior
ol social collcctivitics as distinct lrom, and govcrncd by diffcr-
cnt rulcs than, individual bchavior, whcn Ðurkhcim, Lc8on,
Sorcl, and Parcto wcrc discovcring thc collcctivc as a rcsult ol
thcir particular sociological rcscarch. Ðcspitc its mctaphysical
tonc, Philosophy of Economy, likc thc writings ol thc ¡uropcan
sociologists, was firmly rootcd in concrctc social-scicntific in-
vcstigation: thc rclcvant disciplinc, in thc Russian casc, was
statistics, which, lrom its inccption soon altcr thc cmancipa-
tion ol thc pcasantry in .86., had acquircd a high dcgrcc ol
sophistication and cxtrcmcly broad application in thc Russian
countrysidc. 8ulgakov argucd against his lcllow political ccono-
mists and statisticians, who dcrivcd prcscriptions lor individual
social action—usually rcvolutionary or at lcast radical—lrom
thc rcsults ol statistical studics: Philosophy of Economy was an
cffort to prcscrvc individual lrcc will whilc acccpting thc pic-
turc ol socicty yicldcd by statistical avcragcs and mathcmatical
calculations.
A Pniiosovny ov Livv: 8iic~xov ~xb
)nv Nixv)vvx)n-Cvx)ivy
Rissi~x Pniiosovnic~i Tv~bi)iox
8ulgakov was particularly wcll placcd lor thc rcvolution in
social thought at thc turn ol thc twcnticth ccntury. Vhcn
¡uropcan thinkcrs rcvoltcd against positivism, thcy wcrc in
lact rcjccting ccrtain attitudcs—rationalism, mcchanism, and
zo ´ Introduction
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so on—that had bccn targcts lor attack by a powcrlul tradition
in Russian thought ovcr thc coursc ol thc ninctccnth ccntury.
Positivism had, indccd, bccomc an almost rcligious crcdo lor
thc Russian intclligcntsia in thc .8ycs (ol which Turgcncv’s
8azarov scrvcs as thc classic cmblcm), but it was challcngcd
as carly as .8y± by \ladimir Solovicv, who pcrccivcd a ‘‘crisis
in Vcstcrn philosophy,’’ and spccifically a crisis ol positivism,
twcnty ycars bclorc it actually cruptcd on thc ¡uropcan sccnc.
Following his Romantic prcdcccssors, thc Slavophilcs, Solo-
vicv argucd against thc ‘‘rationalism’’ ol Vcstcrn philosophy
and proposcd that philosophy as abstract, purcly thcorctical
cognition had nothing morc to offcr. Modcrnism’s challcngc
to positivism coincidcd with thc issucs raiscd carlicr by Solo-
vicv and othcr Russian thinkcrs, many ol whom wcrc prcoccu-
picd throughout thc ninctccnth ccntury with thc inadcquacy ol
abstract spcculation and conccrncd with thc problcm ol con-
structing a philosophy that would addrcss lilc instcad ol cn-
closing itscll hcrmctically in an artificial intcllcctual univcrsc
incapablc ol communication with thc outsidc world. Vhcn
8ulgakov challcngcd thc positivist thcory ol progrcss and its
cxccssivc rationalism and intcllcctualism, hc had a rich tradi-
tion on which to draw; thc tcrms in which hc lormulatcd his
notion ol thc sophic cconomy dcpcndcd hcavily on thc cfforts
ol his Russian prcdcccssors.
¡vcry thinkcr or philosophcr lunctions within a particular
cultural and intcllcctual tradition whosc boundarics arc dc-
fincd both subconsciously—by languagc, carly cducation, cul-
tural atmosphcrc—and consciously—by tcachcrs, rcading, and
so lorth. Thc Russian intcllcctual tradition ol thc ninctccnth
ccntury, although dcscribablc in tcrms lamiliar lrom thc history
ol Vcstcrn thought—¡nlightcnmcnt, Romanticism, positiv-
ism, modcrnism—rcmaincd original and indcpcndcnt in thc
manncr in which it assimilatcd and combincd idcas, in thc
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qucstions that it singlcd out as important, thc clcmcnts it in-
scrtcd lrom morc ancicnt Russian or 8yzantinc sourccs, and
its approachcs to thc busincss ol philosophizing itscll. 8y .occ
Russian thought had dcvclopcd a comprchcnsivc vocabulary ol
approachcs and conccpts as csscntially and incxtricably intcr-
wovcn with thc idcas thcy cxprcsscd as, lor cxamplc, acccptancc
and undcrstanding ol thc tcrms sign, signifier, and signified arc
csscntial to a rcading ol contcmporary structuralist philosophy.
Scrgci 8ulgakov was a Russian thinkcr in thc scnsc that his
idcas inscribcd thcmsclvcs in thc intcllcctual tradition that had
takcn shapc in Russia ovcr thc coursc ol thc ninctccnth ccn-
tury; his work can bc mcaninglully intcrprctcd only il clcmcnts
ol this inhcritancc arc takcn into account.
Filosofiia kho.iaist.a, or Philosophy of Economy, was prcmiscd
on an intcraction ol two disciplincs: 8ulgakov bclicvcd that
philosophy and political cconomy cxistcd in artificial isolation
and that insights lrom cach disciplinc could productivcly bc
brought to bcar on thc othcr. 8ulgakov sought simultancously
to construct a thcory ol socicty, or political cconomy, that
placcd thc inncr rclation and intcraction ol man and naturc,
subjcct and objcct (a conccrn ol idcalist philosophy) at its ccn-
tcr, and to introducc a ncw cpistcmological principlc, borrowcd
lrom political cconomy—namcly, labor—into thc disciplinc ol
philosophy propcr. This dual dcfinition ol filosofiia kho.iaist.a
dcpcndcd in part on languagc. Kho.iaist.o in Russian mcans
both ‘‘cconomy’’ and ‘‘houschold.’’ Kho.iaist.o as ‘‘cconomy’’
rclcrs not mcrcly to attributcs ol cconomic lilc propcr—GNP,
budgct, intcrcst ratcs, taxcs—but to lilc in socicty morc gcncr-
ally; a nation’s cconomy has connotations ol thc lilc ol a giant
houschold. Kho.iaist.o, lurthcrmorc, is not a static tcrm, lor
it rclcrs cqually to thc process ol cconomic activity or ol lilc
in socicty. Thc notion ol filosofiia kho.iaist.a, playing on thcsc
various possibilitics, cvokcs an cntirc ficld ol shilting mcan-
z8 ´ Introduction
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ings that 8ulgakov articulatcs in accordancc with various spc-
cific contcxts and that, takcn as a wholc, comprisc a compositc
conccptual imagc. Vc rcconstruct thc contcnt ol Philosophy of
Economy lrom 8ulgakov’s various uscs ol thc tcrm: filosofiia kho-
.iaist.a sccks to undcrstand thc world as thc objcct ol labor,
12
it addrcsscs thc problcm ol man and naturc,
13
it is ‘‘oricntcd’’ on
thc lact ol cconomy,
14
it is an cpistcmological basis ol political
cconomy,
15
it is a continuation ol Schclling’s Naturphilosophie,
16
and in a conscious play on thc Kantian inquiry into knowlcdgc,
it poscs thc qucstion, ‘‘How is cconomy possiblc.’’
17
Thc rcsult ol thcsc shilting scmantic uscs is morc than a
mcrc rhctorical imagc. !nstcad, it is a lully indcpcndcnt conccpt
that rcflccts a dominant conccrn ol Russian ninctccnth-ccntury
philosophy: 8ulgakov, likc many ol his prcdcccssors, was con-
ccrncd abovc all with constructing a worldvicw that addrcsscd
thc rcal conccrns ol our lilc in thc world, that trcatcd human
bcings as activc crcaturcs, intcracting with thc world around
thcm. Vhat 8ulgakov tcrmcd an intcraction ol thc disciplincs
ol philosophy and political cconomy was a rcstatcmcnt ol Rus-
sian philosophy’s prcoccupation with lilc, a lcar ol thcorics con-
structcd in thc comlort ol thc philosophcr’s study and having
no rcal application: bringing thc conccrns ol political cconomy
to philosophy was a mcans ol introducing thc rcalitics ol labor,
wcalth, and povcrty into an othcrwisc mcaninglcssly abstract
intcllcctual cxcrcisc. 8oth 8ulgakov’s cmphasis on thc inncr rc-
lation, or ‘‘spirit,’’ ol thc intcraction ol man and naturc—which,
as wc havc sccn, rclutcs Vcstcrn political cconomy’s (including
Marx’s) cmphasis on cxtcrnal lorms ol social structurc—and
his conccrn with intcgrating philosophy and political cconomy
in a singlc thcory ol socicty rcflcctcd a rcjcction ol rational-
ism and abstract intcllcctual activity with dccp roots in Russian
intcllcctual history. Spccifically, in placing thc problcm ol man
and naturc at thc ccntcr ol his vicw ol socicty, 8ulgakov gavc
Introduction ´ zo
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voicc to a major but somctimcs implicit conccrn ol Russian
philosophy, which had absorbcd a prcoccupation with man’s rc-
lation to thc world around him lrom Gcrman Romanticism. At
thc samc timc, 8ulgakov’s locus on thc inncr spirit lollowcd a
Russian tradition ol conccrn with organicism and wholcncss.
Finally, in sccking to makc labor, or activity, into an cpistc-
mological principlc, 8ulgakov continucd Russian philosophy’s
disdain lor ‘‘armchair philosophcrs’’ passivcly cnsconccd in thc
salcty ol thcir study: philosophy must cngagc with lilc and is
ol intcrcst only insolar as it hclps us undcrstand and cvcntually
translorm thc world.
Vhcn 8ulgakov lormulatcd his vicw ol socicty in tcrms ol a
rclation bctwccn man and naturc, hc was cxplicitly rcitcrating
and posing ancw a ccntral qucstion ol Gcrman Romantic phi-
losophy; at thc samc timc hc was also lollowing a pattcrn ol
Russian thought, cstablishcd by thc Slavophilcs, that distrustcd
cxccssivc rationalism and idcntificd with thc Romantic pocts
and philosophcrs who had rcbcllcd against thc ¡nlightcnmcnt’s
prcoccupation with rcason and conccntration on thc workings
ol thc human mind at thc cxpcnsc ol thc lorccs ol naturc.
8ulgakov was bothcrcd by thc problcm ol accounting lor thc
cxistcncc ol a world outsidc thc thinking scll, a problcm hc cx-
prcsscd somctimcs as that ol thc rclation ol man and naturc and
somctimcs as that ol thc rclation ol subjcct and objcct.
8ulgakov’s nco-Romanticism, that is, his conscious rcpcti-
tion ol thc Romantic problcm ol subjcct and objcct, man and
naturc, appcalcd abovc all to thc writings ol Schclling, spc-
cifically to his System of Transcendental Idealism couplcd with
thc Naturphilosophie. Likc his lcllow Romantics, Schclling was
conccrncd with thc lundamcntal problcm ol thc rclation ol thc
scll to thc cxtcrnal world. Schclling objcctcd to thc narrow
limits Kant had imposcd on his invcstigation ol knowlcdgc and
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sought to cxpand transccndcntal idcalism until it bccamc what
it ought to bc—a gcncral systcm ol knowlcdgc. Schclling, un-
likc his prcdcccssor and tcachcr Fichtc, trcatcd thc scll and thc
cxtcrnal world with cqual scriousncss. Vhcrcas Fichtc had ‘‘rc-
solvcd’’ thc problcm ol subjcct and objcct by making thc non-!
a projcction ol thc !, Schclling approachcd thc samc qucstion
by constructing two simultancous and complcmcntary systcms.
Thc first, thc Naturphilosophie, took thc objcct—naturc—as a
givcn and sought to cxplain its rclation to thc subjcct. Through
rcflcction, naturc ultimatcly bccamc its own objcct, as man’s
study ol it cndowcd naturc with rcason. Convcrscly, transccn-
dcntal idcalism—thc sccond part ol Schclling’s philosophical
systcm—bcgan with thc subjcct and sought to cxplain how it
was conncctcd with thc objcct. !n othcr words, transccndcn-
tal idcalism was an cffort to justily our basic pcrccption that
thcrc arc things which cxist outsidc oursclvcs. Thc problcm ol
thc rclation bctwccn subjcct and objcct pcrmcatcs Schclling’s
writings, lor hc considcrcd thc cxplanation ol thc coincidcncc
ol subjcctivc and objcctivc as thc basic task ol philosophy.
Thc ‘‘Romantic attitudc’’ pcrmcatcd much ol ninctccnth-
ccntury Russian poctry, prosc, and philosophy, and cvcn thc
way ol lilc ol many intcllcctuals, particularly in thc sccond
quartcr ol thc ccntury—during thc rcign ol Nicholas !. Russian
thinkcrs did not participatc in thc initial cmcrgcncc ol Roman-
ticism: Romantic thought and litcraturc flowcrcd latc on Rus-
sian soil, but intcnscly and ovcr a vcry long pcriod. !n a lamous
passagc in My Past and Thoughts, Alcxandcr Hcrzcn dcscribcs
an cxaltcd atmosphcrc in which ‘‘pcoplc who adorcd cach othcr
bccamc cstrangcd lor cntirc wccks bccausc thcy could not agrcc
on a dcfinition ol ‘transccndcntal spirit,’ wcrc pcrsonally ol-
lcndcd by opinions about ‘absolutc pcrsonality’ and ‘bcing in
itscll,’ ’’ and ‘‘thc most worthlcss tracts ol Gcrman philosophy
that camc out ol 8crlin and othcr provincial towns and vil-
Introduction ´ :z
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lagcs, in which thcrc was any mcntion ol Hcgcl, wcrc writtcn
lor and rcad to shrcds—till thcy camc out in ycllow stains, till
pagcs droppcd out altcr a lcw days.’’
18
Attitudcs lrom worship
ol crcativc gcnius to lovc ol naturc to blisslul immcrsion in mo-
mcnts ol insight or sharpcncd pcrccption had thcir origin in a
Romanticism thoroughly assimilatcd and bccomc a way ol lilc.
Russian thinkcrs ol thc mid-ninctccnth ccntury did not,
in contrast to 8ulgakov, addrcss thc subjcct-objcct problcm
cxplicitly; instcad, thcy absorbcd Romanticism’s basic anti-
¡nlightcnmcnt spirit so that, in thc tcachings ol thc Slavo-
philcs, it turncd into a distrust and antipathy lor rationalism
in gcncral. For thcm, thc qucstion ol thc cxtcrnal world was
lcss a philosophical problcm than a lundamcntal attitudc: thcy
had no paticncc lor abstract spcculation and turncd abovc all
to mattcrs with social or practical implications. Thc critiquc ol
rationalism bccamc a dominant thcmc ol Slavophilc thought.
!nstcad ol sccing thc ¡nlightcnmcnt’s cmphasis on thc
thinking subjcct as a problcm philosophy was ablc to solvc, thc
Slavophilcs pcrccivcd unduc conccntration on thc subjcct as a
symptom ol a broadcr ‘‘crisis ol rationalism’’ that had struck
all ol Vcstcrn thought, including Romanticism. Vcstcrn phi-
losophy, argucd Kirccvsky, had cxhaustcd thc rational principlc.
‘‘For, whcn a man dcnics any authority cxccpt his own abstract
rcasoning, thcn can hc go bcyond a world vicw in which thc
cntirc cxistcncc ol thc world appcars to him as a transparcnt
dialcctic ol his own rcason, and his own rcason as thc scll-
consciousncss ol univcrsal bcing.’’
19
Vcstcrn philosophy was
at a dcad cnd, lor its cxccssivc rationalism prcvcntcd it lrom
addrcssing thc problcm ol thc world outsidc thc thinking scll.
This antirationalist lramc ol mind to a largc dcgrcc cxplains
thc appcal ol Schclling, ol all Romantic philosophcrs, to cdu-
catcd Russian socicty. Schclling could at thc vcry lcast bc crcd-
itcd with having pcrccivcd thc bankruptcy ol Vcstcrn ratio-
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nalism, and il Hcgcl rcprcscntcd thc apogcc ol rationalism or
intcllcctualism, Schclling was thc solc Vcstcrn thinkcr to havc
crcatcd a loundation on which Russian thought could build.
Schclling’s acsthcticism and rcligious scnsc, and abovc all his
uncomlortablcncss with a philosophy confincd to thc rcalm ol
rcason and purcly abstract spcculation, madc him arguably thc
most significant Romantic thinkcr lor Russian idcas in thc
ninctccnth ccntury.
20
This was a tradition that 8ulgakov lol-
lowcd in constructing his indictmcnt ol unduc ‘‘intcllcctualism’’
in Vcstcrn philosophy and in locusing his inquiry on thc rc-
lation ol man and naturc—or ol man and thc world around
him.
8ulgakov cmphasizcd thc inner rclation ol man and naturc,
thc ‘‘spirit’’ ol a particular cconomic systcm, in contrast to thc
cxtcrnal lorms ol social organization that gcncrally lorm thc
substancc ol Vcstcrn social thcory. !n doing so, hc adoptcd a
no lcss dccply rootcd attitudc ol Russian thought. Òncc again
it was thc Slavophilcs who, in a lusion ol thc Romantic pcn-
chant lor organicity with principlcs ol Òrthodox Christian thc-
ology, statcd that inncr lorm and spirit wcrc morc csscntial
catcgorics than thc abstract, logical, cxtcrnal lactors ol institu-
tions or typcs ol govcrnmcnt—and that it had lallcn to Russia,
as opposcd to thc corrupt and rationalizcd Vcst, to dcvclop this
principlc and to cxprcss it lor thc bcncfit ol humanity.
For thc Slavophilcs, cxtcrnal social lorms, most particularly
thc dominant autocratic lorm ol govcrnmcnt in thc Russia ol
thcir timc, wcrc ol mcrcly sccondary importancc. Thc lorcign
travclcr in Russia, lor cxamplc, would bc likcly to pcrccivc thc
burcaucratic and administrativc structurcs that wcrc actually
quitc supcrficial and ol littlc import to thc manncr in which
lilc was actually cxpcricnccd.
21
Vhat was important about Rus-
sian socicty, lor thc Slavophilcs, was not its cxtcrnal lorms—
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most particularly autocracy. Vcstcrn ¡uropcan socictics, thcy
suggcstcd, wcrc bascd on violcncc and on a lormality ol pcr-
sonal rclations, and social lilc was limitcd to a battlc ol partics
and intcrcsts; thc csscncc ol Russian lilc, in contrast, could bc
lound in a dccpcr community bascd on truc Christianity. Thc
crucial lcaturcs ol Russian socicty wcrc thc organicity and com-
munal agrccmcnt that did not ncccssarily strikc a bcholdcr who
ncvcr lookcd bcyond cxtcrnal structurcs.
Thus Slavophilc thought turncd to such mattcrs as lamily
rclations, thc pcasant communc, and thc church instcad ol thc
qucstions ol administrativc organization, typcs ol govcrnmcnt,
and distribution ol powcr lamiliar to Vcstcrn social thcory.
Thc distinction—cntircly takcn lor grantcd, cspccially in social
thought ol thc \ictorian cra—bctwccn thc ‘‘privatc’’ and thc
‘‘public’’ sphcrcs did not cxist lor thc Slavophilcs: instcad thcy
articulatcd in thcir writings thc axiom that how onc conductcd
oncscll in daily lilc was an cxprcssion ol a social and political
attitudc.
This cmphasis on intcrnal social structurcs took its cuc si-
multancously lrom thc antihicrarchical thcological principlcs ol
Russian Òrthodoxy and lrom an organicism charactcristic ol
Romanticism. Spccifically, it lound powcrlul cxprcssion in thc
conccpt ol sobornost’—articulatcd most influcntially by Alcxci
Khomiakov and adoptcd by subscqucnt thinkcrs including 8ul-
gakov. Sobornost’—litcrally, thc ‘‘conciliar’’ principlc—stood lor
‘‘an association in lovc, lrccdom, and truth ol Christian bclicv-
crs, which Khomiakov considcrcd thc csscncc ol Òrthodoxy.’’
22
Sobornost’ mcant, on onc hand, community and wholcncss; as
8ulgakov rcmarkcd, cmphasis on thc collcctivity, on humanity
as a wholc, had bccomc a ‘‘distinguishing charactcristic’’ ol
Russian thought.
23
As summarizcd conciscly in a quotation
lrom Kirccvsky that Khomiakov placcd in Kirccvsky’s obituary,
thc Slavophilcs argucd that ‘‘rationality and division constitutc
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thc basic charactcr ol all ol Vcstcrn civilization. Vholcncss
and wisdom constitutc thc charactcr ol that civilizing principlc
which, by God’s gracc, was laid at thc loundation ol our |Rus-
sian| intcllcctual lilc.’’
24
Rcmarkably, on thc othcr hand, thc
valuc ol sobornost’ was that this vcry scnsc ol community and
wholcncss actually pcrmittcd thc lull dcvclopmcnt ol an indi-
.idual ’s intcgral pcrsonality as opposcd to thc onc-sidcd cm-
phasis cncouragcd by a rationalistic socicty prcoccupicd with
cxtcrnal lorms, partics, and intcrcsts. Thc Òrthodox Church,
and conscqucntly a socicty in which it playcd a major rolc, con-
sistcd ol a community ol individual bclicvcrs, cach ol whom
had a part both in thc organizational lilc ol thc church and in
thc lormulation ol dogma. Sobornost’, in othcr words, implicd
a participatory vision ol church and socicty, in contrast to onc
in which an ccclcsiastical hicrarchy had a monopoly ovcr thc
population’s bclicl and daily lilc.
25
Thc lusion and mutual rcinlorccmcnt ol thc individual and
thc community in thc notion ol sobornost’ struck a dclicatc bal-
ancc. Ònc ol thc most colorlul, and prccarious, cxprcssions ol
thc principlc bclongs to anothcr Slavophilc, Konstantin Aksa-
kov, in a dcscription ol thc villagc communc that was to cap-
tivatc and influcncc many Russian thinkcrs cvcn altcr Stolypin
abolishcd thc institution in .oco:
A communc is a union ol thc pcoplc who havc rc-
nounccd thcir cgoism, thcir individuality, and who
cxprcss thcir common accord; this is an act ol lovc,
a noblc Christian act, which cxprcsscs itscll morc
or lcss clcarly in its various othcr manilcstations. A
communc thus rcprcscnts a moral choir, and just as
in a choir a voicc is not lost, but lollows thc gcncral
pattcrn and is hcard in thc harmony ol all voiccs:
so in thc communc thc individual is not lost, but
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rcnounccs his cxclusivcncss in lavor ol a gcncral ac-
cord—and thcrc ariscs thc noblc phcnomcnon ol a
harmonious, joint cxistcncc ol rational bcings (con-
sciousncsscs); thcrc ariscs a brothcrhood, a com-
munc—a triumph ol thc human spirit.
26
Thc lack ol tcnsion bctwccn thc individual and thc collcc-
tivc in thc notion ol sobornost’, thc scnsc that thc individual
pcrsonality could find lull cxprcssion only in intcraction with
a largcr community, marks 8ulgakov’s philosophy as wcll: thc
Slavophilc stylc ol thought lics at thc basis ol his lormulations.
!n 8ulgakov’s Christian cconomy, thc ‘‘transccndcntal subjcct’’
ol thc cconomic proccss is humanity as a wholc, rathcr than
individual pcrsons: what is rcmarkablc in 8ulgakov’s vision is
that hc sccks to affirm and prcscrvc human dignity prcciscly
by inscribing thc daily activity ol individual human bcings in
a proccss that unitcs thcm with thcir lcllows. This cocxistcncc
ol individual and community is surprising lrom thc pcrspcc-
tivc ol Vcstcrn social philosophy, in which thc opposition ol
individual rights and thc claims ol thc collcctivity arc virtually
axiomatic. 8ulgakov’s solution to thc ‘‘dcification’’ ol collcc-
tivc humanity and sacrificc ol thc individual hc had pcrccivcd
in Marxism was morc intcrcsting than a mcrc proclamation
ol thc primacy ol individual valucs: his Christian cconomy
locuscd attcntion on thc individual’s motivation, yct prcscrvcd
human bcings’ bclonging and participation in a largcr human
community.
Yct a third aspcct ol 8ulgakov’s philosophy—namcly, his
cffort to introducc labor as an cpistcmological principlc lor phi-
losophy—givcs cxprcssion to a charactcristic attitudc ol Rus-
sian thought. 8ulgakov argucd that, in thc labor thcory ol
valuc, Marxism had discovcrcd a principlc that, il applicd to
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philosophy, could potcntially ovcrcomc thc stcrility and un-
duc conccntration on thc thinking subjcct that hc pcrccivcd in
contcmporary nco-Kantianism. 8y proposing labor as a philo-
sophical principlc, 8ulgakov mcant that wc, as philosophcrs,
must look at thc process ol man’s lilc in the .orld as thc starting
point ol philosophy, and hc proposcd a lundamcntal pcrccp-
tion ol man as an activc, working crcaturc.
27
At first glancc,
this approach sccms to originatc in thc Christian tcndcncy to
cmphasizc lilc as thc most lundamcntal catcgory ol thought
or cxpcricncc, and indccd 8ulgakov’s vcry lormulation ol his
insistcncc that ‘‘thought is born ol lilc’’ dcpcnds hcavily on
Christian philosophy and imagcry.
28
Yct thc insistcncc on thc
primacy ol lilc also coincidcs with thc attitudc ol a strong and
cntircly un-Christian currcnt in Russian thought, lormulatcd
most powcrlully by Nikolai Chcrnyshcvsky and cxprcsscd by
numcrous lollowcrs, that constitutcd an csscntial componcnt ol
thc psychc ol a thinkcr who, altcr all, had bcgun his carccr as a
mcmbcr ol thc radical intclligcntsia.
!n thc .86cs Ðmitri Pisarcv scandalizcd public opinion by
maintaining that a pair ol boots was supcrior in valuc to thc
works ol Shakcspcarc. Chcrnyshcvsky lormalizcd this statc-
mcnt and madc it into a crccd ol thc radical intclligcntsia. 8or-
rowing lrom thc utilitarianism ol Mill and 8cntham, as wcll
as lrom Comtcan positivism, thc ‘‘mcn ol thc sixtics’’ postu-
latcd thc ultimatc scicntific cxplicability ol man and human
socicty and thc possibility, bascd on this knowlcdgc, ol a ratio-
nal rcordcring ol socicty to thc mutual bcncfit ol its mcm-
bcrs. !ncxtricablc lrom this basic approach was thc bclicl that
both natural scicncc and art wcrc ultimatcly subordinatc to lilc.
Chcrnyshcvsky’s thcory ol ‘‘rational cgoism’’ bcgan by claim-
ing thc possibility ol undcrstanding man as a wholc through
undcrstanding him as a physical organism and cndcd by main-
taining that thc standard by which human actions must bc
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judgcd was thc bcncfit thcy brought. His complcmcntary acs-
thctic philosophy positcd that ‘‘art is lilc,’’ in othcr words, that
bcauty was that which rcflcctcd lilc most pcrlcctly. His argu-
mcnt concludcd with an asscrtion ol thc complctc dcpcndcncc
ol acsthctics on social rcality and his complcmcntary cvaluation
ol art solcly in tcrms ol its utility. Chcrnyshcvsky’s cxtrcmcly
influcntial novcl !hat Is to Be Done®, which bccamc thc hand-
book ol Russian radicals, was a litcrary modcl lor thc total
structuring ol lilc according to rational principlcs ol womcn’s
cquality and thc socialist organization ol labor: thc translor-
mation ol socicty would takc placc through thc translormation
ol pcrsonal, scxual, and working lilc, and thc cmcrging ‘‘ncw
pcoplc’’ would bc its instrumcnt.
29
8ulgakov sharcd with his prcdcccssors among thc radical in-
tclligcntsia thcir oricntation towards lilc rathcr than abstract
acsthctic or philosophical contcmplation. Thc positioning ol
lilc ovcr art implicd a prcscriptivc stancc, lully assimilatcd by
8ulgakov. Likc Chcrnyshcvsky’s novcl, Philosophy of Economy is
an answcr to thc qucstion, Vhat is to bc donc., and though
8ulgakov’s rcsponsc diffcrs dramatically lrom Chcrnyshcvsky’s,
and cvcn morc lrom that givcn by Lcnin in his composition ol
thc samc titlc, his thought sharcs with thcsc two countrymcn’s
thc prcscriptivc clcmcnt implicit in any philosophy that placcs
action (or labor) at thc vcry loundation ol thought.
Russian philosophy oltcn strikcs thc Vcstcrn rcadcr as
flawcd or at lcast pcculiar: as ! havc tricd to show in 8ulga-
kov’s casc, this imprcssion rcsults lrom Russian thinkcrs’ usc ol
idcas and conccpts lamiliar in Vcstcrn thought but discusscd
in unlamiliar combinations and contcxts. Russian intcllcctual
history docs not—likc, lor cxamplc, Chincsc philosophy—pro-
cccd lrom cntircly diffcrcnt assumptions and cntircly diffcrcnt
sourccs than Vcstcrn thought; instcad, it is prcmiscd on an
:8 ´ Introduction
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intcrplay ol clcmcnts lrom Vcstcrn philosophy with pcculiarly
Russian conccrns and idcas, with thc rcsult that intcllcctual
currcnts that might bc mutually contradictory in somc Vcst-
crn countrics—lor cxamplc, Marxism and nco-Kantianism, or
Ðccadcncc and Christianity—oltcn cocxist in a happy symbio-
sis. Philosophy of Economy is constructcd, lollowing this pattcrn,
on a lruitlul intcraction ol thc conccrns ol thc ¡uropcan rcvolt
against positivism with antirationalist, ‘‘lilc-oricntcd’’ clcmcnts
ol a spccifically Russian intcllcctual tradition. Thc rcsult is an
original, Christian. and modcrnist vision ol socicty that locuscs
on thc inncr spirit ol lilc in socicty rathcr than on institutions
or cxtcrnal lorms and that prcscribcs an cthic ol activc and joy-
lul labor ‘‘in Sophia’’ as a substitutc lor thc Goldcn Agc, thc
paradisc on carth that was thc pathos ol thc Marxist vision.
8ulgakov’s social philosophy grcw out ol thc samc con-
ccrns that animatcd Vcstcrn libcrals: thc cffort to implcmcnt
Vcstcrn-stylc libcralism and parliamcntarism in Russia bc-
twccn .oc± and .ocy. For a varicty ol rcasons, howcvcr, 8ul-
gakov loundcd thc rcspcct lor thc individual that hc sharcd
with thcsc thinkcrs on a diffcrcnt basis—rcligion. Thcrclorc
thc notion ol human dignity bccamc thc ccntcr ol 8ulgakov’s
philosophy—a conccpt that might bc considcrcd ‘‘dccpcr’’ or at
lcast diffcrcnt lrom classic libcralism’s locus on thc rights ol thc
individual. Thc rcsult is potcntially productivc lor thc thcory
ol libcralism itscll. 8ulgakov’s philosophy capturcs clcmcnts
missing or lost lrom Vcstcrn libcralism: it ‘‘rc-Christianizcs’’ a
tradition that oncc had roots in cvangclical Christianity; it cap-
turcs a scnsc ol inspiration and crcativity as an csscntial aspcct
ol social and cconomic lilc; by appcaling to thc Russian philo-
sophical tradition, it achicvcs a comlortablc synthcsis ol thc
individual and thc collcctivity (onc ol thc grcatcst difficultics
lor Vcstcrn thought). 8ulgakov’s philosophy was lormulatcd
within thc contcxt ol Vcstcrn thought and Òrthodox Chris-
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tianity: it nccds to bc intcgratcd back into thcsc two traditions.
Somc ol thc problcms with 8ulgakov’s vision arc obvious: a
social thcory, altcr all, that docs not addrcss social and govcrn-
mcntal structurcs must, takcn in isolation, provc inadcquatc to
thc task ol proposing a viablc social systcm. Yct in thc Vcst,
whcrc institutions arc firmly in placc, a cohcrcnt philosophical
articulation ol thc rolc that dignity, crcativity, ‘‘inncr spirit,’’
and community play as lactors in cconomic lilc can usclully
complcmcnt libcral social and cconomic thcory.
Thc history ol Philosophy of Economy as a tcxt rcflccts thc
largcr story ol Russian rcligious philosophy. Thc book was
widcly rcad and discusscd among cducatcd Russians in thc first
ycars altcr its publication, but it was crascd lrom thc public
consciousncss as thc acsthctic and social utopias ol thc 8ol-
shcvik Rcvolution crowdcd out such non-Marxist and anti-
Marxist philosophics, to bc rcborn in a wavc ol popularity that
grcctcd Silvcr Agc philosophy and litcraturc as thc Sovict sys-
tcm collapscd. 8ulgakov’s work has acquircd a ncw immcdiacy
in rcccnt ycars: thc rccvaluation and ultimatcly thc complctc
rcjcction ol Marxism by a significant part ol thc Russian in-
tclligcntsia adumbratcd, in microcosm, thc similar cvolution ol
Sovict socicty as a wholc that is taking placc today. 8ulgakov’s
rcligious philosophy is rcprcscntativc ol a school ol thought—
onc including 8crdiacv, Frank, Florcnsky, Shcstov, Gcrshcn-
zon, and othcrs—that sought to articulatc thc philosophical
bascs on which Russian socicty rcstcd and that has bccomc
a crucial point ol oricntation as Russia rcdcfincs its idcntity.
Thc particular lorcc ol 8ulgakov’s social philosophy, so lar as
Russia is conccrncd, is that it brings togcthcr rcligion—in thc
lorm ol an cthic affirming human dignity—and a thcory ol kho-
.iaist.o, or cconomic lilc. His vision ol history as a cyclc ol
Fall and Rcsurrcction, dcath and rcbirth, rcflccts a vcry dccp
¸c ´ Introduction
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thcmc ol thc Russian cultural consciousncss. ¡vcn thc spccific
lorm takcn by this thcmc in his work—namcly, thc rcsurrcction
ol naturc through thc labor ol man as proprictor (kho.iain)—
was an important conccrn in Russian thought and art not only
in his own timc
30
but wcll into thc .o:cs (pcrhaps thc most
intcrcsting cxamplc is thc work ol Andrci Platonov). At thc
samc timc, his dcscription ol cconomic lilc as kho.iaist.o, as
thc lilc ol a largc houschold, amounts to thc clcarcst philo-
sophical articulation ol a modc ol cconomic cxistcncc that in
thc .oocs bccamc charactcristic ol thc managcmcnt ol Rus-
sia’s citics, larms, and cntcrpriscs. 8ulgakov’s sophic cconomy
is among thc idcas that can providc matcrial lor discussion in
thc prcscnt rccvaluation ol idcologics and institutions, a rc-
cvaluation that involvcs philosophical rcoricntation as wcll as
a rcstructuring ol markcts, propcrty rights, lcgal norms, and
political and administrativc institutions.
!n gcncral, ! havc bccn guidcd by my dcsirc to makc this book
a tcxt that is useful lor thc contcmporary rcadcr. 8ulgakov’s
points ol rclcrcncc includc works that havc bccomc standard
ovcr thc past ccntury and thosc that havc rcccdcd into obliv-
ion. Thc lormcr includc various tcxts ol Aristotlc, Ðcscartcs,
Lcibniz, Kant, Fichtc, Hcgcl, Schclling, Marx, and 8crgson.
!n cach ol thcsc cascs ! havc tricd to updatc 8ulgakov’s notcs
by citing casily availablc modcrn cditions, rathcr than thc origi-
nals or obscurc Russian translations uscd by 8ulgakov. Òthcr
widcly rcad thinkcrs ol thc ninctccnth ccntury such as ¡rncst
Häckcl, Thomas 8ucklc, ¡duard von Hartmann, or Adolphc
Òuétclct—cqually a part ol 8ulgakov’s worldvicw—now nccd
to bc cxplaincd; ! havc donc so in thc glossary ol namcs at thc
cnd ol thc tcxt, whilc citing, usually, thc samc cditions that
wcrc availablc to 8ulgakov.
Introduction ´ ¸z
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! would likc to thank Gary Saul Morson lor his cnthusiasm
lor this projcct. ! am also gratclul to Hubcrtus ]ahn lor chcck-
ing my translations lrom thc Gcrman; to Chris Monika lor his
hclp with thc glossary; and to ]anc Zanichkowsky lor cditing
thc manuscript.
!ashington, D.C.
¸: ´ Introduction
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Pniiosovny ov ¡coxo:y
Thc Vorld as Houschold
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Pvvv~cv
! do not intcnd to justily thc topic ol thc prcscnt invcstigation
in thcsc lincs, lor ! bclicvc that it spcaks lor itscll and rcquircs
no particular justification. !t is not, ol coursc, lor thc author
to judgc how wcll hc has comc to tcrms with his task, and thc
impcrlcctions ol its cxccution arc cvidcnt cnough to mc. ! havc
no doubt only ol onc thing—ol thc immcnsc significancc ol thc
problcm itscll, to which, ! am convinccd, thc tomorrow il not
thc today ol philosophy must bclong. To comprchcnd thc world
as thc objcct ol labor and cconomic action is a task to which
cconomism, criticism, pragmatism, and mysticism cqually lcad
us. And ! attributc immcasurably morc significancc to posing
this qucstion than to any givcn cffort to rcsolvc it. !n thc dcvcl-
opmcnt ol philosophical thought thc posing ol problcms and
thcir rccognition gcncrally plays a primary rolc; this is what
providcs thc impulsc lor philosophical crcativity and dcfincs its
thcmcs.
For thc author, thc prcscnt study also has spccial signifi-
cancc, lor it draws up thc balancc ol an cntirc pcriod ol lilc
influcnccd by cconomic matcrialism, and it is thc dcbt ol thc
author’s philosophical conscicncc in rclation to his own past.
Thc lact ol cconomy always arouscd philosophical ‘‘surprisc’’ in
mc, and thc problcm ol thc philosophy ol cconomy—ol man in
naturc and naturc in man—has in lact ncvcr lclt my spiritual
horizon but only turncd about to show various aspccts.
1
Thc
initial cffort to makc scnsc ol this lact was lor mc thc thcory ol
cconomic matcrialism with various critical amcndmcnts. And
although this thcory quickly ccascd satislying my conscious-
¸·
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ncss, as thc pcrccptions ol childhood ccasc to satisly it, yct thc
qucstions that it answcrs in its own way havc rctaincd all thcir
lorcc. Vc cannot simply turn away lrom thc problcm ol cco-
nomic matcrialism in thc namc ol abstract ‘‘idcalism’’ (as do
thosc who turn ‘‘back to Kant,’’ or thosc who ‘‘combinc’’ Kant
with Marx), lor such ‘‘idcalism’’ docs not contain any answcr to
this problcm but mcrcly lcavcs it outsidc its attcntion.
Thc problcm ol cconomy is takcn in thc prcscnt invcstiga-
tion in a triplc dimcnsion simultancously: scicntific-cmpirical,
transccndcntal-critical, and mctaphysical. And such a mcans
ol invcstigation is not dctcrmincd by thc whim ol thc author
but suggcstcd by thc vcry csscncc ol thc mattcr. For thc samc
thing that, in thc cmpirical sphcrc, constitutcs thc objcct ol
‘‘cxpcricncc’’ and poscs problcms lor scicncc, constitutcs thc
construction ol a ‘‘transccndcntal subjcct’’ whcn rcgardcd lrom
thc standpoint ol cognitivc lorms, and, finally, dcsccnds dccp
into thc mctaphysical soil with its ontological roots. This hicr-
archy ol problcms opcncd bclorc mc ol itscll in thc coursc
ol invcstigation, as it grcw dccpcr. !nitially, in thc cffort to
makc scnsc ol thc lact ol cconomy, it was most natural to turn
to thc science about cconomy (political cconomy), which con-
structs a particular branch ol scicntific ‘‘cxpcricncc’’ lrom thc
phcnomcna ol cconomic rcality. Yct in doing so it rcmains dcal
and blind to cvcrything that transccnds thc boundarics ol this
cxpcricncc. !t isolatcs but onc particular sidc ol thc problcm ol
cconomy. !t is, ol coursc, corrcct within thc limits ol its par-
ticular tasks, but it would bc tcrribly myopic, having cquatcd
thc wholc with its part, to limit thc thcory ol cconomy to its
phcnomcnology. 8cyond thcsc boundarics thc invcstigation ol
our qucstion incvitably lalls into thc sphcrc ol gcncral philoso-
phy. To scnsc thc boundarics ol phcnomcnology by rcvcaling
scicncc’s logical schcmatism is thc task ol critical philosophy,
ol ‘‘critical idcalism,’’ which hcrc plays an irrcplaccablc rolc,
¸o ´ Preface
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lrccing us lrom thc hypnosis ol scicntific cmpiricism; and who-
cvcr has oncc cxpcricnccd its libcrating action will always rc-
main gratclul to critical idcalism, cvcn il hc docs not acccpt
thc critical 8catricc lor thc ‘‘bcautilul lady’’ ol philosophy. 8ut
critical idcalism rcmains powcrlcss bclorc thc problcm ol ccon-
omy in its csscncc: hcrc thc purcly thcorctical, schcmatizing
naturc ol critical philosophy, with its incapacity lor rcalism,
shows itscll most clcarly. Hcncc critical idcalism dccisivcly ap-
pcals to mctaphysics—to ontology and to natural philosophy,
whcrc thc problcm ol thc philosophy ol cconomy ultimatcly
cnds up. Thus, this vcry action rcalizcs thc conncction ol phi-
losophy and scicncc that is postulatcd in thcory, and it sccms
to mc that this can bc mutually bcncficial. Social scicncc is un-
doubtcdly in nccd ol a productivc tic with philosophy, in ordcr
to copc, with its hclp, with thc inncr disintcgration that thrcat-
cns it, lor thc gcncral crisis ol scicntific consciousncss that has
impcrccptibly crcpt up on us must hcrc bc particularly draining.
Philosophy, mcanwhilc, in conlronting such a lilc problcm, is in
this mcasurc libcratcd lrom that scholastic lormalism in which
‘‘criticism’’ incrcasingly cntanglcs it.
Thc problcm ol thc philosophy ol cconomy also acquircs a
pcculiar pointcdncss lor thc contcmporary rcligious conscious-
ncss. !n a timc ol dccaying dogmatic scll-consciousncss, whcn
rcligion is most lrcqucntly rcduccd to cthics, mcrcly tingcd
with pictistic ‘‘suffcrings,’’ it is particularly important to sct
out thc ontological and cosmological sidc ol Christianity, which
is partly rcvcalcd in thc philosophy ol cconomy. 8ut this is cn-
tircly impossiblc using thc mcans ol contcmporary Kantianizcd
and mctaphysically cmpticd thcology; instcad, wc must turn to
thc rcligious ontology, cosmology, and anthropology ol Saints
Athanasius ol Alcxandria and Grcgory ol Nyssus and othcr
lathcrs ol thc church. Thcsc tcachings arc at prcscnt philo-
sophically dcad capital in thc ficld ol dogmatics, and, most
Preface ´ ¸·
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lrcqucntly, arc simply dcnicd, and philosophical and cconomic
matcrialism on onc hand, and idcalistic phcnomcnalism on thc
othcr, arisc on thc ruins ol Christian matcrialism.
2
Among thc
tasks ol thc prcscnt invcstigation is thc cffort to translatc somc
ol thcsc tcachings into thc languagc ol contcmporary philo-
sophical thought and thus to rcvcal how thc truths ol rcligious
matcrialism arc distortcd and obscurcd both in matcrialism and
in idcalism.
Ònly a part ol this wholc projcct is rcalizcd in thc prcscnt
volumc: namcly, wc hcrc cxaminc thc gcncral bascs ol thc cco-
nomic proccss, or its ontology. To thc sccond part will lall thc
problcm ol thc justification of economy—its axiology and cscha-
tology; in part, thc problcm ol thc rclation ol flcsh and spirit
(thc cthics ol cconomy) and ol thc mcaning ol history and
culturc will bc invcstigatcd hcrc. 8ut thc loundation lor thcsc
thcorics is partially containcd in thc prcscnt scction, which can,
within thc limits ol its task, bc sccn as a complctc, indcpcndcnt
wholc.
As a parting word to this book, as thc cxprcssion ol its pathos
and aspirations, lct us rcmcmbcr Fcdor Ðostocvsky’s prophctic
words: ‘‘Lovc all God’s crcation, thc wholc and cach grain ol
sand in it. Lovc cvcry lcal, cvcry ray ol God’s light! Lovc thc
animals, lovc thc plants, lovc cvcrything. !l you lovc cvcrything,
you will pcrccivc thc divinc mystcry in things’’ (lrom Fathcr
Zosima’s lcssons in The Brothers Karama.o.).
‘‘ ‘Vhat is thc mothcr ol God. Vhat do you think.’ ‘Thc
grcat mothcr,’ ! answcr, ‘thc hopc ol thc human racc.’ ‘Ycs,’ shc
answcrcd, ‘thc mothcr ol God is thc grcat mothcr—thc damp
carth, and thcrcin lics grcat joy lor mcn’ ’’ (thc words ol thc old
woman in thc Cripplc’s story, in The Possessed).
Mosco., z8 January zoz:
¸8 ´ Preface
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.
Thc Problcm ol thc
Philosophy ol ¡conomy
!. Cox)v:vov~vy ‘‘¡coxo:is:’’
Ònc ol thc most outstanding traits ol contcmporary humanity’s
outlook is somcthing wc might call thc economism ol our cpoch.
So-callcd cconomic matcrialism constitutcs mcrcly thc most
radical and pcrlcct lormulation ol this gcncral attitudc and,
howcvcr qucstionablc this doctrinc may sccm to us, howcvcr
shaky its philosophical, scicntific, mctaphysical, and cmpirical
loundations, this dccpcr significancc makcs it somcthing morc
than just a scicntific doctrinc that crumblcs whcn it is shown
to bc inadcquatc. !n a ccrtain scnsc, cconomic matcrialism is
actually indcstructiblc, insolar as it dcscribcs thc immcdiatc
rcality ol a particular cxpcricncc or appcrccption ol thc world
that sccks thcorctical cxprcssion in a scicntific or philosophical
doctrinc. Thc doctrinc may bc quitc unsucccsslul in its cxccu-
tion, but this docs not invalidatc thc mood that crcatcd it. That
particular, undcniablc lilc truth that our contcmporary socicty
has glimpscd and intimatcly lclt with grcat scriousncss and bit-
tcr sinccrity makcs cconomic matcrialism in a scnsc irrclutablc.
!t cannot bc simply dcnicd or rcjcctcd likc any othcr scicn-
tific thcory. !t must bc undcrstood and intcrprctcd, not only in
its obvious mistakcs and wcakncsscs, but also in that prolound
contcnt which shimmcrs through it. !t must bc, not dcnicd,
but o.ercome from .ithin, cxplaincd in its limitations as a philo-
sophical ‘‘abstract principlc,’’ in which onc sidc ol thc truth is
sold as thc wholc truth. !n a word, thc problcm ol cconomic
¸o
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matcrialism must bc invcstigatcd, but not only in its contcmpo-
rary lormulation, in which it bcars too clcarly thc traits ol thc
accidcntal circumstanccs ol its historical origins and thc spiri-
tual individuality ol its crcators. For thc unprcjudiccd thinkcr
it is clcar that, apart lrom its rudc and unlortunatc currcnt cx-
prcssion, thc thcory ol cconomic matcrialism could bc workcd
out much morc lully, clcarly, rclcvantly; in gcncral, it lcavcs
much room lor improvcmcnt. !l wc abstract oursclvcs lrom any
possiblc lormal cxprcssion ol this doctrinc, it bccomcs clcar
that thc csscncc ol cconomic matcrialism rcmains as a prob-
lem standing incvitably bclorc thc philosophizing mind ol our
timc with its strong cconomism. Òur timc undcrstands, lccls,
cxpcricnccs the .orld as a household, and human powcr is mca-
surcd in tcrms ol wcalth. !n contrast to thc voluntary or invol-
untary asccticism ol Franciscan or 8uddhist cpochs ol history,
which dcspisc wcalth and dcny its powcr ovcr man, our cpoch
lovcs wcalth—not moncy, but spccifically wcalth—and bclicvcs
in wcalth cvcn morc than it bclicvcs in thc individual. This
is not mcrcly mammonism, low and sclfish (which cxists now
as it has cxistcd in all timcs); no—this is cconomism. Life is,
abo.e all, an economic process: such is thc axiom ol this contcm-
porary cconomism, cxprcsscd in most cxtrcmc and cvcn pro-
vocativc lorm in cconomic matcrialism. This is why cconomic
matcrialism has such survival powcr, combincd with thc ap-
pcal ol idcological radicalism, its sharpncss actually incrcascd
by its naivcté and immcdiacy. And this is thc sccrct ol thc pccu-
liar cnchantmcnt ol cconomic matcrialism, thanks to which it
so hypnotizcs contcmporary minds. ! will say cvcn morc: not
to cxpcricncc this cnchantmcnt at all, not to lccl its hypnosis
(cvcn il onc docs not abandon oncscll complctcly), mcans to
havc somc dclcct ol historical scll-consciousncss, to bc intcr-
nally alicn to contcmporary rcality, rcmaining cithcr abovc it
(which is acccssiblc but to a lcw individuals) or artificially to
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lcncc oncscll off lrom lilc (which is why ! am so littlc imprcsscd
and, lrankly, havc so littlc sympathy lor armchair ‘‘idcalism,’’
ignorant ol lilc).
1
¡conomic matcrialism or, lct us say morc bricfly, economism,
is in lact thc rcigning worldvicwamong political cconomists, al-
though, thcorctically, many ol thcm do not subscribc to it, pcr-
haps bccausc it has bccomc thc party dogma ol social dcmoc-
racy and scandalizcs many with its idcological radicalism. !n
practicc, lor lack ol anything bcttcr, cconomism suffuscs politi-
cal cconomy, in which, in gcncral, thc cxpansion ol spccial
invcstigations, or scicntific practicc, bcars no corrclation what-
socvcr to thc dcvclopmcnt ol philosophical scll-consciousncss
or rcflcction. !n its scicntific practicc, political cconomy cithcr
procccds on thc basis ol cmpirical gcncralizations and obscr-
vations ol a limitcd and spccializcd naturc, or, insolar as it
appcals to morc gcncral points ol vicw, it consciously or uncon-
sciously lalls into thc lramcwork ol cconomism, usually in its
most naivcly dogmatic lorm. Thcrc is a closc, unbrcakablc tic
bctwccn political cconomy and cconomism as a worldvicw. !n
lact, cconomic matcrialism is thc rcigning philosophy ol politi-
cal cconomy. !n practicc, cconomists arc Marxists, cvcn il thcy
hatc Marxism.
Thc limitations ol thc horizons ol cconomic thought, thus
rcvcalcd, find cxprcssion not so much in thc prcvalcncc ol thc
philosophy ol cconomism (though this, too, is symptomatic)
but in its naivc dogmatism. !t is as though thc dogma ol ccono-
mism wcrc thc only possiblc, and morcovcr thc scll-cvidcnt,
philosophy ol cconomy gcncrally. For this rcason, thc primary
task ol philosophical criticism is to shattcr this naivc dogma-
tism and, by qucstioning it, to makc it thc objcct ol a spccial
philosophical invcstigation.
Vc cannot rcproach political cconomy lor dcpcnding on par-
ticular philosophical prcsuppositions that it takcs as apodictic
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truths or axioms. All scicntific knowlcdgc is partial and lrag-
mcntary and thcrclorc is ncvcr constructcd without such axi-
omatic prcsuppositions. !t adhcrcs to thcm as to an anchor
thrown into thc shorclcss sca ol discursivc knowlcdgc, into thc
infinity ol possiblc problcms and objccts ol scicncc. No spc-
cializcd invcstigation is conductcd ab o.o, rathcr it bcgins, so
to spcak, in thc middlc, lor it always dcpcnds on an cntirc
scrics ol contingcnt or ccrtain axiomatic principlcs, that is, it
is always dogmatically conditioncd. Such is thc incvitablc dog-
matism ol our scicntific thought, and no ‘‘criticism’’ can lrcc
us ol it, although thcrc is a tcndcncy to lorgct about this dog-
matism too casily and to prcscnt thc rcsults ol such contingcnt
knowlcdgc as knowlcdgc quand même, as absolutc truth. Ònly
that scicntific inquiry can bc acknowlcdgcd as ‘‘critical’’ that
is conscious ol its dogmatic contingcncy and takcs it into ac-
count in dctcrmining thc critical mass or thcorctical valuc ol
its propositions.
Thus thc scicncc ol cconomy, or political cconomy, is also
a dogmatically conditioncd branch ol human knowlcdgc. !t is
contingcnt both in its cmpirical dimcnsion (hcrc, too, thcrc is
grcatcr awarcncss ol this contingcncy, lor cxamplc, thc con-
ncction ol political cconomy with tcchnology) and in its gcn-
cral philosophical undcrpinnings. Ònc or anothcr philosophy
ol cconomy, cstablishing thc prcsuppositions ol political ccon-
omy, is dccidcdly not crcatcd within itscll, is not thc rcsult
ol scicntific invcstigation, as is somctimcs thought, but is in-
corporatcd in scicncc a priori, although it prcdctcrmincs thc
charactcr ol its conclusions. ¡conomic matcrialism (in statis-
tics, radical Òuétclctism) had thc couragc to cxtract thcsc prc-
suppositions and mold thcm into an indcpcndcnt philosophical
systcm; in so doing, it rcvcalcd thc sccrct ol political cconomy,
which had uscd its principlcs silcntly and undcr covcr, naivcly
considcring thcm to bc thc lruit ol its own scicntific work. At
,: ´ The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy
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thc samc timc cconomic matcrialism, by cxtracting and dog-
matizing what had mcrcly bccn assumcd by scicntific practicc,
madc thcsc prcsuppositions into an indcpcndcnt problcm, thus
ultimatcly aiding in thc awakcning ol critical thought in this
ficld. Thc disciplinc ol cconomics currcntly finds itscll in a
scvcrc philosophical crisis: thc rcjcction ol a conscious adhcr-
cncc to cconomic matcrialism has lclt cconomics complctcly
dcvoid ol any philosophical basis and turncd it into an abstract
manipulation ol cmpirical lacts and obscrvations, so that it can
barcly bc takcn scriously as a scicncc. For this rcason thc prob-
lcm ol thc philosophy of economy or, bcttcr, thc totality ol thcsc
problcms is now ol intcrcst not just to philosophy but also to
spccializcd cconomic invcstigations.
Vhat sccms scll-cvidcnt in practicc oltcn poscs thc grcatcst
problcms lor thc philosophical mind. Such, lor cxamplc, is thc
cntirc thcory ol knowlcdgc that, csscntially, invcstigatcs scll-
cvidcnt lorms ol cognition and pcrccivcs in thcm thc most dil-
ficult and complicatcd philosophical problcms. This dcccptivc
obviousncss rcsults in thc common acccptancc ol such proposi-
tions as immutablc and apodictic, so that to dcny thcm sccms
absurd; or, as is lrcqucnt in spccializcd scicnccs, thcy arc takcn
as provcn within thc rcalm ol that particular scicncc; thc out-
comc, in our timc ol scicntific spccialization, is a pcculiar but
charactcristic dogmatism ol spccializcd scicnccs. Vc rcquirc
thc cffort ol philosophical analysis to lrcc oursclvcs ol this. Vc
must bcgin to doubt that which it is unusual or impropcr to
qucstion, wc must look with thc naivc cycs ol a lorcigncr or a
savagc, lor whom starchcd collars and whitc cuffs, scll-cvidcnt
lor us, sccm pcculiar, and who asks about thcir truc purposc.
Mattcrs arc just about thus with political cconomy. !t, too,
takcs lor grantcd too much that it rcccivcd at its birth and has
thcrclorc bccomc accustomcd to trcat as its organic attributc,
its constant baggagc. !l wc grant lrcc rcign to philosophical
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doubt whilc rcading a currcnt political-cconomic tract, wc im-
mcdiatcly scc how dccply this dogmatism ol prcsuppositions
pcnctratcs its construction and how divincly innoccnt ol this it
rcmains.
Thc scicncc ol cconomics bclongs to thc most contingcnt
and philosophically lcast indcpcndcnt ol disciplincs; yct it has
acccptcd thc dominant rolc assigncd to it by our wcalth-
conscious cpoch, striving to bccomc thc rcgal lcgislator ol
thought and cxpanding its influcncc lar bcyond its own hori-
zons. !nsolar as it succccds, it docs dctcrminc thc gcncral
cconomism ol our cpoch—thc distinguishing charactcristic ol
its historical scll-consciousncss. Political cconomy with its
cconomism is particularly in nccd ol a rccvaluation and dccp-
cning ol its principlcs, ol rcncwal through philosophical doubt.
Thc philosophical cxamination ol thc basic principlcs ol cco-
nomic action and cconomic thought has bccomc impcrativc;
such is thc task ol thc philosophy ol cconomy, which cvalu-
atcs not only thc philosophical a priori ol political cconomy but
ol thc cconomic worldvicw gcncrally. Naturally, howcvcr, its
own problcmatic lics dccpcr than thc simplc scrvicc to political
cconomy would rcquirc. Thc philosophy ol cconomy bclongs to
philosophy gcncrally, constitutcs a significant part ol it, and is
not mcrcly thc illcgitimatc child ol political cconomy. Vhat,
thcn, is thc philosophy ol cconomy as a philosophical tcaching.
!!. Pniiosovny ~xb Livv
Thc dcfinition ol thc task ol thc philosophy ol cconomy is,
to a significant cxtcnt, conncctcd with onc’s undcrstanding ol
thc tasks ol philosophy gcncrally; yct what thcsc should bc is
at prcscnt thc subjcct ol much disagrccmcnt. Ònc might say,
howcvcr, that thc answcr to this basic, apparcntly prcliminary
qucstion—what is philosophy.—gcncrally contains thc csscncc
,, ´ The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy
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ol a particular philosophical systcm and rcvcals its ccntral as-
sumptions. !l wc look at any onc ol thc philosophical oricnta-
tions ol thc past and prcscnt, wc can scc that thcy diffcr first ol
all in thcir undcrstanding ol this initial qucstion. Apparcntly,
thcrc is no gcncrally valid solution to this qucstion; morcovcr, it
cannot bc rcsolvcd by spccializcd argumcntation within a givcn
philosophical systcm. Òn thc contrary, this qucstion poscs itscll
outsidc any singlc philosophical systcm, which indccd is thcn
constructcd around this alrcady cxisting qucstion. Vhat docs
philosophy .ant to bc, what is thc topic ol intcrcst toward
which it is ‘‘oricntcd,’’ what is thc ultimatc immcdiatc givcn
standing bclorc it. This is what prcdctcrmincs a philosophi-
cal systcm. This manncr ol posing thc problcm intcntionally
uncovcrs this ccntral ncrvc ol thc philosophical systcm. For
many contcmporary philosophcrs, cvcn thc combination ol thc
conccpts—thc philosophy ol economy—sccms unacccptablc or
shocking, not so much bccausc thc combination ol thcsc two
words in a singlc titlc sounds odd but bccausc philosophy is hcrc
dcfinitcly and opcnly givcn a particular prcdicatc; lor philoso-
phy likcs to think ol itscll as ‘‘purc’’ and indcpcndcnt contcm-
plation and balks at thc idca ol a philosophy of anything. !t is
truc, thc contcmporary car has bcgun to accustom itscll to such
cxprcssions as, lor cxamplc, thc philosophy ol culturc, or ol art,
ol law, and so on (cvcn ‘‘philosophy ol moncy,’’ circulatcd by thc
skcptical philosophical imprcssionist Simmcl), yct thcsc phrascs
arc rarcly uscd with any dcgrcc ol scll-consciousncss and ‘‘criti-
cal scll-cvaluation’’ and, in any casc, still await philosophical
cxplication. Òn thc othcr hand, it is truc that thc grcatcst rcp-
rcscntativcs ol absolutc, indcpcndcnt philosophy such as Fichtc
or Hcgcl dcvclopcd systcms ol thc philosophy ol law, culturc,
history, but lor thcm thcsc wcrc mcrcly particular parts ol a
gcncral systcm, with no indcpcndcnt valuc. For thcm as wcll,
a philosophy of cconomy or ol somcthing clsc, that is, procccd-
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ing lrom this givcn rcality, would havc bccn a dcbascmcnt and
bctrayal ol philosophy. Thc dogma ol thc indcpcndcncc ol phi-
losophy, in thc scnsc ol its closcdncss and scll-sufficicncy and
thus its absolutcncss, was lor thcm not subjcct to doubt; such
is Hcgcl’s grand systcm in its Lucilcrian pridc, such is Fichtc’s
first systcm (thc .yo± Theory of Science).
! dcny this indcpcndcncc and scll-sufficicncy ol thc philoso-
phy ol thc scll-stylcd absolutc spirit, which gcncratcs both purc
nothingncss and purc cvcrythingncss and thus cquatcs itscll
with thc Crcator. Philosophizing is always about somcthing
that stands bclorc us as an immcdiatc and uncontingcnt givcn,
or, to usc a currcnt phrasc, philosophy is always oriented to.ard
something outsidc itscll. And this also dctcrmincs thc morc gcn-
cral and lundamcntal qucstion ol thc relation of philosophy to
life, which ncvcr lcavcs thc ficld ol philosophical conscious-
ncss and bccomcs particularly acutc in pcriods ol cxaggcratcd,
onc-sidcd intcllcctualism such as post-Kantian absolutc idcal-
ism or rcccntly in nco-Kantian rationalism.
2
Lilc is morc im-
mcdiatc than, and prior to, any philosophical rcflcction or scll-
rcflcction. Lilc is ultimatcly undcfinablc, though constantly in
thc proccss ol dcfinition; it fills our judgmcnts with contcnt but
is ncvcr cxhaustcd by thcm. !t fills all thc twists and turns ol our
cxistcncc and, morc particularly, ol our thought; it is thc matcr-
nal womb, thc incxhaustiblc sourcc, thc immcasurablc dcpth.
Lilc is simultancously cvcrything and nothing, lor it cannot bc
attributcd to any particular something and thus bc catcgorizcd
and dcfincd. !t is outsidc timc and spacc, lor, although it is
cxprcsscd in spatial and tcmporal phcnomcna, it is ncvcr lully
cxhaustcd by thcm and rcmains prior to thcm. !t is not lilc
that cxists in spacc and timc, but spatiality and tcmporality that
arc manilcstations ol lilc. Lilc cannot bc rcduccd to anything
simplcr than itscll, although it procccds lrom thc Sourcc ol lilc,
thc God ol thc living but not ol thc dcad. Philosophical scll-
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consciousncss incvitably runs up against lilc as its primordial
principlc. Lilc cannot bc dcduccd lrom any rcasons and is in
this scnsc miraculous, it is lrccdom, rcigning ovcr ncccssity. !n
rclation to lilc, all aspccts ol bcing arc but partial dcfinitions:
will, thought, instinct, consciousncss, thc subconscious sphcrcs,
cvcn bcing itscll, thc copula is and thc prcdicatc ol cxistcncc
havc mcaning only in rclation to thc csscntial, which is lilc,
supposing its particular manilcstations or statcs as particular
dcfinitions. Thcrc is no bcing in abstracto, thcrc is only con-
crctc bcing lor itscll, scll-dctcrmining lilc. And this miraculous
sourcc ol lilc is rcflcctcd in a myriad ol individual conscious-
ncsscs whilc rctaining its idcntity and unity. Lilc is thc mystcry
ol world bcing, acccssiblc to cxpcricncc but unlathomablc to
thc mind; it is that primordial light in which both conscious-
ncss and diffcrcncc arc born. !t is into this shorclcss occan
that philosophy throws its anchor, sccking that point whcrc thc
Archimcdcs triggcr ol a philosophical systcm can bc applicd,
wcighing thc cntirc univcrsc on its scalcs; philosophy incvitably
rcquircs a point ol rclcrcncc outside itscll that is immcdiatcly
givcn and inalicnablc, in ordcr lor thc possibility itscll ol phi-
losophizing not to bc dcstroycd. Crcation lrom nothing is givcn
to man ncithcr in thc ficld ol philosophy nor in othcr things.
Thc contcnt ol philosophy dcpcnds to a significant cxtcnt on
whcrc and how this anchor is thrown, on what imprcsscs or
‘‘surpriscs’’ (yaumázei) thc thinkcr, or on thc orientation ol phi-
losophy; so wc could writc thc history ol philosophical systcms
as thc history ol various philosophical oricntations.
Lilc is thc matcrnal womb that givcs birth to all ol its mani-
lcstations: both drcamy nighttimc consciousncss lull ol cndlcss
possibilitics and hopcs, and thc daytimc, waking conscious-
ncss that gcncratcs philosophical and scicntific thought—both
Apollo and Ðionysus. !t is ol lorcmost importancc to kccp in
mind that thought is born ol lilc and that in this scnsc philo-
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sophical rcflcction is lilc’s own scll-rcflcction; in othcr words,
thc logical principlc, thc logos ol lilc, originatcs in that con-
crctc and indivisiblc wholc in which what is logically impcnc-
trablc and transccndcnt to thought unitcs indivisibly and yct
discrctcly with thc logical principlc. Lilc, as thc concrctc unity
ol thc logical and thc alogical, rcmains ol coursc supralogi-
cal, cannot by accountcd lor by any logical dcfinition, which
would ncccssarily bc conccrncd only with schcmas and bound-
arics rathcr than with its living tcxturc; yct this docs not makc
lilc alogical or logically indiffcrcnt. Lilc givcs birth to thought,
it thinks and has its own scll-consciousncss, it rcflccts on itscll.
Thc logical principlc has boundarics that it cannot cross, but
within thcm it rcigns unchallcngcd. Thc alogical is impcnc-
trablc to thc logical; yct it is itscll constraincd by thc logical.
Thc logical and thc alogical arc conncctcd and intcrdcpcndcnt.
Thus light prcsumcs an cvcr-prcscnt darkncss (kaì tò fôw n t˙
skotíÐ faínei—‘‘And thc light shincth in darkncss,’’ ]ohn .:¡)
and joy cvcr-conqucrcd sadncss (Schclling), whilc thc warmth
ol lovc is gcncratcd by a mutcd flamc that has ccascd to scorch
(]akob 8öhmc). Ònly such a vicw makcs thc possibility ol ap-
prchcnding and knowing bcing intclligiblc, cxplains thc possi-
bility ol philosophy, ol scicncc, cvcn ol simplc common scnsc
and gcncrally ol any kind ol thought that riscs abovc simplc
automatic instinct. Thought is born in lilc and ol lilc; it is a
ncccssary hypostasis ol lilc. For this rcason it is not outsidc
lilc; it is not transccndcnt but immancnt, although not in thc
scnsc ol contcmporary immancntism, which cquatcs bcing with
(logical) consciousncss and thcrclorc puts an cquality sign bc-
twccn thc logical and thc csscntial and which, conscqucntly,
dcnics thc alogical root ol bcing.
8ut thc history ol philosophy has produccd two intcrprcta-
tions ol this dual naturc ol lilc, logical and alogical. Ònc ol
thcm considcrs thc logical principlc as thc lundamcntal prin-
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ciplc ol bcing, pcrcciving bcing as scll-dcvcloping thought,
thinking itscll, gcncrating itscll and turning in on itscll in
a closcd philosophical systcm; this is intellectualism. Thc scc-
ond intcrprctation cmphasizcs thc rcvcrsc sidc ol thc dilcmma
and pronounccs thc priority ol thc alogical ovcr thc logical, ol
instinct ovcr rcason, unconscious ovcr conscious; this is anti-
intellectualism, a-logism takcn to thc cxtrcmc ol anti-logism.
3
!ntcllcctualism rcprcscnts an cxtraordinarily powcrlul cur-
rcnt in contcmporary ¡uropcan philosophy and might cvcn bc
callcd a hcrcditary illncss that first appcarcd in its lorclathcr
Ðcscartcs with his ultra-intcllcctualist Cogito ergo sum. Ðcspitc
all thc ambiguity and lack ol clarity ol this statcmcnt as it
was dcvclopcd by Ðcscartcs,
4
history has intcrprctcd it in thc
most intcllcctualist scnsc possiblc, that is, that bcing and ulti-
matcly lilc, as wcll as thc individual pcrsonality (sum), rcquirc
a rational basis and can rcccivc it lrom philosophy. Philosophy
is thcn torn lrom its roots and incvitably lalls into a dclusion
ol grandcur, immcrsing itscll in a world ol drcams and shad-
ows, somctimcs grand and lascinating, but ultimatcly lilclcss.
!n othcr words, an cpoch ol drcamy idcalism opcns, lor which
cogitare - essere - .i.ere—thc ‘‘Copcrnican’’ prctcnsions ol thc
armchair know-it-all. ¡uropcan philosophy is still in thc throcs
ol this illncss. !n thc coursc ol lurthcr dcvclopmcnt, intcllcc-
tualism has takcn two courscs: absolute idealism, which with
its incvitablc panlogism proclaims thc boundlcss univcrsality
ol thc logical principlc, scll-conscious thought, which achicvcs
its ultimatc cxprcssion in philosophy (according to which phi-
losophy is highcr than lilc, is its goal and product); and critical
rationalism, in which mctaphysical panlogism givcs way to ‘‘sci-
cntific idcalism,’’ and thc rolc ol world wisdom is assumcd by
lormal schcmas ol scicntific cognition. Thc boldcst rcprcscn-
tativcs ol intcllcctualism in contcmporary mctaphysics arc, ol
coursc, Fichtc in his first systcm
5
ol Ich-philosophie (dcvclopcd
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in thc Grundlage der gesammten !issenschaftslehre |Foundations
ol a gcncral thcory ol scicncc| and thc Grundriss der gesammten
!issenschaftslehre |8asics ol thc gcncral thcory ol scicncc|, .yo±,
and also in two Einleitungen in die !issenschaftslehre |!ntroduc-
tions to thc thcory ol scicncc|, .yoy), and particularly Hcgcl,
who rcachcs thc ultimatc cxtrcmc ol intcllcctualism. Hcgcl’s
gcncral significancc in this contcxt is wcll known; a spccific cx-
plication ol his systcm lrom this point ol vicw lics outsidc thc
scopc ol thc prcscnt work.
6
Scicntific rationalism, thc othcr lorm ol contcmporary intcl-
lcctualism, is rcprcscntcd by scicntific positivism but also finds
conscious and ‘‘critical’’ cxprcssion in nco-Kantian idcalism,
with its pancatcgorialism and panmcthodism, and in contcm-
porary mcthodologics ol scicncc or so-callcd scicntific phi-
losophy. This trait is morc or lcss charactcristic ol all nco-
Kantianism in its most influcntial branchcs, but it finds its
most complctc and radical cxprcssion in thc tcachings ol thc
so-callcd Marburg school hcadcd by Cohcn, that Hcgcl ol sci-
cntific rationalism.
7
Hcrc philosophy is opcnly and clcarly ori-
cntcd toward scicncc, and abovc all towards mathcmatics, and
thc conccpts ol spccializcd scicnccs with thcir abstract catc-
gorics arc intcrprctcd as thc singlc, highcr, thoroughly rational
rcality, gcncratcd lrom mconic nothingncss by scicntific rca-
son. Scicncc is thc ‹ntvw ‹n ol rcality, whcrcas philosophy, as a
systcm ol catcgorics, as thc scll-consciousncss ol scicntific rca-
son, is thc ‹ntvw ‹n ol scicncc. Thc alogical is ignorcd, whcrcas
thc irrational is acknowlcdgcd only as a possiblc problcm, as an
‘‘e.ige Æufgabe’’ |ctcrnal task|, that is, it is mcrcly inscrtcd into
thc systcm ol catcgorics and thus rationalizcd.
Thc truc loundcr ol thc contcmporary philosophy ol intcl-
lcctualism is, ol coursc, Kant. 8oth ol its branchcs—pan-
logism and pancatcgorialism, Hcgclianism and Cohcnism—arc
bound to Kant by inhcritancc. Schopcnhaucr, and Schclling,
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and Fichtc ol thc sccond pcriod havc in onc or anothcr manncr
also bccn conncctcd with him, howcvcr; this shows that Kant’s
works conccal in thcmsclvcs various possibilitics but in thcm-
sclvcs arc dcvoid ol sufficicnt dcfinition (thanks to thc lack ol
clarity in thc thcory ol thc rolc ol ‘‘¡mpfindung’’ |scnsation| in
thc thcory ol knowlcdgc and thc ambiguity ol thc mctaphysical
thcory ol thc Ding an sich |thing in itscll |).
Òn thc oppositc polc to intcllcctualism is contcmporary anti-
intcllcctualism, which is howcvcr simultancously gcncratcd by
intcllcctualism as a rcaction to it and is thcrclorc incapablc
ol ovcrcoming it. Thc distinguishing charactcristic ol anti-
intcllcctualism is skcpticism conccrning thc indcpcndcncc ol
thc logical principlc. This skcpticism originatcs in thc tcndcncy
to vicw rcason as nothing but a tool ol lilc, guidcd by blind,
alogical, almost antilogical instinct. Rcason acquircs thc status
ol an instrumcnt, valuablc only insolar as it is usclul. Thus
rcason is not only dcprivcd ol thc autonomous sovcrcignty ol
scll-gcncrating thought attributcd to it by intcllcctualism but
is actually sccn as a product, or as a mcans. Fichtc, Schclling,
and Hcgcl all sought to undcrstand thc history ol rcason in its
scll-consciousncss and dcvclopmcnt, but thcir task was lim-
itcd to an analysis only ol thc dcvclopmcnt, not ol thc gcncsis
ol rcason, and thcrclorc has nothing in common with anti-
intcllcctualism’s contcmporary cffort to cxplain thc vcry ori-
gin ol rcason, lor it acknowlcdgcd thc rights ol rcason and
assumcd it to bc primordially givcn. Anti-intcllcctualism, in
contrast, procccds on thc silcnt, or cvcn hall-consciously ar-
ticulatcd, prcsupposition that reason originated in time, that is,
that thcrc could havc bccn a timc whcn thcrc was no rcason. !n
this casc wc must go larthcr and admit that rcason could havc
not bccn at all, and lilc might havc rcmaincd blind and instinc-
tivc. Vc do not find this cvcn in Schopcnhaucr, thc philosophcr
ol blind will who comcs closcst to anti-intcllcctualism; cvcn
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lor him, rcason ncccssarily originatcs togcthcr with thc bcgin-
ning ol thc world-historical proccss: thc world as will is ncc-
cssarily also rcprcscntation. Thc irrationalism combincd with
instrumcntalism ol thc cffort to rcducc rcason to cvolution-
ary accidcnt (not, ol coursc, in thc scnsc ol lack ol cmpirical
rcasons, but in that ol thc abscncc ol idcal incvitability) un-
qucstionably dcgradcs rcason and qucstions thc vcry possibility
ol cognition, that is, by thc samc tokcn, thc possibility ol its
own scll. This irrationalism suffcrs lrom scll-dcstructivc skcp-
ticism—thc lot ol cvcry radical skcpticism that advanccs any
sort ol positivc statcmcnt. At prcscnt, thc most diffcrcnt think-
crs, with varying dcgrccs ol philosophical consciousncss and lor
diffcrcnt philosophical motivcs, rally around thc flag ol anti-
intcllcctualism: Ðarwinists in cpistcmology—including, on onc
hand, Fcucrbach, Nictzschc, and Simmcl, and on thc othcr
thc cconomic matcrialists and somc philosophical matcrialists
(hylozoists such as Häckcl); thcn 8crgson and his lollowcrs,
moving thc significancc ol instinct to thc lorclront; and, finally,
contcmporary pragmatists. For somc this is thc flag ol rcbcllion
against Kant and nco-Kantianism and thc discovcry ol mcta-
physics and rcligion (8crgson and somc ol thc pragmatists);
lor othcrs, ‘‘prc-Kantians altcr Kant,’’ on thc contrary, this is a
mcans ol shiclding thcmsclvcs lrom any mctaphysics or rcligion
and dccisivcly affirming thcmsclvcs in thc zoological calling ol
human apcs, whilc simultancously appropriating thc thronc ol
thc supcrman. Rcason cannot bc dcsccratcd by rcason itscll,
howcvcr, and la raison toujours finira par la raison. Thc lunda-
mcntal and inalicnablc flaw ol anti-intcllcctualism striving to
bc philosophy, that is, a logical systcm, is thc impossibility ol
justilying its own cxistcncc and goals by its own principlcs.
8
Hcrc thc classic cxamplc ol a scll-contradictory judgmcnt, lall-
ing into a vicious circlc, incvitably rcpcats itscll: onc Crctan
said that all Crctans wcrc liars, thcrclorc, as a Crctan, hc must
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havc licd, and his own statcmcnt contradicts thc truth; how-
cvcr, in this particular casc it turns out that hc said thc truth and
Crctans arc rcally liars, but thcn hc, too, licd, and so on. Anti-
intcllcctualism justly and powcrlully cmphasizcs thc boundarics
ol intcllcctualist rationalism. Lilc is broadcr and dccpcr than
rational consciousncss, and this consciousncss has its own his-
tory, lor bclow and bchind it lic ‘‘subliminal,’’ subconscious, or
prc-conscious sphcrcs. Although thc rational-discursivc day-
timc ! is thc sharpcst cxprcssion or symptom ol lilc, it gro.s
out of thc dcpths and has roots in thc darkncss ol thc night-
timc, drcaming !; thc pcrsonality is immcasurably dccpcr and
broadcr than its consciousncss at any givcn momcnt. Lilc in
naturc acquircs consciousncss by a long and roundabout path,
not immcdiatcly. This truth was lclt with grcat immcdiacy by
thc ‘‘historian ol rcason,’’ Schclling, bclorc any Ðarwinism or
cvolutionism. !l wc limit oursclvcs mcrcly to corrccting thc pcr-
vcrsitics ol prcsumptuous scholastic rationalism, thcn wc still
don’t havc anti-intcllcctualism, which consists prcciscly in thc
dcstruction ol thc ncccssary, primordial, and idcal conncction
ol logical and alogical and immcrscs thc light ol rcason in thc
dark clcmcnts ol thc alogical. 8y doing so, it in lact carrics out
a scntcncc on itscll as a philosophical tcaching. Ònly thc basic
mood ol anti-intcllcctualism, thc rcbcllion against dcadcning
rationalism, is valuablc; but ‘‘wc cannot livc by rcbcllion alonc’’
(Ðostocvsky) cvcn in philosophy, lor hcrc too rcbcllion is that
samc slavcry, but in rcvcrsc, making us thc spiritual prisoncrs ol
rationalism instcad ol ovcrcoming it.
Thus lilc is thc concrctc and indissolublc unity ol thc logi-
cal and thc alogical, and only this proposition makcs thc lact
ol knowlcdgc comprchcnsiblc; in philosophy, in scicncc, and
cvcn in our scll-consciousncss wc find this samc living synthc-
sis ol logical and alogical. Lilc is not antilogical, is not alicn to
thc logos; logos is thc conncction ol things, ncccssarily having
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transsubjcctivc
9
or objcctivc mcaning—this axiom is constantly
prcsupposcd by thought and lics at thc loundation ol our logical
scll-consciousncss. 8ut at thc samc timc thought is ncccssarily
ticd to thc alogical principlc and is constantly rcflcctcd lrom
it (as thc ! in Fichtc’s systcm dcpcnds on continuous points
ol non-! lor its cxprcssion); thought has a substratum outsidc
itscll, or, in othcr words, lilc is not cxhaustcd by thought, and
thought is not yct bcing, although all that which cxists can
bc thought. Thc gcncral rclation bctwccn thought (both sci-
cntific and philosophical) and its objcct is charactcrizcd by thc
possibility ol thinking all that cxists, but also by its alogical
naturc. All ol living rcality is idcal-rcal in all ol its dimcnsions;
it is alogical-logical. 8y itscll this synthcsis cvidcntly rcprcscnts
somcthing supralogical, not quitc acccssiblc to thought—a wall
that logical thought cncountcrs as its ultimatc limit. And this
living and mystcrious synthcsis ol two diffcrcnt yct not contra-
dictory principlcs—thc logical and thc alogical—takcs placc in
cvcry act ol thought.
Logical thought, abstracted lrom thc concrctc unity ol logical
and alogical, is bascd on thc possibility ol rcflcction, which rc-
crcatcs rcality as an idcal scrics (or, rathcr, many idcal scrics)
ol logical conccpts, symbols, or schcmas ol living, concrctc
unitics. This construction ol idcal scrics ol rcality, bascd on thc
abstraction ol thc logical principlc and thc symbolic cxprcs-
sion ol concrctc, supralogical rcality through conccpts—this
symbolism ol logic or ‘‘algcbra ol thought’’ (Couturc’s cxprcs-
sion)—docs not, in itscll, transccnd thc boundarics ol lilc and
in this scnsc is also a concrctc living act, lrom which thc odor
ol lilc, thc altcrtastc ol ‘‘psychologism,’’ cannot bc rcmovcd
by any cpistcmological disinlcctant. (!n gcncral thc ‘‘clcanncss’’
that attracts contcmporary cpistcmologists, thc distancc lrom
any kind ol ‘‘psychologism,’’ that is, lrom lilc that is supra-
logical and incxhaustiblc by logical thought, is ol coursc un-
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attainablc, and cvcn thc cffort to achicvc it is thc product ol thc
malady ol intcllcctualism, which cquatcs thought and bcing.)
8ut this idcal, purcly logical rcflcction ol concrctc idcal-rcal
rcality is actually a sort ol cxtraction ol thc logical principlc;
and il wc cxaminc lilc only in thc light ol this principlc, wc
arc convinccd by thc illusion that wc rcally havc undcrstood
lilc in all its dcpth, and, lor this limitcd and contingcnt point
ol vicw, thought rcally is cquivalcnt to bcing. Thc intcllcct is
capablc ol constructing an abstract world, wholly rational and
‘‘transparcnt,’’ or intclligiblc, alongsidc thc concrctc world, and
a luminous cdificc is crcctcd on a dark and impcnctrablc loun-
dation. Thc idcal powcr and light ol thc logos is rcvcalcd in its
pcrccption ol itscll as thc bcginning ol bcing.
!dcal rcality—thc construct ol logical thought—is thor-
oughly logical and rational; it can contain no dark, hiddcn
nooks and crannics; it is cntircly acccssiblc to logical criticism
and subjcct to ‘‘critical scll-accountability.’’ !n it cvcrything
is conncctcd and continuous (Kontinuitat is thc basic law ol
thought, as Cohcn so vchcmcntly insists), and thcrc is no room
lor hiatuscs or omissions. Such is thc naturc ol thought as it is
rcvcalcd through analysis ol its activity in its idcal cxprcssion,
in thc scicncc ol logic, and in thc analysis ol cognition, that
is, cpistcmology. Thought is scll-sufficicnt in its dcvclopmcnt,
in its dialcctics, in its tasks and problcms; it is hcld togcthcr
by a systcm ol catcgorics that, in turn, arc incxtricably bound
to cach othcr, and to this cxtcnt cvcn pancatcgorialism holds
(lor its monstrous lics bcgin only whcrc it imparts ontological
significancc to its cpistcmological propositions and cxplicatcs
thcm as intcllcctualistic mctaphysics). 8ut wc must ncvcr lor-
gct that thought, bascd on abstraction lrom lilc, is thc product
ol thc rcflcctivc activity ol rcason, thc scll-rcflcction ol lilc.
Thought opcratcs through judgmcnts and conccpts that arc
somcthing likc agglutinations ol thought, crystallic lormations
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that arc thcn substitutcd lor wholc, supralogical lilc. Thcsc
logical symbols and symbols ol symbols, conccpts and catc-
gorics, arc in lact thc columns that support thc suspcndcd, lacy
bridgcs ol scicntific and philosophical thought and on which
thc idcalistic fata morgana stumblcs. ¡vcn so thcy cannot bc
considcrcd to bc hanging in thc air, lor thcir mass grows into
thc ground. Conccpts rcmain symbols or schcmcs ol living
rcality. Thcy arc gi.en by lilc, and thcy in turn set up prob-
lcms lor thought. Contcmporary intcllcctualism has bccomc
too accustomcd to play with postulatcs, obscuring thc givcns
on whosc basis thcy havc bccn sct up. 8ut onc cannot solvc
a problcm without data; this would bc likc trying to solvc an
cquation consisting only ol unknowns.
!t is thc givcns that scrvc as thc point ol dcparturc lor onc
or anothcr mcntal construction and admit ol no prool; thcy
posscss apodictic ccrtainty and arc obligatory lor thought, and
thcy must bc acccptcd as a scll-cvidcnt axiom ccrtificd in thc
proccss ol lilc. 8ut, ol coursc, thc act ol rcflcction itscll, thc
conccntration on onc or anothcr manilcstation ol lilc, is a lrcc
act (as dccply lclt in Fichtc’s systcm), an act ol crcation ol lilc.
This arbitrary conccntration on onc or anothcr point or ‘‘lact’’
ol lilc is prcciscly what ! call orientation on this lact. For cx-
amplc, so-callcd scicntific philosophy is actually thc philosophy
ol scicncc, oricntcd on thc lact ol scicntific cognition (as is
madc clcar in Cohcn’s systcm), whcrcas cpistcmology is in thc
samc scnsc thc philosophy ol thought and cognition. Gcncral
philosophy (thc mctaphysics ol bcing) rcflccts on bcing (lilc)
as a unity in its most gcncral and abstract dcfinition, in its
total continuity and contingcncy (Plotinus, Hcgcl). Òl coursc,
wc could rcscrvc thc titlc ol philosophy lor only this last typc
ol philosophizing, thus rcmoving all thc othcr, morc particular
thcmcs or motils ol philosophical systcms lrom thc ficld. 8ut
this would bc mcrcly a tcrminological distinction. !n its csscncc,
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philosophy rcmains pluralistic, and it has diffcrcnt thcmcs and
oricntations. Thought can covcr a morc or lcss widc circlc ol
problcms as it bcgins at a particular point ol dcparturc and
cvcntually rcturns to it. !n thc cnd, thcsc tcstimonics ol lilc arc
thc ‘‘Empfindung’’ |scnsation| that lics as a dcad wcight at thc
bottom ol Kant’s Erfahrung |cxpcricncc|, thcy arc thc ‘‘cxtcr-
nal impulsc’’ (außerer Ænstoß) that rcmaincd impcnctrablc lor
Fichtc’s idcalistic systcm. This is thc ‘‘othcrncss ol spirit’’ that
cvcn Hcgcl was compcllcd to introducc into his systcm. Finally,
this is thc m| ‹n (and not o„k ‹n) that is by no mcans noth-
ing, but only unccrtainty in Mr. Cohcn’s tcaching ol reiner Ur-
sprung |purc origins|. Lilc incvitably intrudcs into thc rcalm ol
thc logical, bccomcs immancnt to thc knowing consciousncss,
whilc rcmaining simultancously transccndcnt to it in its con-
crctc, supralogical unity. This is thc Ding an sich that, though
transccndcnt with rcspcct to rational systcms, incvitably pcnc-
tratcs cvcn thc most scll-containcd idcalistic philosophical con-
struction. Lilc is not transccndcnt lor thc living bcing with its
wholc living cxpcricncc, but it is transccndcnt lor its lacultics
ol cognition, rcflcction, and thought. Lilc is thc Ding an sich in
its immcdiatc mystical dcpths ol phcnomcnal cxpcricncc; this
is how it comcs to thc surlacc ol thought and knowlcdgc, as
loam or rcflcctions appcar on thc surlacc ol a bottomlcss body
ol watcr.
Thc idca ol thc concrctc synthcsis ol thc alogical and thc
logical in thc supralogical unity ol lilc lics dccp in thc Chris-
tian tcachings ol God’s thrcc hypostascs and ol thc crcation
ol thc world lrom thc carth ‘‘without lorm, and void’’ through
thc word. !n contcmporary philosophy, this idca is dcvclopcd
with onc or anothcr variation in a scrics ol philosophical sys-
tcms; hcrc wc can includc Schclling, particularly in thc last
pcriod, Schopcnhaucr, Hartmann (who dclcnds this idca with
particular cncrgy both against Hcgclianism and against matcri-
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alism), \ladimir Solovicv, and Princc S. N. Trubctskoy.
10
Ðil-
lcrcnt thinkcrs havc arrivcd at similar solutions ol thc qucstion
ol thc naturc ol thought, though approaching it lrom various
anglcs.
!!!. Pniiosovny ~xb Scivxcv
Thought is intrinsically ‘‘oricntcd’’ rathcr than indcpcndcnt, it
is thought about something, and this somcthing is dctcrmincd
somcwhat arbitrarily, lor rcflcction is an act ol lrccdom. 8ut,
similarly to thc way in which paths covcring an cntirc sphcrc
may bc drawn through any point on its surlacc, or to thc way in
which an infinitc multiplicity ol curvcs or lincs may intcrscct in
a singlc point, so, in principlc, any onc spccific oricntation may
hold thc kcy to a wholc scrics ol philosophical problcms and,
conscqucntly, holds thc possibility lor thcir rcsolution. Òbvi-
ously, not all oricntations arc in practicc convcnicnt and ac-
ccssiblc lor thc thinking bcing, who in this scnsc is subjcct to
spatial and tcmporal, pcrsonal and historical limitations; hcncc,
practically, wc must spcak not ol all possiblc oricntations but
only ol thc lcw that arc thc most practical and thcrclorc natu-
ral (just as gcomctcrs dcal not with all thcorctically possiblc
gcomctrics but only with thosc that contributc to thc undcr-
standing ol our thrcc-dimcnsional spacc, that is, mostly with
¡uclidcan gcomctry). Thcrc arc not sct boundarics hcrc, how-
cvcr, owing to thc unity and conncctcdncss ol lilc and thc law
ol continuity ol thought: cvcrything is in cvcrything clsc and
cvcrything can bc lound in cvcrything clsc. 8ut, prcciscly lor
this rcason, thcrc can bc no singlc, ‘‘royal’’ path lor thought;
rathcr, givcn a multiplicity ol initial oricntations, wc must also
acknowlcdgc a multiplicity ol paths lor thought and thcrclorc
thc objcctivc ‘‘significancc’’ ol various constructions. !n othcr
words, thcrc can bc no singlc total philosophical systcm likc that
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in which Hcgcl and thc idcalists bclicvcd, conlusing abstract-
ncss with gcncral applicability and taking thc most abstract
systcm lor thc most univcrsal.
11
To pcrccivc a rcality in which
e.erything is rational and incvitablc and thcrc arc no accidcnts,
to find cvcrything in cvcrything clsc in a singlc unificd wholc,
immcdiatcly to apprchcnd thc cntirc dialcctic ol world bcing—
this mcans to look on thc world with God’s cyc, to transccnd
discursivc thought, to stcp outsidc ol timc. This would rcally
bc that concrctc idcalism, that thinking ol rcality, to which
Hcgcl prctcndcd, whcrcas discursivc thought is capablc ol find-
ing cvcrything in cvcrything clsc only by moving lrom onc
thing to anothcr, procccding lrom thc particular to thc par-
ticular and finding thc gcncral only in thc proccss ol transi-
tion. For this rcason, discursivc thought, that is, philosophy,
and to an cvcn grcatcr cxtcnt scicncc, is pluralistic by nature,
thc singlc truth is thc Ding an sich, transccndcnt lor cognition
as a givcn but immancnt as a goal, as thc idcal ol cognition
(Kant’s ‘‘idca’’). Thcrclorc philosophical systcms can justifiably
diffcr among thcmsclvcs dcpcnding on thcir initial oricntation
or, in othcr words, onc can construct diffcrcnt scicntific and
philosophical systcms by procccding lrom diffcrcnt points ol
oricntation to arrivc at cqually valid asscssmcnts ol a particu-
lar objcct; this is analogous to mcasuring thc samc mountain
lrom diffcrcnt sidcs and standpoints in diffcrcnt light and still
arriving at uncontradictory projcctions ol thc samc objcct. Ðil-
lcrcnt points ol vicw can, to a point, cocxist pcacclully, whilc
thc mutually contradictory oncs climinatc cach othcr. (This
thought lorms thc basis ol thc history ol philosophy lor Hcgcl
and his succcssors, including S. N. Trubctskoy.)
!t is difficult to rclrain lrom comparing philosophical crc-
ativity to art, lor a philosophical systcm is also a typc ol artistic
crcation, a ‘‘poctry ol conccpts’’; it contains inncr ncccssity and
logical ordcr, as a work ol art contains a ncccssary consistcncy
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and harmony in thc rclation ol parts to thc wholc, scll-cvidcnt
to ‘‘artistic rcason’’ il logically unprovablc. Yct thc planning ol
thc composition givcs lrcc rcin to crcativc lrccdom, and thc ini-
tial oricntation rcquircs artistic tact: hcrc philosophical-artistic
talcnt dcmonstratcs itscll most.
Thc point ol vicw advanccd hcrc, lollowing ncccssarily lrom
our gcncral undcrstanding ol thc rclation ol philosophy and lilc,
has nothing in common with skcpticism, which undcrmincs
any possibility ol objcctivc cognition; it is, rathcr, acsthctic rcla-
tivism in philosophy, acknowlcdging in principlc thc possibility
ol a plurality ol philosophical paths and translorming philoso-
phy into philosophics, as wcll as scicncc into scicnccs. Thc
progrcss ol philosophy and scicncc, thcn, dcpcnds not on unity
ol dircction (which wc dccidcdly do not obscrvc in thc his-
tory ol idcas) but on thc unity ol thc lunctions ol thought and
cognition, as thc scll-rcflcction ol lilc, singlc and continuous.
! prcsumc that laith in absolutc systcms has bccn undcrmincd
lorcvcr—by thc crazy prctcnsions ol Hcgcl’s absolutc idcalism,
by thc cfforts ol rcccnt criticism with its rcfincd and corrupting
rclativism, and, finally, by thc progrcss ol scicntific knowlcdgc
in its multiplicity and complcxity. Thc nccd lor a systcm, lor
architcctonics lics too dccp in rcason lor us to lrcc oursclvcs ol
it; not only cvcry philosophical doctrinc but also scicncc strivcs
to build itscll into a closcd systcm ol conccpts and to conncct
cnds with bcginnings. !n constructing such a systcm, howcvcr,
thc contcmporary thinkcr (il hc docs not lall into dclusions
ol grandcur or naivc dogmatism) docs not claim to prcscnt a
singlc, absolutc philosophy. !n this lact thc wcll-bcing ol con-
tcmporary individualism finds satislaction, as it sccks to cxprcss
itscll in thc individualization ol philosophical crcativity. Thc
mcaning ol thc history ol philosophy, too, is dctcrmincd ac-
cording to this undcrstanding ol thc naturc ol philosophy. Thc
history ol philosophy bccomcs not only thc history ol ‘‘thc dis-
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covcry ol idcas ol thc absolutc,’’ as Hcgcl justly saw it,
12
but
also a survcy ol thc various moti.es ol philosophical crcativity
or, what is thc samc, its various initial oricntations. !n any casc
! supposc that thcsc dcfinitions, in practicc, coincidc, lor thc
discovcry ol ncw idcas ol thc absolutc comcs about thanks to
thc discovcry ol ncw ways ol thinking about it. Thc absolutc
is ol coursc uniquc, although it appcars many-lacctcd lor thosc
who approach it by diffcrcnt paths. Thc abovc, in principlc,
also justifics thc task ol thc prcscnt invcstigation. Thc proposcd
undcrstanding ol philosophy rcmovcs thc objcctions to an cffort
to construct a philosophical systcm oricntcd on cconomy as a
lact ol lilc. This task, ol coursc, cannot bc undcrstood in thc
absolutistic spirit ol thc claims, inhcritcd lrom thc ¡nlightcn-
mcnt and Hcgcl, ol absolutc idcalism or cconomic matcrialism;
thc philosophy ol cconomy docs not aspirc to bc an absolutc
systcm, containing in itscll all philosophical truth in purc lorm,
posscssing thc kcy to opcn all locks. My positcd problcm prc-
tcnds to lcss: ! wish to say only that wc can approach a gcncral
philosophy ol lilc by procccding also lrom this aspcct ol lilc,
and thcrclorc pcrccivc somc hithcrto uncxplorcd aspccts, that
is, that a philosophical systcm can also bc constructcd as a phi-
losophy ol cconomy. Thcrc can bc as littlc objcction to a phi-
losophy ol cconomy as to a scicncc ol cconomy, at lcast unlcss
wc lall into skcpticism with rcgard to knowlcdgc gcncrally.
8ut whcrc, thcn, docs thc dividing linc bctwccn philosophy
and scicncc lic. Vhat distinguishcs onc lrom thc othcr. First
ol all, it is clcar that it cannot bc thc objcct ol invcstigation,
lor both havc a singlc objcct, which is lilc in its scll-rcflcction
and, morcovcr, only thc aspccts ol lilc that can bc studicd both
by scicntific invcstigation and philosophical analysis. Thc dis-
tinction bctwccn philosophy and scicncc lics not in thcir objcct
but in thcir cognitivc oricntation, thc mcthods by which thcy,
rcspcctivcly, approach thc objcct. Thcy also pcrccivc thc objcct
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diffcrcntly and ask diffcrcnt qucstions about it. Scicncc is spc-
cializcd by naturc. Scicntific study procccds by isolating its ob-
jcct; it is intcntionally onc-sidcd. Scicncc cuts littlc picccs out
ol rcality and studics thcm as il thcy wcrc, in lact, all ol rcality.
Scicncc lragmcnts lilc, dividcs up rcality into scparatc parts that
it thcn procccds to put togcthcr again in a ncw mcchanism;
in its thcorics, scicncc givcs us thc schcma ol this constructcd
mcchanism. Vhat is adjaccnt to or outsidc thc boundarics ol
thc givcn scicncc is cithcr a mattcr ol absolutc indiffcrcncc to
it or cxists only insolar as it intrudcs into its spccific invcstiga-
tions.
13
!n contrast, philosophy is littlc inclincd toward thc dc-
tail that distinguishcs scicncc. Philosophy is intcrcstcd in that
which is ol lcast conccrn to scicncc—thc conncction ol givcn
phcnomcna with thc gcncral, thc placc thcy occupy with rc-
spcct to lilc as a wholc. !t cxamincs thc world and its various
aspccts as a wholc and in thc light ol thc construction ol this
wholc. Vc might, pcrhaps, say that philosophy sccks thc cxpla-
nation ol thc living mcaning ol phcnomcna studicd by scicncc
in thcir individuality. This is why adjaccnt ficlds ol inquiry arc
outsidc thc rcach ol scicncc: its tacit assumptions arc prcciscly
thc propcr task ol philosophy. Thus political cconomy and thc
philosophy ol cconomy, lor cxamplc, both study thc cconomic
proccss, but onc cngagcs in dctailcd analysis, whcrcas thc othcr
looks lor its gcncral mcaning. Thc first asks, .hat®, thc sccond
asks, ho.®
Philosophical rcflcction is always dircctcd toward thc wholc
ol lilc, whcrcas scicntific rcflcction looks at scparatc parts ol
it. For this rcason, it turns out that philosophical conccpts, al-
though largcr in scopc than scicntific conccpts, arc incvitably
poorcr in contcnt; thcy arc morc gcncral and abstract, lor thcy
scrvc as cognitivc instrumcnts in thc rcsolution ol problcms
broadcr than scicntific oncs. Vc can thcrclorc dcfinc philoso-
phy as a thcory ol lilc as a wholc in its most gcncral dcfinition
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(actually, S. N. Trubctskoy’s dcfinition ol mctaphysics as a sci-
cncc ol bcing approachcs this undcrstanding).
14
!n lact, thc
tcrminological qucstion ol whcthcr wc must call philosophy sci-
cncc, or whcthcr this titlc should bclong to spccializcd scicnccs
alonc, is rcally ol sccondary importancc. Òl coursc, lormally
spcaking, wc could call philosophy scicncc, insolar as it is, likc
scicncc, a mcthodically constructcd systcm ol conccpts, but thc
diffcrcncc bctwccn thc cognitivc intcrcsts ol philosophy and
scicncc would rcmain unmarkcd il wc wcrc to adopt this tcr-
minological idcntity ol thc two. Thcrclorc ! lccl that, instcad
ol cquating philosophy and scicncc, wc should scc thcm as two
diffcrcnt dircctions ol our thought and cognition.
!\. Cvi)icis: ~xb Ðoc:~)is:
At thc prcscnt timc it is impossiblc to spcak about philosophi-
cal qucstions without paying at lcast minimal tributc to thc
‘‘thcory ol cognition’’ and without kowtowing bclorc thc Chi-
ncsc dragon ol ‘‘criticism’’ that currcntly cmbcllishcs thc portals
ol thc philosophical acadcmy. Criticism or dogmatism. ‘‘That
is thc qucstion.’’ !n my opinion—ncithcr onc nor thc othcr.
First ol all, truc philosophical criticism and ‘‘criticism’’ arc not
only not idcntical but diffcr lrom cach othcr in varying dcgrccs.
‘‘Criticism’’ can, and docs, in contcmporary scholasticism, sul-
lcr lrom dogmatism no lcss than thc dogmatics ol timcs past,
and among thc ‘‘criticists’’ who considcr thcmsclvcs critical phi-
losophcrs thcrc arc, as always, lcw who rcally dcscrvc thc titlc.
Thc most ambitious and influcntial criticistic constructions ol
our timc (thosc ol thc so-callcd Frciburg and Marburg schools:
Vindclband’s and Rickcrt’s tclcological idcalism and Cohcn’s
and Natorp’s logic ol purc cognition) suffcr lrom thc unabashcd
dogmatism ol thcir lundamcntal propositions: in onc, thc lrag-
ilc and unstablc apparatus ol contcmporary scicntific thought
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is automatically acccptcd as thc absolutc loundation ol philoso-
phy; in thc othcr, ccrtain pattcrns ol cognition arc mistakcnly
thought to bc absolutc, and translormcd by a scrics ol sophis-
tical rcasoning into an cthcrcal ‘‘objcct ol cognition.’’ And yct
cach ol thcsc schools considcrs itscll to bc thc truc hcir ol
Kantian criticism. Òl coursc, cohcrcncc and scll-accountability,
strict logic and conccptual clarity, in othcr words, critical scll-
control arc dcsirablc lor all, and who would rclusc to bc a criti-
cal philosophcr in this scnsc!—in lact wc all likc to considcr
oursclvcs as such.
15
All crcativc philosophical minds havc un-
doubtcdly bccn truly critical philosophcrs, lor thcy clarificd onc
or anothcr qucstion and introduccd ncw problcms; it would bc
naivc to think that thcrc was no philosophical criticism bclorc
Kant. Actually, this assumption bcars no rclation to historical
lact. At thc samc timc, thcrc is no particular ‘‘invcntor’s sccrct’’
that holds thc kcy to all philosophical criticism. Contcmporary
‘‘criticism’’ is mcrcly a scholastic oricntation bascd on a tcrribly
cxaggcratcd cvaluation ol Kant and his (supposcd) ‘‘Copcrni-
can philosophical achicvcmcnt.’’ Vc can scc thc philosophical
illncss ol modcrnity in nco-Kantian criticism, that ‘‘alchcmy ol
cognition’’
16
ol our day; pcrhaps it rcprcscnts thc twilight ol
philosophy.
Thc contcmporary argumcnt bctwccn dogmatism and criti-
cism can bc rcduccd to thc qucstion ol cstablishing normal
rclations bctwccn thc practicc ol lilc in its immediacy, its im-
mcrsion in thc objcct ol knowlcdgc,
17
with its concomitant in-
distinguishability ol subjcct and objcct, or lorm and contcnt,
a priori and a postcriori, on onc hand, and, on thc othcr, criti-
cism, which cxprcsscs reflection with rcspcct to thc givcn act ol
knowlcdgc and is alrcady a sccondary potcntial, to usc Fichtc’s
cxprcssion.
18
Thc critical invcstigation ol knowlcdgc is always a
sccond story crcctcd on a givcn loundation; it is rcflcction with
rcspcct to a lact ol knowlcdgc that has alrcady takcn placc.
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As Fichtc says about his !issenschaftslehre |Thcory ol scicncc|,
and as can bc applicd to all Erkenntnisslehre |thcorics ol cog-
nition|, ‘‘not onc ol its thoughts, statcmcnts, or dcclarations is
takcn lrom rcal lilc, nor docs it corrcspond to rcal lilc. Thcsc
arc propcrly thoughts about thoughts which onc has or ought
to havc, statcmcnts about statcmcnts . . . , dcclarations about
dcclarations.’’
19
¡vcry act ol knowlcdgc, as an act ol lilc, is in
this scnsc ncccssarily dogmatic, that is, distinguishcd by its im-
mcdiacy, scll-absorption, and unrcflcctivc scll-sufficicncy. Such
also was, ol coursc, thc Critique of Pure Feason as it was con-
ccivcd in thc mind ol its author, bclorc, as a rcady product, it
bccamc a touchstonc on which thc critical micc could sharpcn
thcir tccth. Thought and knowlcdgc arc crcativc acts, and crc-
ativity is immcdiatc: crcativc notions and idcas arc conccivcd
in thc consciousncss, not labricatcd in a critical laboratory likc
a homunculc. So thcrc can bc no critical guidclincs that would
rcally tcach us how to wicld thc instrumcnts ol knowlcdgc,
lor criticism arrivcs only post lactum and is a rcflcction on an
alrcady complctcd act ol cognition. For this rcason it is im-
possiblc to lcarn criticism, and prolcssional ‘‘criticism’’ is an
cmpty prctcnsion. Thought and knowlcdgc cannot bc bascd on
or justificd by criticism, lor thcy thcmsclvcs arc lacts, cxisting
bclorc any criticism and indcpcndcnt ol it. Criticism cngagcs
in thc analysis and dcscription ol givcns ol knowlcdgc, but it
is not its lcgislator. Hcrc it is appropriatc to rcmcmbcr Hcgcl’s
words, born ol thc immcdiacy ol philosophical powcr, ol thc
vcry dcpth ol thought’s scll-consciousncss.
Critical philosophy’s main point is that, bclorc
procccding to knowlcdgc ol God, thc csscncc ol
things and so on, wc must first invcstigatc thc pos-
sibility of cognition and whcthcr it is applicablc to
such tasks; first wc must study thc instrument wc
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intcnd to usc to accomplish our task; il it is no
good, all ol our labor will havc bccn in vain. This
thought sccmcd so plausiblc that it provokcd much
surprisc and sympathy, and divcrtcd thc attcntion
ol cognition lrom objccts to its own scll, i.c., to
lormal principlcs. !l, howcvcr, wc arc not dcccivcd
by words, wc can scc that othcr instrumcnts can bc
invcstigatcd and cvaluatcd only upon thcir pcrlor-
mancc ol thc task lor which thcy arc intcndcd. 8ut
thc invcstigation ol knowlcdgc cannot bc undcr-
takcn othcrwisc that through cognition itscll; to in-
vcstigatc such a ‘‘tool’’ mcans nothing othcr than
to cngagc in cognition. 8ut to wish to know bc-
lorc knowlcdgc is just as ridiculous [ungereimt] as
thc scholastic’s wisc rulc—to lcarn to swim bclorc
jumping in thc watcr.
20
Thcrc is no movcmcnt, said thc bcardcd cldcr,
Thc othcr was silcnt and bcgan to walk bclorc him . . .
Ælexander Pushkin
Criticism, which would likc to bc logical and to lcavc noth-
ing without critical rcflcction, movcs in a circlc and rcscmblcs a
snakc trying to catch its own tail. For as it critically invcstigatcs
immcdiatc, ‘‘dogmatic,’’ unrcflcctivc knowlcdgc—knowlcdgc,
so to spcak, ol thc first potcntial—it promotcs this knowlcdgc
to thc sccond potcntial and rccrcatcs thc samc first potcntial
in a ncw cognitivc act—that is, it knows immcdiatcly, unrc-
flcctivcly, immcrsing itscll in thc objcct ol its knowlcdgc. To
put it in contcmporary languagc, it commits thc mortal sin ol
‘‘psychologism,’’ and thcrclorc a criticism ol criticism bccomcs
ncccssary, that is, knowlcdgc ol a third potcntial, which in turn
rcquircs knowlcdgc ol a lourth, filth, . . . n, n ÷ . . . . potcn-
tial. !n othcr words, wc havc hcrc a regressus in infinitum
21
—cvil
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infinity prcciscly whcrc wc nccd a finitc quantity, all ol which
shows thc lalscncss ol thc problcm itscll.
Knowlcdgc is rational by naturc; it is, or at lcast strivcs to
bccomc, an organism ol conccpts and judgmcnts. !n rclation
to thc alogical-logical lullncss ol lilc it is abstract and mcdi-
atcd, but, at thc samc timc, as living action, it is immcdiatc and
‘‘dogmatic,’’ and this living dogmatism ol knowlcdgc cannot bc
dissolvcd by any criticism. Òn thc contrary, wc must admit that
it is this dogmatism that makcs criticism possiblc and is tac-
itly acknowlcdgcd by criticism. Conscqucntly, dogmatism and
criticism arc conncctcd and intcrrclatcd, not opposcd and hos-
tilc to cach othcr. Thc practicc ol knowlcdgc, which originatcs
in thc dcpths ol lilc, is immcdiatc, naivc, dogmatic; knowlcdgc
rcflccting on itscll, chccking itscll, tcsting itscll, is critical.
This is how ! pcrccivc thc problcm ol thc critiquc ol knowl-
cdgc.
Thc abovc in no way dcnics thc problcms ol thc thcory ol
knowlcdgc, nor docs it diminish its importancc as a scicntific
or philosophical disciplinc; rathcr, ! wish only to rclutc its sig-
nificancc as a lcgislator ol knowlcdgc and thc assumption that a
thcory ol knowlcdgc must prcccdc knowlcdgc itscll. Two typcs
ol problcm rcmain lor thc thcory ol cognition: thc scicntific
and thc philosophical or, il you will, thc mctaphysical. Thc sci-
cntific task rcduccs to an analysis ol knowlcdgc lrom thc stand-
point ol its gcncral lorms, or a critiquc ol knowlcdgc in thc
propcr scnsc. Thc philosophical task consists in thc cxplanation
ol thc lact ol knowlcdgc, thc cxplication ol its lilc mcaning.
!n thc Critique of Pure Feason, as in thc contcmporary thcory
ol cognition, thcsc two tasks arc lrcqucntly conluscd or insul-
ficicntly distinguishcd dcspitc thcir diffcrcnccs, and this conlu-
sion is intcntional, lor it is in kccping with thc spirit ol Kant’s
cntirc systcm. Thc philosophy ol knowlcdgc gcncrally and thc
philosophy ol scicncc in particular arc ncccssary and important
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divisions ol philosophy, although thcy may havc a vcry diffcr-
cnt significancc lrom that now attributcd to thcm by ‘‘scicntific
philosophy.’’
\. A Pvvii:ix~vy Ðvvixi)iox ov ¡coxo:y
!n thc currcnt cmpirical world, ‘‘lilc livcs’’ only in a constant
strugglc with dcath. Thc ‘‘organic’’ world, thc kingdom ol lilc
in its various lorms, is surroundcd by a hostilc atmosphcrc ol
dcath, ol thc dcadcncd and mcchanistic, ol stifling ncccssity.
Undcr ‘‘thc hcavy shroud ol graying skics,’’ undcr this lcadcn
sky, on a poisoncd, plaguc-riddcn carth, lilc sccms a sort ol
accidcnt, an ovcrsight or indulgcncc ol thc part ol dcath. ¡n-
circlcd by a ring ol dcath, constantly thrcatcncd by thc yawning
abyss ol nonbcing, lilc timidly and stingily huddlcs in thc cor-
ncrs ol thc univcrsc, saving itscll lrom final cxtcrmination only
through a tcrriblc strugglc. For il it cannot bc complctcly cx-
tcrminatcd, lilc is constantly in thc proccss ol bcing dcstroycd
as it bccomcs thc prcy ol nonbcing, waiting to strikc lrom all
sidcs and in all guiscs. Lilc is not scparatcd lrom nonbcing by
an impcnctrablc wall that would makc thcsc attcmpts lutilc. !t
is impcrlcct in itscll, lor it is lragilc, tcmporary, mortal.
Thc cocxistcncc ol lilc with dcath, thc living with thc non-
living, thc matcrial, is onc ol rcality’s grcatcst paradoxcs and an
ctcrnal riddlc lor thc mind. Thcrc is only lilc, and all that cxists,
cxists only in thc light ol lilc. Things, so-callcd dcad naturc,
that is, cvcrything in which thc signs ol lilc arc apparcntly
abscnt, arc only a minus ol lilc, its ncgativc cocfficicnt, but out-
sidc ol this dcfinition, which, though ncgativc, is cxprcsscd in
tcrms ol lilc, things turn into phantoms and disappcar. Thcy
arc visiblc only in thc light ol lilc, as objccts cmcrgc lrom thc
mconic darkncss ol nonbcing (potcntial bcing) whcn thc sun
riscs and disappcar again into nonbcing in thc dark ol night.
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¡vcn dcath cxists only thanks to lilc and in its light; dcath is
nonlife, lor it is dcfincd only as thc ncgation ol lilc; it is but
thc shadow ol lilc, and outsidc ol lilc it is nothing, it docs
not cxist—‘‘God madc not dcath’’ (Visd. ol Sol. .:.¡), it docs
not havc an indcpcndcnt strcngth ol bcing. Vc cannot say that
thc absolutc nothing (o„k ‹n, in contrast to thc positivc il in-
dcfinitc m| ‹n) is; it drags along its contingcnt cxistcncc as a
shadow ol bcing, or its mirror imagc, rcquiring somc kind ol
truc bcing lor its phantom cxistcncc. Still, thc strugglc bctwccn
lilc and dcath, light and darkncss, thc living and thc thing-
likc, pcnctratcs our cntirc lilc, rcndcring it impcrlcct, limitcd,
nonabsolutc.
!l thc strugglc ol lilc and dcath is so irrcsolvablc on thc sur-
lacc ol world bcing, thcn this is only bccausc this strugglc takcs
placc also insidc bcing, in thc vcry hcart ol thc world, which is
capablc ol supporting only mortal life, that is, lilc that, although
absolutc and cxtratcmporal in its mctaphysical charactcr, yct,
in lull contradiction to its csscncc, is not absolutc in its lac-
tual cxistcncc. Mctaphysically, thc dcath ol thc living is not
only unnatural but scll-contradictory, and hcncc logically in-
conccivablc; wc cannot think through this conccpt bccausc ol
its inncr inconsistcncy, and yct cmpirically this has bccomc thc
most gcncral and prolound lawol cxistcncc. This paradox holds
a riddlc lor thought. Vc havc bccomc so accustomcd to dcath,
to thc vcry idca ol mortal lilc, that wc arc no longcr amazcd
by this contradiction, which is howcvcr much dccpcr and morc
radical than in such juxtapositions as, lor cxamplc, hot icc, cold
hcat, black whitcncss.
Noncthclcss, howcvcr wc may cxplain it, at prcscnt only mor-
tal lilc cxists in thc world, and this is so widcsprcad that dcath
has bccomc an attributc and sign ol lilc—lor only thc living can
dic. Conscqucntly, lilc is affirmcd in thc kingdom ol dcath that
surrounds it on all sidcs and pcnctratcs into all ol its porcs. Lilc
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can thcrclorc bc only an unccasing strugglc with dcath; it is
achicvcd not passivcly but in thc constant tcnsion ol battlc. Thc
strugglc lor lilc against thc powcrs ol dcath—in an ontologi-
cal as wcll as a biological scnsc—is thc most gcncral dcfinition
ol cxistcncc. Ðcath constrains lilc to thc point ol mutual scll-
dcstruction: thc Ðarwinian strugglc lor survival! Ðcath uscs
thc lilc ol somc as a tool lor thc dcath ol othcrs; thc victory
ol lilc in onc point actually bccomcs thc victory ol dcath in
anothcr.
Vc cxpcricncc thc strugglc lor lilc as imprisonmcnt by nc-
ccssity, by thc dcadcncd mcchanism ol naturc, by thc ‘‘cmpty
and bustling clcmcnts’’ ol thc world, all ol which thrcatcn onc
thing: dcath. Cold and hcat, log, rain, drought, a hurricanc,
a rivcr, an occan—all arc hostilc, and all thrcatcn lilc. 8lind
ncccssity, unintclligiblc raging clcmcnts, dcadcncd mcchanism,
iron latc—thcsc arc all guiscs in which thc spirit ol nonbcing,
‘‘thc princc ol this world,’’ Ðcath, appcars.
Thc dcad mask ol thingncss, alicnation, impcnctrability lor
man lics upon naturc, and only thc choscn sccrs know that, in
rcality,
Naturc is not what you think,
Not an cmpty, soullcss lacc,
!t has a soul, it has lrccdom,
!t has lovc, it has a languagc.
Fedor Tiutche.
8ut cvcn thcy rcccivc this rcvclation only in momcnts ol
poctic inspiration; cvcn lor thcm, thc samc world ol things,
a dcad dcscrt undcr a lcadcn sky, whcrc dcath and dcstruc-
tion wait on cvcry stcp, cxists in cvcryday rcality. Thc living
bcing lccls itscll thc slavc ol ncccssity and mcchanism. Lilc,
in contrast to thc iron ncccssity ol mcchanism, is thc prin-
ciplc ol lrccdom and organicism, that is, lrcc intcntionality.
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Thc strugglc ol thc tclcological with thc mcchanical principlc,
ol thc organism with thc mcchanism, is thc strugglc ol lilc
and dcath. Thc organism conqucrs thc mcchanism, although
without climinating it as causality. Thc law ol thc organism
is Schclling’s causality through lrccdom (Kausalitat durch die
Freiheit), or ascism. Vc can say that thc cntirc world-historical
proccss procccds lrom thc contradiction bctwccn mcchanism,
or thingncss, and organism, or lilc, and lrom naturc’s cffort
to transccnd mcchanism—thc principlc ol ncccssity—within
itscll in ordcr to translorm itscll into an organism—thc prin-
ciplc ol cosmic lrccdom, thc victory ol lilc, or pan.oism.
Thc immcdiatc cxprcssion ol this subjugation ol bcing to
thc princc ol darkncss, to thc spirit ol dcath and nonbcing, is
man’s latclul dcpcndcncc on thc satislaction ol his lowcr, ani-
mal, so-callcd matcrial nccds, without which lilc cannot cxist.
Thc strugglc lor lilc is thcrclorc first ol all thc strugglc lor lood,
and in this man rcscmblcs all thc rcst ol thc animal world. !nso-
lar as this rcscmblancc cxists, thc cntirc human cconomy can bc
sccn as a particular casc ol thc biological strugglc lor cxistcncc.
Thus cvcry living bcing, including man, must dclcnd its
cxistcncc, protcct lilc lrom dcath. 8ut this dclcnsivc rclation
docs not cxhaust thc strugglc lor lilc, lor it scizcs thc first
possiblc opportunity to bccomc an offcnsivc battlc, striving to
confirm and broadcn lilc, to tamc thc antagonistic clcmcnts ol
naturc and to subjugatc naturc’s lorccs to its aims. Thc tcrrito-
rics ol lrccdom and ncccssity arc in constant flux with rcspcct
to cach othcr; lilc—lrccdom—sccks to cxpand its acquisitions
and to surround itscll with a sphcrc ol cvcr-incrcasing radius.
This strugglc to broadcn thc sphcrc ol lilc and lrccdom at thc
cxpcnsc ol ncccssity, in which lilc translorms thc conqucrcd
picccs ol mcchanism into parts ol its organism and mclts thc
cold mctal ol thingncss in thc firc ol lilc, can takc various lorms;
it can procccd with primitivc instrumcnts or with all thc tools
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ol knowlcdgc, but its contcnt rcmains thc samc: thc dclcnsc ol
lilc and thc broadcning ol its sphcrc, thc transccnsion ol thc
dcad mcchanism through thc lorccs ol lilc, in othcr words—
thc crcation ol lilc. Thc two aspccts ol this activity—thc dc-
lcnsivc and thc offcnsivc, thc protcction and thc broadcning ol
lilc—arc incxtricably conncctcd, arc but diffcrcnt sidcs ol thc
samc proccss. Howcvcr succcsslul this strugglc may bc, it still
cannot bc stoppcd at will; it is lorccd rathcr than voluntary.
Thc strugglc against thc antagonistic lorccs ol naturc lor
thc purposc ol dclcnding, affirming, and broadcning lilc, with
thc aim ol conqucring and taming thcsc lorccs, bccoming thcir
master, or proprietor, is in lact what—in thc broadcst and most
prcliminary lashion—wc call economy. ¡conomy in this scnsc is
charactcristic ol all living things, ol thc animal as wcll as thc
human world: Vhy can’t wc spcak ol thc cconomy ol bccs or
ants, or ol thc cconomic mcaning and contcnt ol thc animal
strugglc lor cxistcncc. Yct in thc prccisc scnsc ol thc word, cco-
nomic activity is charactcristic only ol man, and it includcs, as
particular and subordinatc clcmcnts, aspccts ol thc cconomy ol
thc animal world. Thc traits distinguishing human lrom animal
cconomy will bc clarificd at a latcr point.
Thus cconomy is thc strugglc ol humanity with thc clcmcn-
tal lorccs ol naturc with thc aim ol protccting and widcning
lilc, conqucring and humanizing naturc, translorming it into a
potcntial human organism. Thc cconomic proccss can thcrclorc
bc dcscribcd also as lollows: it cxprcsscs thc striving to trans-
lorm dcad matcrial, acting in accordancc with mcchanical nc-
ccssity, into a living body with its organic cohcrcncc; in thc cnd,
thc aim ol this proccss can bc dcfincd as thc translormation ol
thc cntirc cosmic mcchanism into a potcntial or actual organ-
ism, thc transccnsion ol ncccssity through lrccdom, mcchanism
through organism, causality through intcntionality—that is, as
thc humani.ation of nature. Thc task ol cconomy is dctcrmincd
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prcciscly by this disintcgration ol bcing, thc contradiction and
mutual limitation ol lrccdom and ncccssity, lilc and dcath: il
absolutc, immortal lilc rcigncd in thc world (and, conscqucntly,
thc univcrsc wcrc a univcrsal organism), il thcrc wcrc no room
in thc world lor mcchanism with thc thrcat ol dcath, thcn thc
only lorm ol causality would bc causality through lrccdom or
tclcology; likcwisc, il lilc wcrc complctcly dcstroycd, and thc
kingdom ol dcad mcchanism kncw no bounds, thc world would
find itscll in thc dark night ol nonbcing, lacking thc illumi-
nation ol lilc and lrccdom. Thc actual statc ol bcing is an
unfinishcd, transitional stagc, a prccarious balancc, which sccks
to acquirc stability in thc vcry proccss ol strugglc. ¡conomy is
thc cxprcssion ol thc strugglc ol thcsc two mctaphysical prin-
ciplcs—lilc and dcath, lrccdom and ncccssity, mcchanism and
organism. Thc progrcss ol cconomy is thc victory ol thc orga-
nizing lorccs ol lilc ovcr thc disintcgrating lorccs and dccds ol
dcath, but is it rcally a victory ovcr its mctaphysical csscncc.
¡conomy is thc strugglc with thc mortal lorccs ol thc princc ol
darkncss, but is it capablc ol standing up to thc princc himscll.
!s cconomy capablc ol chasing dcath lrom thc world and, by
conqucring dcath, to transccnd its own condition. Òr, instcad,
is it impossiblc to curc thc illncss ol thc hcart ol thc world, poi-
soncd by dcath, through cconomic activity. !s a ncw crcativc
act ol thc Ðivinity, through thc lorcc ol Him who ‘‘conqucrcd
dcath’’ rcquircd to ‘‘dcstroy thc final cncmy—dcath’’. This final
qucstion wc posc hcrc simply as a logical boundary; its discus-
sion bclongs to thc cschatology ol cconomy (in thc sccond part
ol this work).
8ut il cconomy is a lorm ol thc strugglc ol lilc and dcath,
and is a tool ol lilc’s scll-affirmation, thcn wc say with as much
ccrtainty that economy is a function of death, induccd by thc nc-
ccssity to dclcnd lilc. !n its most basic motivation it is unlrcc
activity, lor this motivation is thc lcar ol dcath, charactcris-
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tic ol all living things. Howcvcr lar man gocs in his cconomic
progrcss, hc rcmains a slavc, subjcct to dcath, cvcn as hc bc-
comcs a mastcr.
!n dcfining cconomy as thc actual dclcnsivc-offcnsivc rcla-
tion ol man to naturc, wc cxpand its boundarics, apparcntly
larthcr than acccptcd in political cconomy, which is limitcd by
thc aims and possibilitics ol spccializcd invcstigation.
22
Thc charactcristic distinguishing cconomic activity is thc
prcscncc ol effort, labor, dircctcd toward a particular goal. Econ-
omy is the acti.ity of labor. Labor, and particularly involuntary
labor, dcfincs cconomy. !n this scnsc cconomy can bc dcfincd
as thc strugglc, through labor, lor lilc and its cxpansion; labor
is thc basis ol lilc lrom an cconomic point ol vicw. Lilc ariscs
naturally through birth, that is, without thc conscious appli-
cation ol labor, but maintaining it through cconomy alrcady
rcquircs work. Labor is that valuc that brings lilc-supporting
goods. This truth lics likc a dark anticipation at thc basis ol thc
so-callcd labor thcory ol valuc in political cconomy.
‘‘All cconomic goods arc thc product ol labor.’’
23
Rodbcr-
tus’s lormula, which rcflccts pcrlcctly thc gcncral worldvicw
ol political cconomy, rctains its accuracy and mcaning outsidc
thc limits ol thc disciplinc. Vithin political cconomy, particu-
larly in thc ‘‘thcory ol valuc,’’ it rcccivcs an cxccssivcly narrow,
matcrialistic, and mcrcantilc dcfinition; it bcars thc stamp ol
cconomic matcrialism, as wcll as ol thc conscious onc-sidcdncss
ol our ficld ol spccialization. Alrcady lrom its conccption—in
mcrcantilism, in thc writings ol thc Physiocrats as wcll as ol
Adam Smith and othcr rcprcscntativc ol thc classical school,
and, finally, in socialism—political cconomy strivcs to dcfinc
morc cxactly thc conccpt ol ‘‘productivc,’’ that is, cconomic
labor, in ordcr to dclimit thc ficld ol spccific invcstigation,
which would othcrwisc cxpand infinitcly to includc all cultural
scicnccs. !n political cconomy this intcntional narrowncss lcads
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to a onc-sidcdncss and vulgarity in its conclusions; lor thc phi-
losophy ol cconomy this intcntional narrowing ol pcrspcctivc
would bc not only unncccssary but cvcn harmlul. ¡conomy in
its csscncc includcs human labor in all its applications, lrom thc
workcr to Kant, lrom thc sowcr to thc astronomcr. Thc dis-
tinguishing trait ol cconomy is thc rc-crcation or acquisition
ol goods, matcrial or spiritual, through labor, as opposcd to rc-
cciving thcm as a gilt. This human activity is thc lulfillmcnt ol
God’s word—In the s.eat of thy face shalt thou eat bread—and
this includcs all brcad, that is, spiritual as wcll as matcrial lood:
it is through cconomic labor, in thc swcat ol our lacc, that wc
must not only producc matcrial goods but crcatc all ol culturc.
Thc world as houschold is thc world as thc objcct ol labor,
and to this dcgrcc also thc product ol labor. Labor is thc tradc-
mark ol cconomy; in this thc labor thcory ol valuc is corrcct, as
is political cconomy, which accuratcly lccls thc univcrsal, cos-
mic significancc ol labor, although it is incapablc ol cxprcssing
it propcrly.
!s labor dcfinablc. Thcrc arc cfforts to dcfinc labor in politi-
cal cconomy, but thcy pursuc spccific goals in conjunction with
thc thcory ol valuc and arc unsucccsslul cvcn in thcir limitcd
aims; lurthcrmorc, thcy arc too matcrialistic to satisly us. Labor
is thc cxpcnditurc ol ncrvous-muscular cncrgy—such, lor cx-
amplc, is Marx’s widcsprcad and influcntial dcfinition. 8ut, thc
insufficicncy ol such a dcfinition lor mcntal labor asidc, it is
not difficult to scc that this cxpcnditurc ol cncrgy is only thc
cxprcssion ol labor. Labor in its inncr basis, as a lccling ol
outwardly dircctcd cffort, is not subjcct to any dcfinition, al-
though cxpcricncc and obscrvation rcvcal its manilcstation to
bc activc will, an activc cffort to comc out ol oncscll. Thc ca-
pacity lor labor is onc ol thc charactcristics ol a living bcing;
it cxprcsscs thc flamc and sharpncss ol lilc. Ònly hc livcs lully
who is capablc ol labor and who actually cngagcs in labor.
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Thc principlc ol labor is rclatcd, and, in a scnsc contra-
dictory, to thc natural or ‘‘givcn’’ principlc. Economy, as thc
rc-crcation and cxpansion ol lilc through labor, is oppositc to
nature, as thc totality ol what is givcn (to man), thc ‘‘natural’’
lorccs ol lilc and its growth. Man is born not through an cco-
nomic act; hc dcvclops in his mothcr’s womb and grows altcr
birth, gaining physical and spiritual strcngth, finding spiritual
lorccs within himscll. All sorts ol proccsscs in naturc takc placc
indcpcndcntly ol cconomic activity, and thc univcrsc, in thc
cnd, is not crcatcd through an cconomic act. Rathcr, only thc
univcrsc’s cxistcncc cstablishcs thc subjcctivc and objcctivc pos-
sibility ol cconomic activity, including both thc capacity and
possibility lor labor. ¡conomic activity is in this scnsc but a
part ol thc lilc ol thc univcrsc, a momcnt in its growth. 8ut at
thc samc timc it is a ncccssary momcnt, includcd in thc plan
ol thc univcrsc as thc cmpirical manilcstation ol scll-conscious
lilc. Culturc—thc cxpansion ol lilc through rcalizcd labor—rc-
quircs naturc as a prccondition (in thc scnsc ol its prccultural
or cxtracultural, cxtra-cconomic statc). Naturc without labor,
without a working culturc, is incapablc ol rcvcaling all ol its
lorccs, at lcast in man; it cannot abandon its drcamy statc. Òn
thc othcr hand, culturc has no crcativc powcrs that arc not al-
rcady givcn in naturc. And cvcn through all ol our cfforts (that
is, through all thc powcrs ol culturc) wc cannot add so much
as an cxtra cubit to our hcight, in thc words ol thc Savior.
Naturc is thus thc natural basis ol culturc; it is thc matcrial lor
cconomic activity; outsidc ol naturc, cconomic activity is as in-
conccivablc and impossiblc as concrctc cxpcricncc is impossiblc
outsidc ol lilc.
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Copyright ©  by Yale University. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, including illustrations, in any form (beyond that copying permitted by Sections  and  of the U.S. Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public press), without written permission from the publishers. Printed in the United States of America. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Bulgakov, Sergei Nikolaevich, –. [Filosofiia khoziaistva. English] Philosophy of economy : the world as household / Sergei Bulgakov ; translated, edited, and with an introduction by Catherine Evtuhov. p. cm. — (Russian literature and thought) Includes bibliographical references and index.  --- . Economics—Philosophy. I. Evtuhov, Catherine. II. Title. III. Series. .   '.—dc – A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. The paper in this book meets the guidelines for permanence and durability of the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity of the Council on Library Resources.          

C

Introduction by Catherine Evtuhov /  Philosophy of Economy: The World as Household Preface /    The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy I Contemporary ‘‘Economism’’ /  II Philosophy and Life /  III Philosophy and Science /  IV Criticism and Dogmatism /  V A Preliminary Definition of Economy /    The Natural-Philosophical Bases of the Theory of Economy I Idealism and Natural Philosophy /  II Schelling’s Philosophy /    The Significance of the Basic Economic Functions I Consumption /  II Production / 

v

  On the Transcendental Subject of Economy I Man and Humanity /  II The Sophic Economy /    The Nature of Science I The Multiplicity of Scientific Knowledge /  II The Economic Nature of Science /  III The Sophic Nature of Science /  IV Epistemology and Praxeology /  V Science and Life /  VI On the ‘‘Scientific Worldview’’ /  VII Science’s Self-Consciousness / 

  Economy as a Synthesis of Freedom and Necessity I Freedom and Causality /  II Freedom and Necessity /  III The Spirit of Economy /  IV Freedom as Power, Necessity as Impotence /    The Limits of Social Determinism I The Style of Social Science /  II Sociologism and Historicism /  III The Problem of Social Politics / 

vi / Contents

  The Phenomenology of Economy I The Task of Political Economy /  II Political Economy’s Scientific Style /    Economic Materialism as a Philosophy of Economy I Economic Materialism as Philosophy and as Science /  II The Contradictions of Economic Materialism /  Notes /  Glossary of Greek Terms /  Glossary of Names /  Index /  Contents / vii .

questioned. by a rejection of old moral norms and a taste for the good life. Sergei Bulgakov (–) was one of the major figures of the Silver Age. by a joyful creative energy and a worldly decadence. a veritable explosion in all spheres of cultural and artistic life from literature. he was at the forefront of the intelligentsia’s rejection of Marxism and turn to Christianity in the s and s. when people pause in their usual activities to reflect on the direction of their civilization and to wonder what the future might hold. painting.1 It was a moment when thinkers and writers reflected on. and tried to formulate the bases on which their society rested. in the final years of the nineteenth century. The cities of Europe— from Paris to St. In Russia the twentieth century was ushered in by a whirlwind of creative activity. Author of the leading articles in the seminal publications Problemy idealizma  . and music to theater and ballet. This movement—the ‘‘Silver Age’’ of Russian culture—was accompanied by an equally intense philosophical search. by a passion for introspection and experimentation.Introduction C        E       The end of a century and the beginning of a new one can be a moment of self-consciousness. His complicated and broken intellectual path is symptomatic of the turbulent and wide-ranging spiritual quest of the early twentieth century. A prominent Marxist intellectual in the s (among those known as ‘‘legal Marxists’’). Petersburg. from Berlin and Vienna to Moscow and Kiev—became consumed.

In the politics of the  revolution. finding pleasure and indeed exaltation in the sense of his own insignificance vis-à-vis the forward march of history. He was also a close friend and collaborator of such figures as Nikolai Berdiaev and Pavel Florensky. Bulgakov’s position was easily identifiable as classic liberalism: he advocated freedom of conscience. but by . and the abolition of autocracy. national self-determination. during his ‘‘second life’’ in Paris he became. As economist. Bulgakov also played an important role in the Union of Liberation and in the revolution of . a constitution. editor. who have since become more familiar in the West. arguably. Marxism’s subjugation of individual well-being in the present for the sake of a shining future seemed to him bothersome. member of the Moscow Religious-Philosophical Society. publicist. freedom of speech (glasnost’). Bulgakov was among the prominent intellectuals exiled from the Soviet Union at the end of . the rule of law. On the simplest level it is Bulgakov’s rejection of Marxism.  / Introduction . the twentieth century’s foremost Orthodox theologian. and eventually delegate to the  All-Russian Council of the Orthodox Church. Sergei Trubetskoy. philosopher. Philosophy of Economy () is a work of social theory. Yet the difficulties of implementing these conditions on Russian soil led Bulgakov. In his youth Bulgakov had reveled in the iron laws of historical materialism. Thus Philosophy of Economy was also an attempt to formulate an alternative philosophy that preserved what Bulgakov considered Marxism’s main insights yet eliminated its disregard for individual human dignity. politician (delegate to the Second Duma). as well as contemporaries such as Semën Frank. Bulgakov combined a deeply serious academic life with equally serious political activity. Bogdan Kistiakovsky.[Problems of idealism] () and the famous Vekhi [Landmarks] (). founder of a Christian Socialist party. Mikhail Gershenzon.

S B: A B B S Sergei Bulgakov was born in the small town of Livny in Orel province. he also began a publicistic career with reviews and articles in left-leaning ‘‘thick journals’’—Mir Bozhii [The world of God]. statistician. to a deeper articulation of the philosophical and spiritual principles that underlay his quest for a society ordered according to just and legal norms. published in . O rynkakh pri kapitalisticheskom proizvodstve [On markets in capitalist conditions of production]. thrust him into the forefront of politiIntroduction /  . Novoe slovo [The new word]. Bulgakov’s biography reiterates the trajectory of the preceding generation of radical intelligentsia—Dobroliubov. to a mother of noble background and a father whose family had been provincial priests for six generations.and others. and others. Shchapov were all seminarians from clerical families who rejected their childhood faith in favor of radical politics. Bulgakov established his reputation as one of Russia’s leading Marxist intellectuals. Chernyshevsky. In this respect.2 Philosophy of Economy was the fruit of these searchings. A student of the famous economist. Like many members of his generation. he was to retain a sense of his original social identity in the provincial ‘‘middle intelligentsia’’ even after he became a prominent representative of the rarefied urban elite. During his years at Moscow University in the s. partly under the influence of German philosophy. Bulgakov was graduated in  and immediately began teaching statistics and political economy at the Moscow Technical Institute. An intensely religious and church-oriented childhood was followed by a loss of faith at the age of fourteen or fifteen. Bulgakov left the seminary and entered the secular gimnaziia in nearby Elets. and teacher Alexander Chuprov.

Bebel. he plunged. European culture. Kapitalizm i zemledelie [Capitalism and agriculture]. with enthusiasm. of working-class organization in turn-of-the-century Germany were very different from the most pressing political issues in Russia. the convinced Marxist. however. even as late as the s. had its surprises: Bulgakov described his encounter with the Sistine Madonna in the Zwinger Gallery in Dresden as a spiritual experience that made him. by  Bulgakov found  / Introduction . break down in pious tears.cal debate with its argument that capitalism could be achieved in Russia without recourse to the external markets that had formed an essential element of capitalist development in western Europe. Like his fellow adherents to the philosophy of socalled legal Marxism (a rather awkward label. where. Like many Russian intellectuals who traveled to the West for the first time (Herzen in Paris in  is the archetypal example). These two years. furthermore. Whether as a result of spiritual doubts or of inconsistencies in his scientific results. Braun. invented by its critics. the problems. On the crest of his success. into German radical politics and also began a doctoral dissertation. too. proved to be an unexpected turning point. Adler. Bulgakov traveled to Berlin (as well as London and Paris) for two years in order to pursue his studies and to make the acquaintance of leaders of the German and Austrian Social Democratic movements—Kautsky. Bulgakov found the practice of revolutionary politics in Europe disillusioning. that referred to believers in Marxism who did nothing illegal and hence were not subject to police persecution). and revolutionary debates centered on the transformation of a completely inadequate organization of agriculture resulting. after all. in frequent famine. Bulgakov believed that capitalism was a necessary stage of development for all nations and therefore denied the possibility of a ‘‘special path’’ for Russia. the industrial proletariat was small and weak.

it difficult to conclude his dissertation. Bulgakov was in a state of spiritual crisis. the impossibility of any generalized description of capitalist society. The massive work. This crisis was to establish the new parameters of Bulgakov’s intellectual life for the ensuing two decades. When he returned to Russia in . which he had originally conceived in a Marxist vein. France. but he ultimately found in Orthodoxy a system of beliefs that could replace his Marxist creed of the s. from this moment began an intensive search for a worldview to replace the Marxism that had proved inadequate.’’ which described the intellectual trajectory of an entire generation of Russian intellectuals. hence. Germany. Ireland. which investigated agricultural structures in England. and philosophy known as the Silver Age. and then (beginning in ) in Moscow. He experimented with neo-Kantianism in the early s. in protest at government policy toward the university. and the United States. Philosophy of Economy was a result of the preceding decade’s search and Bulgakov’s most important contribution to the philosophy of this immensely fruitful creative period. more significant. In this capacity he became the inventor of the slogan ‘‘From Marxism to Idealism. literature. but he continued to teach at the Moscow Commercial Institute. The external aspects of Bulgakov’s life remained constant: between  and the  revolution he taught political economy. He resigned from Moscow University with a group of  of the most prominent professors in . which had been founded by Muscovite merchants in . first in Kiev. Bulgakov the once-prominent Marxist now became an equally prominent participant in the renewal in art. at the university and also at the Polytechnical Institute. Introduction /  . But. Bulgakov experienced and gave voice to the period’s ‘‘discovery’’ of idealism and eventually of Christianity. ended by asserting the inapplicability of Marxist theory to agriculture and.

In this capacity. Bulgakov also became a major figure in a widespread movement for a religious ‘‘reformation’’ of society among the intelligentsia. Bulgakov became disillusioned with politics after the failure of the radical Second Duma. at the end of  he became one of the boatload of prominent intellectuals to be literally shipped out of Russia by the new Soviet regime. This movement (similar to contemporary developments in Germany) sought to bring about social reform by instituting changes in the church and by bringing the church and the secular intelligentsia closer together. following a long and circuitous journey. Bulgakov was an active member of the liberation movement. Bulgakov was a founder of the Moscow Religious-Philosophical Society and editor of a religious publishing house. After a short while in Prague and Berlin. Bulgakov went to Paris and began his new life as an Orthodox theologian  / Introduction . he took holy orders and thus. Bulgakov’s evolution away from Marxism and toward Orthodox Christianity culminated in  when. he tried to found an alternative Christian Socialist party as a Duma delegate. Soon afterward he left Moscow for the Crimea. and wrote the agrarian program eventually to be adopted by the Kadets. he contributed to its radical newspaper. returned to the faith of his childhood. but with limited success. whose insistence on the expropriation of gentry lands met with absolute rejection from the government. One of the founding members of the Union of Liberation (to become the core of the Constitutional Democratic (‘‘Kadet’’) Party) in . up to Stolypin’s dismissal of the Second Duma in . he also briefly published a religious newspaper. Osvobozhdenie [Liberation].At the same time. Unsatisfied with Western-style political parties. and became a delegate to the  All-Russian Council of the Orthodox Church. put out the thick journal Voprosy zhizni [Questions of life]. following the Bolshevik victory.

who was seen as a primary proponent of maIntroduction /  . the questioning of dominant nineteenth-century beliefs frequently involved a reevaluation of Marxism (as well as Feuerbach. and naturalism. and society. that the central doctrine of his theology. In social thought. This final period of Bulgakov’s activity continued entirely within the church. During the years between his emigration and his death in . for these thinkers. Stuart Hughes. Bulgakov wrote a number of significant theological works as well as popularizations of Orthodox doctrine. Bulgakov’s sophiology was condemned as heresy in  by the Moscow patriarchate.’’ 4 At the turn of the twentieth century. that is. with positivism’s faith in the capacity of science to resolve human problems: positivism’s critics revolted with equal force against materialism. literature. have come to summarize as the ‘‘revolt against positivism. rejected a number of scientific and philosophical attitudes associated. mechanism. whose magnitude and intensity surpassed those of any such movement since the Romantic revolt against the Enlightenment. in a secular context. or ‘‘sophiology. however. it is interesting to note. This intellectual revolution.3 I S V E F: P  E   C  T---C E Bulgakov’s search for a new social philosophy was part of a broader European movement that historians.’’ was first formulated in Philosophy of Economy (see chapter ).and rector of the Paris Institute of Orthodox Theology. thinkers throughout Europe questioned the foundations of nineteenth-century attitudes toward science. following H. the Divine Wisdom. the theory of Sophia. he also became an important figure in the ecumenical movement of the Christian churches.

Bulgakov’s dramatic transition from Marxism to idealism and. seemed to him merely a variant or manifestation of a greater evil: positivism. the revolt against positivism that engaged many of his Russian and European contemporaries. Sorel’s rethinking of Marxism as ‘‘social poetry. When Bulgakov announced the primacy of ethical values in –. coincided with. and formed a part of. Nikolai Berdiaev. He did not merely reject one scientific theory to replace it with another. Bulgakov might be considered the Russian counterpart of Sorel in France and Croce in Italy. as a code of social morality.’’ simultaneously submitting the entire system to reevaluation and criticism. he did so because Marxism. Bulgakov equated positivism with what he called the ‘‘theory of progress. and Semën Frank—when he claimed that positivism. The revolt against positivism took a variety of forms: German neo-Kantianism and neo-idealism. and Saussure’s approach to language as structure (as opposed to the historical researches of nineteenth-century linguists) are a few of the more important examples. rather. with its dialectical world-historical vision of modes of production replacing one another until the ultimate Socialist Golden Age. he quite consciously formulated his Marxism as a Weltanschauung and saw it as subsumed in a concrete metaphysical system called ‘‘positivism. Bulgakov had begun to question the worldview that underlay Marxist economic theory.’’ Freud’s ‘‘discovery’’ of the unconscious. eventually.terialism) and a dissatisfaction with the application of Darwinian theories to social life.’’ Bulgakov spoke for an entire generation of Russian intellectuals—figures such as Dmitri Merezhkovsky.’’ and why did he consider it an inadequate basis for a vision of society? To a large extent. Christianity. What did Bulgakov mean by ‘‘positivism. Petr Struve. provided a vision of history as progress toward a perfect earthly  / Introduction .

precisely because science did not and could not address the problems of metaphysics and of religion directly. But. the goal of the religion of progress was the good of future generations. yet. subjugated the needs of individual human beings here and now for the sake of the vaguely defined future well-being of collective humanity. Belief in science.’’ In his book of this title. the attempt of positivism to establish a scientific religion had failed. scientificity had swallowed up religion and metaphysics. again according to Bulgakov. Bulgakov argued that at no time could man live by science alone. and therefore it demanded the sacrifice of the present one. Bulgakov’s particular answer to Marxism and positivism took the form of a ‘‘philosophy of economy. in other words. in which the mode Introduction /  . positivism had become much more than a scientific theory—the theory of progress had become a theodicy. which itself became deified. people needed metaphysics and religion. Positivism in general and Marxism in particular. Bulgakov replaced Marx’s vision of society as a class struggle based on material interests. if its essential suppositions were elevated to the level of a religion it would provide false direction for human behavior. Given this condition. claiming for itself the rights of both. science had ceased to be science and become a religion. went about refuting him in various ways. ranging from revisionism to Weber’s powerful counterargument of religious and ethical values as a driving force in history. had become its own moral code. had attained the level of a religion. Although his initial questioning of Marxism and positivism had taken place in the final years of the nineteenth century. The turn-of-the-century European critics of Marx. Bulgakov finally formulated his own solution—his original theory of society—only in the s. instead. The subject of this religion was humanity. furthermore.society. depending on the specific reasons for their rejection of Marxism. sacrificing the good of present generations for that of the future.

said Bulgakov. that Marx took to be the only real one. Yet. yet the notion of Sophia  / Introduction .of production determined social forms and ideologies. Bulgakov turned to a way of thinking about society familiar to all eighteenth. in the beauty of a starry sky and a flaming sunrise. analogous to the State of Nature postulated by Locke or Rousseau. This is the world in which we live now. Like many European social theorists. which according to the Old Testament was present with God at the Creation (Prov. But whereas the eighteenth-century theorists proposed the idea of a social contract as a way of regulating relations among people. :–) and ‘‘shines in the world as the primordial purity and beauty of the universe. basing his doctrine of economic materialism on the ‘‘fallen’’ state of humanity. and this is the world. before original sin. in the loveliness of a child and in the gorgeous enchantment of a swaying flower. in this imperfect world Bulgakov turned to a biblical notion—Sophia—as a way out of the mere labor ‘‘in the sweat of our face’’ that characterizes our existence in the fallen world.’’ 5 was an elusive concept that Bulgakov took care never to define precisely: Sophia consisted of the totality of eternal ideas that confronted God at the creation. prisoners to our material needs. mechanized nature. Bulgakov gave the name ‘‘Edenic economy’’— the world as it existed in Paradise.and nineteenth-century Christians: he took as his point of departure an imagined original state in which man and nature lived in perfect harmony. The Divine Wisdom. empirical state in which man must struggle for survival. as well as between them and the government. eking out a painful existence from an unfriendly. To this initial state. Sophia. again following the familiar pattern. with a view at whose crux stood the relation between man and nature. the world in which we currently live is fatally separated from this harmonious existence by the Fall of man—which Bulgakov saw as a ‘‘metaphysical catastrophe’’ that dragged all of creation into a sinful.

to bring it to life. it is love. The economy. Svet nevechernii [The unfading light] (): whereas Philosophy of Economy stands alone as an ‘‘ontology of economy. it is wisdom. even if Eden had been irretrievably lost. the ‘transcendental object’ of economy. to return it to that perfect harmonious existence in love and labor from which Adam and Eve wrenched it with their sin. For Bulgakov. this foundation was clearly and unambiguously Christian.’’ or a study of the general foundations of the economic process. by virtue of their common inspiration and participation in the shared task of nature’s resurrection. it is joyousness. The second part of his answer to Marx was formulated in a book originally intended as the second volume of Philosophy of Economy. In Bulgakov’s vision people’s relations to each other. were defined not by consent or contract but implicitly.6 Bulgakov’s enterprise was to introduce the notion of Sophia into social and economic life. Sophia potentially suffuses the grim world of work and the struggle for survival: in rare moments of revelation. could once again become ‘‘sophic’’: what we must do is find within ourselves this hidden potential for perfection and work to resurrect nature. and thus to complete the cosmic cycle of Fall and Resurrection. a particular cosmology and anthropology’’: ‘‘What is the essence of the world? What is the essence of man? How do we understand the world. and what is man. It was in our power to transform the world. furthermore. What gave this vision its power was not simply its iteration of a coherent argument against Marxism but the fact that it rested on a widely accessible cultural and religious foundation. we catch a glimpse of what life was once like in the Garden of Eden.is in constant flux. i. Introduction /  . to endow it once again with the life and meaning that it had in Paradise. it was Svet nevechernii that provided the argument advanced in the former with ‘‘a particular understanding of the nature of the world and of man. it is play.e.

indeed. and beautiful process.its ‘transcendental subject’? A particular system of cosmology and anthropology is implicit in every philosophy of economy. The idea of the Divine Wisdom was particularly close to Bulgakov because of its important role in the Orthodox (both Greek and Russian) liturgy and in Orthodox iconography. at the same time. Sophia was much broader than Christianity. along with one’s fellow human beings. Yet if Bulgakov’s own roots were in Orthodox Christianity. Bulgakov’s ‘‘sophic economy’’ went further than the insistence on ‘‘individual rights’’ of his days in liberal politics: the new social philosophy affirmed human dignity by attributing meaning and creativity to the most prosaic of tasks in our daily life and work. in a larger. cosmic. moreover. his social philosophy potentially had a more universal appeal. Each furrow plowed. could potentially bring the individual closer to Sophia. yet its value as a social-philosophical concept derives. each page written. The worth and fulfillment of each individual.8 A number of striking features in this vision of life in society mark Philosophy of Economy as one of the variety of original conceptions that constitute the ‘‘modernist’’ enterprise. Among them is Bulgakov’s substitution of a ‘‘resurrective’’ model of  / Introduction . the sense of elusive and beautiful divinity would not be alien to a Muslim or even a Buddhist. from its universality. and this is why we must before all else distinguish and establish the corresponding cosmological teachings as we study the world-views which interest us.’’ 7 Svet nevechernii set out a religious and specifically Orthodox Christian vision of the world that inspired and supported the philosophical and political-economic enterprise undertaken in Philosophy of Economy. was augmented by the very reassurance that one was not alone but was a participant. it had roots in Gnosticism and Judaism and parallels in Platonism (the World Soul).

as we know from Scripture. essential characteristic of the sophic economy was its emphasis on process rather than on ends. Although we must constantly work to reflect the model provided by Sophia in our daily existence. whose notion of the ‘‘thrownness’’ of Dasein corresponds to Bulgakov’s description of history as the result of the Fall. Another. Bulgakov’s sophic economy was also an ethic—but one that prescribed joyful labor ‘‘in Sophia’’ as an antidote to the grim eking out of existence that was so prevaIntroduction /  . but the realization of the life of the future age remains ultimately independent of the earthly goals of mankind. saw human history as a contingent process. eschatological philosophy of history anticipates the use of this same resurrective model by the existentialist philosophers. and particularly Heidegger.history—the Christian cycle of Fall and Resurrection—for the linear ‘‘theory of progress’’ that he had so condemned in positivism. at least in its unadulterated version. related. we have no guarantee that this labor will bring us any closer to a perfect existence. Bulgakov. For positivism. a perfect world. Christianity provided Bulgakov with a means for avoiding the construction of but another utopia: a ‘‘sophic economy’’ was not a paradise to be achieved on earth but a constantly present vision inspiring us to work for the restoration of the harmony of nature and culture that humanity had lost in the Fall. In other words. The end of the world will come. This basic model might include a Hegelian element of revolutionary transformation at key moments of historical development. This Christian. believed that it had discovered an essential insight in its emphasis on labor. apart from being a vision of society. Bulgakov. developing in the conditions of a fallen world. instead. the goal of history lay at the end of a long process in which mankind gradually approached. and finally achieved. despite his rejection of economic materialism as a comprehensive view of the world.

like yoked oxen. From this ocean of life. in which not only the creation of an artistic or intellectual genius but also the life and labor of ordinary people acquires creative meaning. Yet a beneficent fluid bathes us. Darwinian evolutionary theory. Creative Evolution (). Furthermore. but only in the measure in which it concerns the work that is being accomplished and the furrow that is being plowed. Sophia’s constant radiant presence could endow work with meaning and beauty. poised for action. Here. Bulgakov’s sophic economy includes  / Introduction . like Philosophy of Economy. coincides with a similar leap in Bulgakov’s thought from strictly philosophical argumentation to an affirmation of the meaning and joyousness of life that he calls Sophia. and the constant. the profound conviction of a deeper meaning in life than permitted by the ‘‘mechanism’’ of positivist. ‘‘holding a tool in one hand and the flaming torch of knowledge in the other’’ (chapter ). But most important. To act and to know that we are acting. to a heavy task. we are continually drawing something. Bulgakov’s man. Bulgakov’s theory reminds us of contemporary western European ideas. Specifically. whence we draw the very force to labor and to live.lent in life and accepted as necessary by Marxism and other economic doctrines. or at least the intellect that guides it. and we feel that our being.’’ 9 The Bergsonian vision of a theory of knowledge entirely fused with a theory of life betrays a neo-Romantic refutation of positivism shared with Bulgakov. we feel the play of our muscles and joints. as well. builds on the perception of a world constantly in flux. in which we are immersed. joyful creation of one’s own life gave meaning to existence. recalls nothing so much as Henri Bergson’s active and intelligent subject: ‘‘Harnessed. to come into touch with reality and even to live it. The Bergsonian élan vital. has been formed therein by a kind of local concentration. the weight of the plow and the resistance of the soil. such is the function of human intelligence.

In keeping with this new recognition of the ‘‘disparity between external reality and the internal appreciation of that reality. or ‘‘spirit. described society in terms of external forms (institutions. yet wary of dogmatic assertion’’ 11 like his Western counterparts. Bulgakov.’’ of society. characteristic of his age. rather than the governmental forms it took. In this sense. like most social theories of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The originality of his work. from ‘‘objective’’ and clearly visible forms to the more nebulous area of subjective motivation. Bulgakov took the revolt against positivism all the way— Introduction /  . What went on in the mind and soul of the individual social and economic actor—the khoziain. lay in his explicit identification of this ‘‘only partially conscious area’’ as Sophia. was by  no longer interested in institutions: Philosophy of Economy asserted the socially creative and transformative power of the attitude with which economic life was conducted. however.what is perhaps the single characteristic that the many variants of the modernist rejection of positivism had in common: a new attention to things beyond the material world. Sophia was potentially compatible with different types of institutions. Bulgakov’s theory conformed to the shift of focus of social thought. forms of government) by a vision that instead stressed the internal content. and one that complements its rejection of a linear conception of history and emphasis on process rather than ends.’’ 10 the central feature of Bulgakov’s sophic economy. or proprietor—was as essential a part of the economic process as its ultimate goals or organizational structure. is its replacement of a social theory—Marx’s—that. classes. partly as a result of disappointment in the liberation movement’s unsuccessful struggle to throw off autocracy and set up a constitutional form of government in –. Not ‘‘content to dwell in a twilight zone of suspended judgment—open to metaphysical possibilities. an effort to look beyond physical reality to essences invisible to the naked eye.

A P  L: B   N-C R P T Bulgakov was particularly well placed for the revolution in social thought at the turn of the twentieth century. Philosophy of Economy was also a contribution to the contemporary Europe-wide debate on the tasks and limitations of social science. was firmly rooted in concrete social-scientific investigation: the relevant discipline. mechanism. when Durkheim.and ended up with a modernist philosophy that was also deeply religious. Philosophy of Economy. individual behavior. and  / Introduction . like the writings of the European sociologists. which. Bulgakov made a case for the behavior of social collectivities as distinct from. had acquired a high degree of sophistication and extremely broad application in the Russian countryside. Bulgakov argued against his fellow political economists and statisticians. from its inception soon after the emancipation of the peasantry in . they were in fact rejecting certain attitudes—rationalism. LeBon. Despite its metaphysical tone. in the Russian case. In his discussion of freedom and necessity. was statistics. the status of the social sciences. When European thinkers revolted against positivism. who derived prescriptions for individual social action—usually revolutionary or at least radical—from the results of statistical studies: Philosophy of Economy was an effort to preserve individual free will while accepting the picture of society yielded by statistical averages and mathematical calculations. Sorel. and Pareto were discovering the collective as a result of their particular sociological research. and governed by different rules than. and the position of economic materialism as a doctrine.

early education. but it was challenged as early as  by Vladimir Soloviev. many of whom were preoccupied throughout the nineteenth century with the inadequacy of abstract speculation and concerned with the problem of constructing a philosophy that would address life instead of enclosing itself hermetically in an artificial intellectual universe incapable of communication with the outside world. positivism. he had a rich tradition on which to draw. The Russian intellectual tradition of the nineteenth century. Soloviev argued against the ‘‘rationalism’’ of Western philosophy and proposed that philosophy as abstract. and so forth. twenty years before it actually erupted on the European scene. become an almost religious credo for the Russian intelligentsia in the s (of which Turgenev’s Bazarov serves as the classic emblem). Positivism had. although describable in terms familiar from the history of Western thought—Enlightenment.so on—that had been targets for attack by a powerful tradition in Russian thought over the course of the nineteenth century. who perceived a ‘‘crisis in Western philosophy. purely theoretical cognition had nothing more to offer. Following his Romantic predecessors.’’ and specifically a crisis of positivism. Romanticism. Every thinker or philosopher functions within a particular cultural and intellectual tradition whose boundaries are defined both subconsciously—by language. the Slavophiles. Modernism’s challenge to positivism coincided with the issues raised earlier by Soloviev and other Russian thinkers. reading. modernism—remained original and independent in the manner in which it assimilated and combined ideas. indeed. cultural atmosphere—and consciously—by teachers. When Bulgakov challenged the positivist theory of progress and its excessive rationalism and intellectualism. the terms in which he formulated his notion of the sophic economy depended heavily on the efforts of his Russian predecessors. in the Introduction /  .

or political economy. Khoziaistvo in Russian means both ‘‘economy’’ and ‘‘household. and its approaches to the business of philosophizing itself. that placed the inner relation and interaction of man and nature. was premised on an interaction of two disciplines: Bulgakov believed that philosophy and political economy existed in artificial isolation and that insights from each discipline could productively be brought to bear on the other. taxes—but to life in society more generally. or Philosophy of Economy. signifier. his work can be meaningfully interpreted only if elements of this inheritance are taken into account. acceptance and understanding of the terms sign.questions that it singled out as important. Sergei Bulgakov was a Russian thinker in the sense that his ideas inscribed themselves in the intellectual tradition that had taken shape in Russia over the course of the nineteenth century. and to introduce a new epistemological principle. evokes an entire field of shifting mean / Introduction . furthermore. Khoziaistvo. the elements it inserted from more ancient Russian or Byzantine sources. By  Russian thought had developed a comprehensive vocabulary of approaches and concepts as essentially and inextricably interwoven with the ideas they expressed as. for example. interest rates.’’ Khoziaistvo as ‘‘economy’’ refers not merely to attributes of economic life proper—GNP. playing on these various possibilities. labor—into the discipline of philosophy proper. is not a static term. borrowed from political economy—namely. for it refers equally to the process of economic activity or of life in society. budget. This dual definition of filosofiia khoziaistva depended in part on language. The notion of filosofiia khoziaistva. Filosofiia khoziaistva. Bulgakov sought simultaneously to construct a theory of society. subject and object (a concern of idealist philosophy) at its center. a nation’s economy has connotations of the life of a giant household. and signified are essential to a reading of contemporary structuralist philosophy.

like many of his predecessors. Specifically. or ‘‘spirit. What Bulgakov termed an interaction of the disciplines of philosophy and political economy was a restatement of Russian philosophy’s preoccupation with life.’’ of the interaction of man and nature—which. comprise a composite conceptual image. interacting with the world around them.13 it is ‘‘oriented’’ on the fact of economy. ‘‘How is economy possible?’’ 17 The result of these shifting semantic uses is more than a mere rhetorical image.ings that Bulgakov articulates in accordance with various specific contexts and that. 16 and in a conscious play on the Kantian inquiry into knowledge. Both Bulgakov’s emphasis on the inner relation. a fear of theories constructed in the comfort of the philosopher’s study and having no real application: bringing the concerns of political economy to philosophy was a means of introducing the realities of labor.12 it addresses the problem of man and nature. Instead. as we have seen. it is a fully independent concept that reflects a dominant concern of Russian nineteenth-century philosophy: Bulgakov. it poses the question.14 it is an epistemological basis of political economy. that treated human beings as active creatures. Bulgakov gave Introduction /  . taken as a whole. wealth.15 it is a continuation of Schelling’s Naturphilosophie. was concerned above all with constructing a worldview that addressed the real concerns of our life in the world. We reconstruct the content of Philosophy of Economy from Bulgakov’s various uses of the term: filosofiia khoziaistva seeks to understand the world as the object of labor. refutes Western political economy’s (including Marx’s) emphasis on external forms of social structure—and his concern with integrating philosophy and political economy in a single theory of society reflected a rejection of rationalism and abstract intellectual activity with deep roots in Russian intellectual history. and poverty into an otherwise meaninglessly abstract intellectual exercise. in placing the problem of man and nature at the center of his view of society.

at the same time he was also following a pattern of Russian thought. Bulgakov’s focus on the inner spirit followed a Russian tradition of concern with organicism and wholeness. When Bulgakov formulated his view of society in terms of a relation between man and nature. Finally. his conscious repetition of the Romantic problem of subject and object. Like his fellow Romantics. At the same time. Bulgakov’s neo-Romanticism. he was explicitly reiterating and posing anew a central question of German Romantic philosophy. which had absorbed a preoccupation with man’s relation to the world around him from German Romanticism.voice to a major but sometimes implicit concern of Russian philosophy. Bulgakov was bothered by the problem of accounting for the existence of a world outside the thinking self. that distrusted excessive rationalism and identified with the Romantic poets and philosophers who had rebelled against the Enlightenment’s preoccupation with reason and concentration on the workings of the human mind at the expense of the forces of nature. into an epistemological principle. a problem he expressed sometimes as that of the relation of man and nature and sometimes as that of the relation of subject and object. Bulgakov continued Russian philosophy’s disdain for ‘‘armchair philosophers’’ passively ensconced in the safety of their study: philosophy must engage with life and is of interest only insofar as it helps us understand and eventually transform the world. Schelling was concerned with the fundamental problem of the relation of the self to the external world. man and nature. that is. established by the Slavophiles. in seeking to make labor. or activity. Schelling objected to the narrow limits Kant had imposed on his investigation of knowledge and  / Introduction . appealed above all to the writings of Schelling. specifically to his System of Transcendental Idealism coupled with the Naturphilosophie.

transcendental idealism—the second part of Schelling’s philosophical system—began with the subject and sought to explain how it was connected with the object. In a famous passage in My Past and Thoughts. Alexander Herzen describes an exalted atmosphere in which ‘‘people who adored each other became estranged for entire weeks because they could not agree on a definition of ‘transcendental spirit. Conversely. prose. transcendental idealism was an effort to justify our basic perception that there are things which exist outside ourselves.’ ’’ and ‘‘the most worthless tracts of German philosophy that came out of Berlin and other provincial towns and vilIntroduction /  . Through reflection. but intensely and over a very long period. unlike his predecessor and teacher Fichte. The ‘‘Romantic attitude’’ permeated much of nineteenthcentury Russian poetry. Whereas Fichte had ‘‘resolved’’ the problem of subject and object by making the non-I a projection of the I. In other words. Russian thinkers did not participate in the initial emergence of Romanticism: Romantic thought and literature flowered late on Russian soil. took the object—nature—as a given and sought to explain its relation to the subject. The problem of the relation between subject and object permeates Schelling’s writings. as man’s study of it endowed nature with reason. particularly in the second quarter of the century—during the reign of Nicholas I. Schelling. The first. treated the self and the external world with equal seriousness.’ were personally offended by opinions about ‘absolute personality’ and ‘being in itself. and philosophy. and even the way of life of many intellectuals.sought to expand transcendental idealism until it became what it ought to be—a general system of knowledge. Schelling approached the same question by constructing two simultaneous and complementary systems. for he considered the explanation of the coincidence of subjective and objective as the basic task of philosophy. the Naturphilosophie. nature ultimately became its own object.

were written for and read to shreds—till they came out in yellow stains.lages. the question of the external world was less a philosophical problem than a fundamental attitude: they had no patience for abstract speculation and turned above all to matters with social or practical implications. and his own reason as the selfconsciousness of universal being?’’ 19 Western philosophy was at a dead end. in contrast to Bulgakov. to educated Russian society. instead. the Slavophiles perceived undue concentration on the subject as a symptom of a broader ‘‘crisis of rationalism’’ that had struck all of Western thought. till pages dropped out after a few days.’’ 18 Attitudes from worship of creative genius to love of nature to blissful immersion in moments of insight or sharpened perception had their origin in a Romanticism thoroughly assimilated and become a way of life. of all Romantic philosophers. in which there was any mention of Hegel. argued Kireevsky. including Romanticism. address the subject-object problem explicitly. they absorbed Romanticism’s basic antiEnlightenment spirit so that. The critique of rationalism became a dominant theme of Slavophile thought. Western philosophy. For them. had exhausted the rational principle. in the teachings of the Slavophiles. when a man denies any authority except his own abstract reasoning. Instead of seeing the Enlightenment’s emphasis on the thinking subject as a problem philosophy was able to solve. for its excessive rationalism prevented it from addressing the problem of the world outside the thinking self. it turned into a distrust and antipathy for rationalism in general. This antirationalist frame of mind to a large degree explains the appeal of Schelling. then can he go beyond a world view in which the entire existence of the world appears to him as a transparent dialectic of his own reason. ‘‘For. Schelling could at the very least be credited with having perceived the bankruptcy of Western ratio / Introduction . Russian thinkers of the mid-nineteenth century did not.

nalism. The foreign traveler in Russia. made him arguably the most significant Romantic thinker for Russian ideas in the nineteenth century. for example. logical. For the Slavophiles. and if Hegel represented the apogee of rationalism or intellectualism. Bulgakov emphasized the inner relation of man and nature. most particularly the dominant autocratic form of government in the Russia of their time. would be likely to perceive the bureaucratic and administrative structures that were actually quite superficial and of little import to the manner in which life was actually experienced. he adopted a no less deeply rooted attitude of Russian thought. Schelling’s aestheticism and religious sense. stated that inner form and spirit were more essential categories than the abstract. in contrast to the external forms of social organization that generally form the substance of Western social theory. Once again it was the Slavophiles who. In doing so. to develop this principle and to express it for the benefit of humanity.20 This was a tradition that Bulgakov followed in constructing his indictment of undue ‘‘intellectualism’’ in Western philosophy and in focusing his inquiry on the relation of man and nature—or of man and the world around him. external factors of institutions or types of government—and that it had fallen to Russia. for the Slavophiles. and above all his uncomfortableness with a philosophy confined to the realm of reason and purely abstract speculation. as opposed to the corrupt and rationalized West.21 What was important about Russian society. in a fusion of the Romantic penchant for organicity with principles of Orthodox Christian theology. Schelling was the sole Western thinker to have created a foundation on which Russian thought could build. was not its external forms— Introduction /  . were of merely secondary importance. the ‘‘spirit’’ of a particular economic system. external social forms.

they suggested. freedom. the essence of Russian life. had become a ‘‘distinguishing characteristic’’ of Russian thought. and social life was limited to a battle of parties and interests. the Slavophiles argued that ‘‘rationality and division constitute  / Introduction . as Bulgakov remarked. were based on violence and on a formality of personal relations. The distinction—entirely taken for granted. and truth of Christian believers. on one hand. the peasant commune. Thus Slavophile thought turned to such matters as family relations. which Khomiakov considered the essence of Orthodoxy. Specifically. and the church instead of the questions of administrative organization. Sobornost’—literally. Western European societies. it found powerful expression in the concept of sobornost’—articulated most influentially by Alexei Khomiakov and adopted by subsequent thinkers including Bulgakov. community and wholeness. This emphasis on internal social structures took its cue simultaneously from the antihierarchical theological principles of Russian Orthodoxy and from an organicism characteristic of Romanticism.23 As summarized concisely in a quotation from Kireevsky that Khomiakov placed in Kireevsky’s obituary. types of government. and distribution of power familiar to Western social theory. emphasis on the collectivity. especially in social thought of the Victorian era—between the ‘‘private’’ and the ‘‘public’’ spheres did not exist for the Slavophiles: instead they articulated in their writings the axiom that how one conducted oneself in daily life was an expression of a social and political attitude. on humanity as a whole.’’ 22 Sobornost’ meant.most particularly autocracy. could be found in a deeper community based on true Christianity. the ‘‘conciliar’’ principle—stood for ‘‘an association in love. in contrast. The crucial features of Russian society were the organicity and communal agreement that did not necessarily strike a beholder who never looked beyond external structures.

’’ 24 Remarkably. but Introduction /  . implied a participatory vision of church and society. consisted of a community of individual believers. which expresses itself more or less clearly in its various other manifestations. and interests. The Orthodox Church. Sobornost’. their individuality. each of whom had a part both in the organizational life of the church and in the formulation of dogma. Konstantin Aksakov. in other words. on the other hand. by God’s grace. in contrast to one in which an ecclesiastical hierarchy had a monopoly over the population’s belief and daily life. Wholeness and wisdom constitute the character of that civilizing principle which.25 The fusion and mutual reinforcement of the individual and the community in the notion of sobornost’ struck a delicate balance. and just as in a choir a voice is not lost.the basic character of all of Western civilization. this is an act of love. parties. A commune thus represents a moral choir. in a description of the village commune that was to captivate and influence many Russian thinkers even after Stolypin abolished the institution in : A commune is a union of the people who have renounced their egoism. and consequently a society in which it played a major role. One of the most colorful. a noble Christian act. but follows the general pattern and is heard in the harmony of all voices: so in the commune the individual is not lost. and precarious. was laid at the foundation of our [Russian] intellectual life. the value of sobornost’ was that this very sense of community and wholeness actually permitted the full development of an individual ’s integral personality as opposed to the one-sided emphasis encouraged by a rationalistic society preoccupied with external forms. expressions of the principle belongs to another Slavophile. and who express their common accord.

marks Bulgakov’s philosophy as well: the Slavophile style of thought lies at the basis of his formulations. rather than individual persons: what is remarkable in Bulgakov’s vision is that he seeks to affirm and preserve human dignity precisely by inscribing the daily activity of individual human beings in a process that unites them with their fellows. This coexistence of individual and community is surprising from the perspective of Western social philosophy.26 The lack of tension between the individual and the collective in the notion of sobornost’. the ‘‘transcendental subject’’ of the economic process is humanity as a whole. if applied to  / Introduction . Bulgakov argued that. Marxism had discovered a principle that.renounces his exclusiveness in favor of a general accord—and there arises the noble phenomenon of a harmonious. In Bulgakov’s Christian economy. his effort to introduce labor as an epistemological principle for philosophy—gives expression to a characteristic attitude of Russian thought. in the labor theory of value. in which the opposition of individual rights and the claims of the collectivity are virtually axiomatic. yet preserved human beings’ belonging and participation in a larger human community. the sense that the individual personality could find full expression only in interaction with a larger community. a commune—a triumph of the human spirit. joint existence of rational beings (consciousnesses). there arises a brotherhood. Yet a third aspect of Bulgakov’s philosophy—namely. Bulgakov’s solution to the ‘‘deification’’ of collective humanity and sacrifice of the individual he had perceived in Marxism was more interesting than a mere proclamation of the primacy of individual values: his Christian economy focused attention on the individual’s motivation.

based on this knowledge. In the s Dmitri Pisarev scandalized public opinion by maintaining that a pair of boots was superior in value to the works of Shakespeare. Bulgakov meant that we.philosophy. that constituted an essential component of the psyche of a thinker who. had begun his career as a member of the radical intelligentsia. this approach seems to originate in the Christian tendency to emphasize life as the most fundamental category of thought or experience.27 At first glance. Borrowing from the utilitarianism of Mill and Bentham. the ‘‘men of the sixties’’ postulated the ultimate scientific explicability of man and human society and the possibility. By proposing labor as a philosophical principle. must look at the process of man’s life in the world as the starting point of philosophy. Inextricable from this basic approach was the belief that both natural science and art were ultimately subordinate to life. as well as from Comtean positivism. of a rational reordering of society to the mutual benefit of its members. working creature. formulated most powerfully by Nikolai Chernyshevsky and expressed by numerous followers.28 Yet the insistence on the primacy of life also coincides with the attitude of a strong and entirely un-Christian current in Russian thought. and he proposed a fundamental perception of man as an active. Chernyshevsky’s theory of ‘‘rational egoism’’ began by claiming the possibility of understanding man as a whole through understanding him as a physical organism and ended by maintaining that the standard by which human actions must be Introduction /  . and indeed Bulgakov’s very formulation of his insistence that ‘‘thought is born of life’’ depends heavily on Christian philosophy and imagery. Chernyshevsky formalized this statement and made it into a creed of the radical intelligentsia. as philosophers. could potentially overcome the sterility and undue concentration on the thinking subject that he perceived in contemporary neo-Kantianism. after all.

judged was the benefit they brought. Russian philosophy often strikes the Western reader as flawed or at least peculiar: as I have tried to show in Bulgakov’s case. his thought shares with these two countrymen’s the prescriptive element implicit in any philosophy that places action (or labor) at the very foundation of thought. that beauty was that which reflected life most perfectly. instead. and the emerging ‘‘new people’’ would be its instrument. it is premised on an  / Introduction . and even more from that given by Lenin in his composition of the same title.’’ in other words. His complementary aesthetic philosophy posited that ‘‘art is life. Chinese philosophy—proceed from entirely different assumptions and entirely different sources than Western thought. sexual. fully assimilated by Bulgakov. Russian intellectual history does not—like. and working life. Chernyshevsky’s extremely influential novel What Is to Be Done?. What is to be done?. for example. The positioning of life over art implied a prescriptive stance. and though Bulgakov’s response differs dramatically from Chernyshevsky’s. His argument concluded with an assertion of the complete dependence of aesthetics on social reality and his complementary evaluation of art solely in terms of its utility. Philosophy of Economy is an answer to the question. which became the handbook of Russian radicals. Like Chernyshevsky’s novel.29 Bulgakov shared with his predecessors among the radical intelligentsia their orientation towards life rather than abstract aesthetic or philosophical contemplation. this impression results from Russian thinkers’ use of ideas and concepts familiar in Western thought but discussed in unfamiliar combinations and contexts. was a literary model for the total structuring of life according to rational principles of women’s equality and the socialist organization of labor: the transformation of society would take place through the transformation of personal.

Philosophy of Economy is constructed. it captures a sense of inspiration and creativity as an essential aspect of social and economic life. by appealing to the Russian philosophical tradition. and modernist vision of society that focuses on the inner spirit of life in society rather than on institutions or external forms and that prescribes an ethic of active and joyful labor ‘‘in Sophia’’ as a substitute for the Golden Age. Christian. the paradise on earth that was the pathos of the Marxist vision. following this pattern. Bulgakov’s social philosophy grew out of the same concerns that animated Western liberals: the effort to implement Western-style liberalism and parliamentarism in Russia between  and . ‘‘life-oriented’’ elements of a specifically Russian intellectual tradition. For a variety of reasons. with the result that intellectual currents that might be mutually contradictory in some Western countries—for example. Bulgakov’s philosophy was formulated within the context of Western thought and Orthodox ChrisIntroduction /  . however. The result is an original. it achieves a comfortable synthesis of the individual and the collectivity (one of the greatest difficulties for Western thought). Marxism and neo-Kantianism. or Decadence and Christianity—often coexist in a happy symbiosis. The result is potentially productive for the theory of liberalism itself. Bulgakov founded the respect for the individual that he shared with these thinkers on a different basis—religion. Bulgakov’s philosophy captures elements missing or lost from Western liberalism: it ‘‘re-Christianizes’’ a tradition that once had roots in evangelical Christianity. on a fruitful interaction of the concerns of the European revolt against positivism with antirationalist.interplay of elements from Western philosophy with peculiarly Russian concerns and ideas. Therefore the notion of human dignity became the center of Bulgakov’s philosophy—a concept that might be considered ‘‘deeper’’ or at least different from classic liberalism’s focus on the rights of the individual.

or economic life. Frank. The book was widely read and discussed among educated Russians in the first years after its publication. reflects a very deep  / Introduction . Bulgakov’s work has acquired a new immediacy in recent years: the reevaluation and ultimately the complete rejection of Marxism by a significant part of the Russian intelligentsia adumbrated. after all. where institutions are firmly in place. Florensky. the similar evolution of Soviet society as a whole that is taking place today. prove inadequate to the task of proposing a viable social system. is that it brings together religion—in the form of an ethic affirming human dignity—and a theory of khoziaistvo. Shestov. taken in isolation.’’ and community play as factors in economic life can usefully complement liberal social and economic theory. Gershenzon. Some of the problems with Bulgakov’s vision are obvious: a social theory. death and rebirth. that does not address social and governmental structures must. in microcosm.tianity: it needs to be integrated back into these two traditions. but it was erased from the public consciousness as the aesthetic and social utopias of the Bolshevik Revolution crowded out such non-Marxist and antiMarxist philosophies. ‘‘inner spirit. so far as Russia is concerned. The history of Philosophy of Economy as a text reflects the larger story of Russian religious philosophy. Bulgakov’s religious philosophy is representative of a school of thought— one including Berdiaev. Yet in the West. His vision of history as a cycle of Fall and Resurrection. creativity. The particular force of Bulgakov’s social philosophy. and others—that sought to articulate the philosophical bases on which Russian society rested and that has become a crucial point of orientation as Russia redefines its identity. a coherent philosophical articulation of the role that dignity. to be reborn in a wave of popularity that greeted Silver Age philosophy and literature as the Soviet system collapsed.

In each of these cases I have tried to update Bulgakov’s notes by citing easily available modern editions. his description of economic life as khoziaistvo. usually. Kant. Even the specific form taken by this theme in his work—namely. In general. a reevaluation that involves philosophical reorientation as well as a restructuring of markets. or Adolphe Quételet—equally a part of Bulgakov’s worldview—now need to be explained. Leibniz. as the life of a large household. Descartes. Fichte. The former include various texts of Aristotle. and political and administrative institutions. At the same time. Marx. Hegel. Schelling. Introduction /  . Other widely read thinkers of the nineteenth century such as Ernest Häckel. farms. property rights. Thomas Buckle. Eduard von Hartmann. Bulgakov’s sophic economy is among the ideas that can provide material for discussion in the present reevaluation of ideologies and institutions. the resurrection of nature through the labor of man as proprietor (khoziain)— was an important concern in Russian thought and art not only in his own time 30 but well into the s (perhaps the most interesting example is the work of Andrei Platonov). amounts to the clearest philosophical articulation of a mode of economic existence that in the s became characteristic of the management of Russia’s cities. Bulgakov’s points of reference include works that have become standard over the past century and those that have receded into oblivion. rather than the originals or obscure Russian translations used by Bulgakov. legal norms. and enterprises. I have been guided by my desire to make this book a text that is useful for the contemporary reader.theme of the Russian cultural consciousness. the same editions that were available to Bulgakov. and Bergson. while citing. I have done so in the glossary of names at the end of the text.

to Chris Monika for his help with the glossary. I am also grateful to Hubertus Jahn for checking my translations from the German.I would like to thank Gary Saul Morson for his enthusiasm for this project. and to Jane Zanichkowsky for editing the manuscript. D.C. Washington.  / Introduction .

P  E The World as Household .

for I believe that it speaks for itself and requires no particular justification. and mysticism equally lead us. In the development of philosophical thought the posing of problems and their recognition generally plays a primary role. criticism. for it draws up the balance of an entire period of life influenced by economic materialism. For the author.1 The initial effort to make sense of this fact was for me the theory of economic materialism with various critical amendments. To comprehend the world as the object of labor and economic action is a task to which economism. the present study also has special significance.P I do not intend to justify the topic of the present investigation in these lines. this is what provides the impulse for philosophical creativity and defines its themes. The fact of economy always aroused philosophical ‘‘surprise’’ in me. pragmatism. I am convinced. It is not. and the imperfections of its execution are evident enough to me. and the problem of the philosophy of economy—of man in nature and nature in man—has in fact never left my spiritual horizon but only turned about to show various aspects. to which. And I attribute immeasurably more significance to posing this question than to any given effort to resolve it. And although this theory quickly ceased satisfying my conscious . I have no doubt only of one thing—of the immense significance of the problem itself. the tomorrow if not the today of philosophy must belong. for the author to judge how well he has come to terms with his task. and it is the debt of the author’s philosophical conscience in relation to his own past. of course.

in the empirical sphere. It is. Initially. as the perceptions of childhood cease to satisfy it. descends deep into the metaphysical soil with its ontological roots. as it grew deeper.ness. but it would be terribly myopic. constitutes the construction of a ‘‘transcendental subject’’ when regarded from the standpoint of cognitive forms. having equated the whole with its part.’’ which here plays an irreplaceable role. of ‘‘critical idealism. Yet in doing so it remains deaf and blind to everything that transcends the boundaries of this experience.’’ or those who ‘‘combine’’ Kant with Marx). and. it was most natural to turn to the science about economy (political economy). for such ‘‘idealism’’ does not contain any answer to this problem but merely leaves it outside its attention.  / Preface . For the same thing that. correct within the limits of its particular tasks. It isolates but one particular side of the problem of economy. to limit the theory of economy to its phenomenology. To sense the boundaries of phenomenology by revealing science’s logical schematism is the task of critical philosophy. yet the questions that it answers in its own way have retained all their force. constitutes the object of ‘‘experience’’ and poses problems for science. We cannot simply turn away from the problem of economic materialism in the name of abstract ‘‘idealism’’ (as do those who turn ‘‘back to Kant. of course. and metaphysical. And such a means of investigation is not determined by the whim of the author but suggested by the very essence of the matter. in the effort to make sense of the fact of economy. which constructs a particular branch of scientific ‘‘experience’’ from the phenomena of economic reality. The problem of economy is taken in the present investigation in a triple dimension simultaneously: scientific-empirical. Beyond these boundaries the investigation of our question inevitably falls into the sphere of general philosophy. This hierarchy of problems opened before me of itself in the course of investigation. transcendental-critical. finally.

But this is entirely impossible using the means of contemporary Kantianized and metaphysically emptied theology. in confronting such a life problem. But critical idealism remains powerless before the problem of economy in its essence: here the purely theoretical. with its incapacity for realism. merely tinged with pietistic ‘‘sufferings. even if he does not accept the critical Beatrice for the ‘‘beautiful lady’’ of philosophy. These teachings are at present philosophically dead capital in the field of dogmatics. when religion is most frequently reduced to ethics. shows itself most clearly. this very action realizes the connection of philosophy and science that is postulated in theory. instead.freeing us from the hypnosis of scientific empiricism. with its help. where the problem of the philosophy of economy ultimately ends up. meanwhile. for the general crisis of scientific consciousness that has imperceptibly crept up on us must here be particularly draining. Hence critical idealism decisively appeals to metaphysics—to ontology and to natural philosophy. with the inner disintegration that threatens it. which is partly revealed in the philosophy of economy. Social science is undoubtedly in need of a productive tie with philosophy. In a time of decaying dogmatic self-consciousness. is in this measure liberated from that scholastic formalism in which ‘‘criticism’’ increasingly entangles it. Thus. and. most Preface /  . we must turn to the religious ontology. in order to cope. The problem of the philosophy of economy also acquires a peculiar pointedness for the contemporary religious consciousness. schematizing nature of critical philosophy. Philosophy. and whoever has once experienced its liberating action will always remain grateful to critical idealism. and anthropology of Saints Athanasius of Alexandria and Gregory of Nyssus and other fathers of the church. cosmology.’’ it is particularly important to set out the ontological and cosmological side of Christianity. and it seems to me that this can be mutually beneficial.

As a parting word to this book.’ she answered. every ray of God’s light! Love the animals.’ I answer. let us remember Fedor Dostoevsky’s prophetic words: ‘‘Love all God’s creation. or its ontology. within the limits of its task. in part.frequently. ‘the mother of God is the great mother—the damp earth. and therein lies great joy for men’ ’’ (the words of the old woman in the Cripple’s story. To the second part will fall the problem of the justification of economy—its axiology and eschatology. love the plants.2 Among the tasks of the present investigation is the effort to translate some of these teachings into the language of contemporary philosophical thought and thus to reveal how the truths of religious materialism are distorted and obscured both in materialism and in idealism. are simply denied. arise on the ruins of Christian materialism. ‘the hope of the human race. Only a part of this whole project is realized in the present volume: namely. you will perceive the divine mystery in things’’ (from Father Zosima’s lessons in The Brothers Karamazov). we here examine the general bases of the economic process.’ ‘Yes. and philosophical and economic materialism on one hand. Love every leaf. be seen as a complete. If you love everything. But the foundation for these theories is partially contained in the present section. in The Possessed ). independent whole. love everything. Moscow. ‘‘ ‘What is the mother of God? What do you think?’ ‘The great mother. and idealistic phenomenalism on the other.  January   / Preface . as the expression of its pathos and aspirations. which can. the whole and each grain of sand in it. the problem of the relation of flesh and spirit (the ethics of economy) and of the meaning of history and culture will be investigated here.

The doctrine may be quite unsuccessful in its execution. undeniable life truth that our contemporary society has glimpsed and intimately felt with great seriousness and bitter sincerity makes economic materialism in a sense irrefutable. metaphysical. So-called economic materialism constitutes merely the most radical and perfect formulation of this general attitude and. That particular.’’ in which one side of the truth is sold as the whole truth. explained in its limitations as a philosophical ‘‘abstract principle. The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy I. It must be understood and interpreted. insofar as it describes the immediate reality of a particular experience or apperception of the world that seeks theoretical expression in a scientific or philosophical doctrine. however questionable this doctrine may seem to us. but also in that profound content which shimmers through it. economic materialism is actually indestructible. not only in its obvious mistakes and weaknesses. It cannot be simply denied or rejected like any other scientific theory. scientific. the problem of economic  . In a word. It must be. not denied. and empirical foundations. this deeper significance makes it something more than just a scientific doctrine that crumbles when it is shown to be inadequate. C ‘‘E’’ One of the most outstanding traits of contemporary humanity’s outlook is something we might call the economism of our epoch. but this does not invalidate the mood that created it. In a certain sense. but overcome from within. however shaky its philosophical.

This is not merely mammonism. combined with the appeal of ideological radicalism. in which it bears too clearly the traits of the accidental circumstances of its historical origins and the spiritual individuality of its creators. but specifically wealth—and believes in wealth even more than it believes in the individual. and human power is measured in terms of wealth. it becomes clear that the essence of economic materialism remains as a problem standing inevitably before the philosophizing mind of our time with its strong economism. For the unprejudiced thinker it is clear that. in general. an economic process: such is the axiom of this contemporary economism. its sharpness actually increased by its naiveté and immediacy. remaining either above it (which is accessible but to a few individuals) or artificially to  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . relevantly. apart from its rude and unfortunate current expression. but not only in its contemporary formulation. it leaves much room for improvement. means to have some defect of historical self-consciousness. In contrast to the voluntary or involuntary asceticism of Franciscan or Buddhist epochs of history.materialism must be investigated. Our time understands. I will say even more: not to experience this enchantment at all. the theory of economic materialism could be worked out much more fully. no—this is economism. our epoch loves wealth—not money. feels. And this is the secret of the peculiar enchantment of economic materialism. This is why economic materialism has such survival power. low and selfish (which exists now as it has existed in all times). above all. not to feel its hypnosis (even if one does not abandon oneself completely). to be internally alien to contemporary reality. thanks to which it so hypnotizes contemporary minds. Life is. clearly. expressed in most extreme and even provocative form in economic materialism. experiences the world as a household. which despise wealth and deny its power over man. If we abstract ourselves from any possible formal expression of this doctrine.

unbreakable tie between political economy and economism as a worldview. and moreover the self-evident. by questioning it. theoretically. the expansion of special investigations. thus revealed. let us say more briefly. political economy either proceeds on the basis of empirical generalizations and observations of a limited and specialized nature. in general. is symptomatic) but in its naive dogmatism. insofar as it appeals to more general points of view. find expression not so much in the prevalence of the philosophy of economism (though this. the primary task of philosophical criticism is to shatter this naive dogmatism and. in which. have so little sympathy for armchair ‘‘idealism. The limitations of the horizons of economic thought. perhaps because it has become the party dogma of social democracy and scandalizes many with its ideological radicalism. many of them do not subscribe to it. For this reason. In practice. to make it the object of a special philosophical investigation. We cannot reproach political economy for depending on particular philosophical presuppositions that it takes as apodictic The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . it consciously or unconsciously falls into the framework of economism. It is as though the dogma of economism were the only possible. philosophy of economy generally. In practice. too. economism. In its scientific practice. even if they hate Marxism. There is a close. or. although.1 Economic materialism or. or scientific practice. In fact. economists are Marxists. economic materialism is the reigning philosophy of political economy. usually in its most naively dogmatic form. economism suffuses political economy. is in fact the reigning worldview among political economists.’’ ignorant of life). frankly. for lack of anything better.fence oneself off from life (which is why I am so little impressed and. bears no correlation whatsoever to the development of philosophical self-consciousness or reflection.

for it always depends on an entire series of contingent or certain axiomatic principles. Only that scientific inquiry can be acknowledged as ‘‘critical’’ that is conscious of its dogmatic contingency and takes it into account in determining the critical mass or theoretical value of its propositions. as absolute truth. and no ‘‘criticism’’ can free us of it. into the infinity of possible problems and objects of science. too. Such is the inevitable dogmatism of our scientific thought. it revealed the secret of political economy. No specialized investigation is conducted ab ovo. radical Quételetism) had the courage to extract these presuppositions and mold them into an independent philosophical system. It adheres to them as to an anchor thrown into the shoreless sea of discursive knowledge. in so doing. establishing the presuppositions of political economy. it is always dogmatically conditioned. All scientific knowledge is partial and fragmentary and therefore is never constructed without such axiomatic presuppositions. Thus the science of economy. which had used its principles silently and under cover. the connection of political economy with technology) and in its general philosophical underpinnings. although it predetermines the character of its conclusions. is not the result of scientific investigation. naively considering them to be the fruit of its own scientific work. Economic materialism (in statistics. so to speak. in the middle. It is contingent both in its empirical dimension (here. for example. At  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . or political economy. as is sometimes thought. rather it begins. that is. but is incorporated in science a priori. is also a dogmatically conditioned branch of human knowledge.truths or axioms. there is greater awareness of this contingency. is decidedly not created within itself. One or another philosophy of economy. although there is a tendency to forget about this dogmatism too easily and to present the results of such contingent knowledge as knowledge quand même.

they are taken as proven within the realm of that particular science. so that to deny them seems absurd. It. by extracting and dogmatizing what had merely been assumed by scientific practice. for whom starched collars and white cuffs. The discipline of economics currently finds itself in a severe philosophical crisis: the rejection of a conscious adherence to economic materialism has left economics completely devoid of any philosophical basis and turned it into an abstract manipulation of empirical facts and observations. If we grant free reign to philosophical The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . is the entire theory of knowledge that. as is frequent in specialized sciences. for example. its constant baggage. thus ultimately aiding in the awakening of critical thought in this field. For this reason the problem of the philosophy of economy or. takes for granted too much that it received at its birth and has therefore become accustomed to treat as its organic attribute. so that it can barely be taken seriously as a science. too. We require the effort of philosophical analysis to free ourselves of this. is a peculiar but characteristic dogmatism of specialized sciences. seem peculiar.the same time economic materialism. This deceptive obviousness results in the common acceptance of such propositions as immutable and apodictic. self-evident for us. essentially. the totality of these problems is now of interest not just to philosophy but also to specialized economic investigations. made these presuppositions into an independent problem. and who asks about their true purpose. Such. or. we must look with the naive eyes of a foreigner or a savage. the outcome. in our time of scientific specialization. Matters are just about thus with political economy. What seems self-evident in practice often poses the greatest problems for the philosophical mind. We must begin to doubt that which it is unusual or improper to question. investigates selfevident forms of cognition and perceives in them the most difficult and complicated philosophical problems. better.

it does determine the general economism of our epoch—the distinguishing characteristic of its historical self-consciousness. then. such is the task of the philosophy of economy. apparently preliminary question—what is philosophy?—generally contains the essence  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . its own problematic lies deeper than the simple service to political economy would require. however. striving to become the regal legislator of thought and expanding its influence far beyond its own horizons. yet what these should be is at present the subject of much disagreement. The philosophy of economy belongs to philosophy generally. One might say. we immediately see how deeply this dogmatism of presuppositions penetrates its construction and how divinely innocent of this it remains. What. which evaluates not only the philosophical a priori of political economy but of the economic worldview generally. and is not merely the illegitimate child of political economy. yet it has accepted the dominant role assigned to it by our wealthconscious epoch. constitutes a significant part of it. to a significant extent. Naturally. is the philosophy of economy as a philosophical teaching? II. P  L The definition of the task of the philosophy of economy is. of renewal through philosophical doubt. however. The science of economics belongs to the most contingent and philosophically least independent of disciplines. Insofar as it succeeds. that the answer to this basic. connected with one’s understanding of the tasks of philosophy generally. Political economy with its economism is particularly in need of a reevaluation and deepening of its principles.doubt while reading a current political-economic tract. The philosophical examination of the basic principles of economic action and economic thought has become imperative.

of a particular philosophical system and reveals its central assumptions. On the contrary. If we look at any one of the philosophical orientations of the past and present. of law. the contemporary ear has begun to accustom itself to such expressions as. Apparently. This manner of posing the problem intentionally uncovers this central nerve of the philosophical system. with no independent value. what is the topic of interest toward which it is ‘‘oriented. this question poses itself outside any single philosophical system. even the combination of the concepts—the philosophy of economy—seems unacceptable or shocking. that is. independent philosophy such as Fichte or Hegel developed systems of the philosophy of law. but for them these were merely particular parts of a general system. It is true.’’ circulated by the skeptical philosophical impressionist Simmel).’’ what is the ultimate immediate given standing before it? This is what predetermines a philosophical system. there is no generally valid solution to this question. proceedThe Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . moreover. it cannot be resolved by specialized argumentation within a given philosophical system. or of art. and so on (even ‘‘philosophy of money. For them as well. we can see that they differ first of all in their understanding of this initial question. which indeed is then constructed around this already existing question. On the other hand. For many contemporary philosophers. history. What does philosophy want to be. for example. still await philosophical explication. it is true that the greatest representatives of absolute. the philosophy of culture. yet these phrases are rarely used with any degree of self-consciousness and ‘‘critical self-evaluation’’ and. a philosophy of economy or of something else. for philosophy likes to think of itself as ‘‘pure’’ and independent contemplation and balks at the idea of a philosophy of anything. not so much because the combination of these two words in a single title sounds odd but because philosophy is here definitely and openly given a particular predicate. culture. in any case.

was for them not subject to doubt. would have been a debasement and betrayal of philosophy. such is Hegel’s grand system in its Luciferian pride. Life is simultaneously everything and nothing. and prior to. in the sense of its closedness and self-sufficiency and thus its absoluteness. It is not life that exists in space and time. Life is ultimately undefinable. philosophy is always oriented toward something outside itself. it is never fully exhausted by them and remains prior to them. it is the maternal womb. the immeasurable depth. Life cannot be reduced to anything simpler than itself. Philosophizing is always about something that stands before us as an immediate and uncontingent given. which never leaves the field of philosophical consciousness and becomes particularly acute in periods of exaggerated. It is outside time and space. more particularly. any philosophical reflection or selfreflection. Philosophical self / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . for it cannot be attributed to any particular something and thus be categorized and defined. The dogma of the independence of philosophy. but spatiality and temporality that are manifestations of life. to use a current phrase. although it proceeds from the Source of life. for. or.ing from this given reality. of our thought. It fills all the twists and turns of our existence and.2 Life is more immediate than. one-sided intellectualism such as post-Kantian absolute idealism or recently in neo-Kantian rationalism. And this also determines the more general and fundamental question of the relation of philosophy to life. although it is expressed in spatial and temporal phenomena. though constantly in the process of definition. the inexhaustible source. such is Fichte’s first system (the  Theory of Science). which generates both pure nothingness and pure everythingness and thus equates itself with the Creator. I deny this independence and self-sufficiency of the philosophy of the self-styled absolute spirit. the God of the living but not of the dead. it fills our judgments with content but is never exhausted by them.

the subconscious spheres. waking consciousness that generates philosophical and scientific thought—both Apollo and Dionysus. it is that primordial light in which both consciousness and difference are born. or on the orientation of philosophy. even being itself. It is into this shoreless ocean that philosophy throws its anchor. instinct. seeking that point where the Archimedes trigger of a philosophical system can be applied. the copula is and the predicate of existence have meaning only in relation to the essential. in order for the possibility itself of philosophizing not to be destroyed. Life is the maternal womb that gives birth to all of its manifestations: both dreamy nighttime consciousness full of endless possibilities and hopes.consciousness inevitably runs up against life as its primordial principle. Creation from nothing is given to man neither in the field of philosophy nor in other things. There is no being in abstracto. The content of philosophy depends to a significant extent on where and how this anchor is thrown. which is life. In relation to life. Life cannot be deduced from any reasons and is in this sense miraculous. on what impresses or ‘‘surprises’’ (yaumázei) the thinker. so we could write the history of philosophical systems as the history of various philosophical orientations. consciousness. weighing the entire universe on its scales. accessible to experience but unfathomable to the mind. reigning over necessity. Life is the mystery of world being. self-determining life. supposing its particular manifestations or states as particular definitions. It is of foremost importance to keep in mind that thought is born of life and that in this sense philoThe Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . there is only concrete being for itself. all aspects of being are but partial definitions: will. And this miraculous source of life is reflected in a myriad of individual consciousnesses while retaining its identity and unity. and the daytime. philosophy inevitably requires a point of reference outside itself that is immediately given and inalienable. it is freedom. thought.

sophical reflection is life’s own self-reflection; in other words, the logical principle, the logos of life, originates in that concrete and indivisible whole in which what is logically impenetrable and transcendent to thought unites indivisibly and yet discretely with the logical principle. Life, as the concrete unity of the logical and the alogical, remains of course supralogical, cannot by accounted for by any logical definition, which would necessarily be concerned only with schemas and boundaries rather than with its living texture; yet this does not make life alogical or logically indifferent. Life gives birth to thought, it thinks and has its own self-consciousness, it reflects on itself. The logical principle has boundaries that it cannot cross, but within them it reigns unchallenged. The alogical is impenetrable to the logical; yet it is itself constrained by the logical. The logical and the alogical are connected and interdependent. Thus light presumes an ever-present darkness (kaì tò fôw n t˙ skotíÐ faínei—‘‘And the light shineth in darkness,’’ John :) and joy ever-conquered sadness (Schelling), while the warmth of love is generated by a muted flame that has ceased to scorch ( Jakob Böhme). Only such a view makes the possibility of apprehending and knowing being intelligible, explains the possibility of philosophy, of science, even of simple common sense and generally of any kind of thought that rises above simple automatic instinct. Thought is born in life and of life; it is a necessary hypostasis of life. For this reason it is not outside life; it is not transcendent but immanent, although not in the sense of contemporary immanentism, which equates being with (logical) consciousness and therefore puts an equality sign between the logical and the essential and which, consequently, denies the alogical root of being. But the history of philosophy has produced two interpretations of this dual nature of life, logical and alogical. One of them considers the logical principle as the fundamental prin / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy

ciple of being, perceiving being as self-developing thought, thinking itself, generating itself and turning in on itself in a closed philosophical system; this is intellectualism. The second interpretation emphasizes the reverse side of the dilemma and pronounces the priority of the alogical over the logical, of instinct over reason, unconscious over conscious; this is antiintellectualism, a-logism taken to the extreme of anti-logism.3 Intellectualism represents an extraordinarily powerful current in contemporary European philosophy and might even be called a hereditary illness that first appeared in its forefather Descartes with his ultra-intellectualist Cogito ergo sum. Despite all the ambiguity and lack of clarity of this statement as it was developed by Descartes,4 history has interpreted it in the most intellectualist sense possible, that is, that being and ultimately life, as well as the individual personality (sum), require a rational basis and can receive it from philosophy. Philosophy is then torn from its roots and inevitably falls into a delusion of grandeur, immersing itself in a world of dreams and shadows, sometimes grand and fascinating, but ultimately lifeless. In other words, an epoch of dreamy idealism opens, for which cogitare = essere = vivere—the ‘‘Copernican’’ pretensions of the armchair know-it-all. European philosophy is still in the throes of this illness. In the course of further development, intellectualism has taken two courses: absolute idealism, which with its inevitable panlogism proclaims the boundless universality of the logical principle, self-conscious thought, which achieves its ultimate expression in philosophy (according to which philosophy is higher than life, is its goal and product); and critical rationalism, in which metaphysical panlogism gives way to ‘‘scientific idealism,’’ and the role of world wisdom is assumed by formal schemas of scientific cognition. The boldest representatives of intellectualism in contemporary metaphysics are, of course, Fichte in his first system 5 of Ich-philosophie (developed
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in the Grundlage der gesammten Wissenschaftslehre [Foundations of a general theory of science] and the Grundriss der gesammten Wissenschaftslehre [Basics of the general theory of science], , and also in two Einleitungen in die Wissenschaftslehre [Introductions to the theory of science], ), and particularly Hegel, who reaches the ultimate extreme of intellectualism. Hegel’s general significance in this context is well known; a specific explication of his system from this point of view lies outside the scope of the present work.6 Scientific rationalism, the other form of contemporary intellectualism, is represented by scientific positivism but also finds conscious and ‘‘critical’’ expression in neo-Kantian idealism, with its pancategorialism and panmethodism, and in contemporary methodologies of science or so-called scientific philosophy. This trait is more or less characteristic of all neoKantianism in its most influential branches, but it finds its most complete and radical expression in the teachings of the so-called Marburg school headed by Cohen, that Hegel of scientific rationalism.7 Here philosophy is openly and clearly oriented toward science, and above all towards mathematics, and the concepts of specialized sciences with their abstract categories are interpreted as the single, higher, thoroughly rational reality, generated from meonic nothingness by scientific reason. Science is the ‹ntvw ‹n of reality, whereas philosophy, as a system of categories, as the self-consciousness of scientific reason, is the ‹ntvw ‹n of science. The alogical is ignored, whereas the irrational is acknowledged only as a possible problem, as an ‘‘ewige Aufgabe’’ [eternal task], that is, it is merely inserted into the system of categories and thus rationalized. The true founder of the contemporary philosophy of intellectualism is, of course, Kant. Both of its branches—panlogism and pancategorialism, Hegelianism and Cohenism—are bound to Kant by inheritance. Schopenhauer, and Schelling,
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and Fichte of the second period have in one or another manner also been connected with him, however; this shows that Kant’s works conceal in themselves various possibilities but in themselves are devoid of sufficient definition (thanks to the lack of clarity in the theory of the role of ‘‘Empfindung’’ [sensation] in the theory of knowledge and the ambiguity of the metaphysical theory of the Ding an sich [thing in itself ]). On the opposite pole to intellectualism is contemporary antiintellectualism, which is however simultaneously generated by intellectualism as a reaction to it and is therefore incapable of overcoming it. The distinguishing characteristic of antiintellectualism is skepticism concerning the independence of the logical principle. This skepticism originates in the tendency to view reason as nothing but a tool of life, guided by blind, alogical, almost antilogical instinct. Reason acquires the status of an instrument, valuable only insofar as it is useful. Thus reason is not only deprived of the autonomous sovereignty of self-generating thought attributed to it by intellectualism but is actually seen as a product, or as a means. Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel all sought to understand the history of reason in its self-consciousness and development, but their task was limited to an analysis only of the development, not of the genesis of reason, and therefore has nothing in common with antiintellectualism’s contemporary effort to explain the very origin of reason, for it acknowledged the rights of reason and assumed it to be primordially given. Anti-intellectualism, in contrast, proceeds on the silent, or even half-consciously articulated, presupposition that reason originated in time, that is, that there could have been a time when there was no reason. In this case we must go farther and admit that reason could have not been at all, and life might have remained blind and instinctive. We do not find this even in Schopenhauer, the philosopher of blind will who comes closest to anti-intellectualism; even
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’’ on the contrary. with varying degrees of philosophical consciousness and for different philosophical motives. the most different thinkers. on one hand. falling into a vicious circle. and la raison toujours finira par la raison. for others. The fundamental and inalienable flaw of anti-intellectualism striving to be philosophy. but in that of the absence of ideal inevitability) unquestionably degrades reason and questions the very possibility of cognition. the possibility of its own self. that is. that is. therefore. and on the other the economic materialists and some philosophical materialists (hylozoists such as Häckel). this is a means of shielding themselves from any metaphysics or religion and decisively affirming themselves in the zoological calling of human apes. Reason cannot be desecrated by reason itself. moving the significance of instinct to the forefront. he must  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . This irrationalism suffers from self-destructive skepticism—the lot of every radical skepticism that advances any sort of positive statement. in the sense of lack of empirical reasons. ‘‘pre-Kantians after Kant. and Simmel. reason necessarily originates together with the beginning of the world-historical process: the world as will is necessarily also representation. while simultaneously appropriating the throne of the superman.8 Here the classic example of a self-contradictory judgment. as a Cretan. For some this is the flag of rebellion against Kant and neo-Kantianism and the discovery of metaphysics and religion (Bergson and some of the pragmatists). of course. rally around the flag of antiintellectualism: Darwinists in epistemology—including. however. is the impossibility of justifying its own existence and goals by its own principles. and. The irrationalism combined with instrumentalism of the effort to reduce reason to evolutionary accident (not. finally. At present. Nietzsche. then Bergson and his followers. by the same token. Feuerbach. inevitably repeats itself: one Cretan said that all Cretans were liars. contemporary pragmatists.for him. a logical system.

This truth was felt with great immediacy by the ‘‘historian of reason. If we limit ourselves merely to correcting the perversities of presumptuous scholastic rationalism. primordial. is valuable. Life is broader and deeper than rational consciousness. the rebellion against deadening rationalism. By doing so. not immediately. Thus life is the concrete and indissoluble unity of the logical and the alogical. and only this proposition makes the fact of knowledge comprehensible. Although the rational-discursive daytime I is the sharpest expression or symptom of life. for here too rebellion is that same slavery. however. but then he. in this particular case it turns out that he said the truth and Cretans are really liars. logos is the connection of things. necessarily having The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . lied. or pre-conscious spheres. and so on. before any Darwinism or evolutionism. dreaming I. Life in nature acquires consciousness by a long and roundabout path. in science. but ‘‘we cannot live by rebellion alone’’ (Dostoevsky) even in philosophy. it grows out of the depths and has roots in the darkness of the nighttime. Only the basic mood of anti-intellectualism. but in reverse. in philosophy. the personality is immeasurably deeper and broader than its consciousness at any given moment.’’ Schelling. and his own statement contradicts the truth. then we still don’t have anti-intellectualism.’’ subconscious. for below and behind it lie ‘‘subliminal. Antiintellectualism justly and powerfully emphasizes the boundaries of intellectualist rationalism. too. and this consciousness has its own history. which consists precisely in the destruction of the necessary. and even in our self-consciousness we find this same living synthesis of logical and alogical. is not alien to the logos.have lied. it in fact carries out a sentence on itself as a philosophical teaching. Life is not antilogical. making us the spiritual prisoners of rationalism instead of overcoming it. and ideal connection of logical and alogical and immerses the light of reason in the dark elements of the alogical.

and thought is not yet being. symbols. transcend the boundaries of life and in this sense is also a concrete living act. in other words. By itself this synthesis evidently represents something supralogical. rather. many ideal series) of logical concepts. is of course un / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . Logical thought. abstracted from the concrete unity of logical and alogical. thought has a substratum outside itself. although all that which exists can be thought. from life that is supralogical and inexhaustible by logical thought. it is alogical-logical. This construction of ideal series of reality. from which the odor of life. the aftertaste of ‘‘psychologism. the distance from any kind of ‘‘psychologism. life is not exhausted by thought. or schemas of living. But at the same time thought is necessarily tied to the alogical principle and is constantly reflected from it (as the I in Fichte’s system depends on continuous points of non-I for its expression). supralogical reality through concepts—this symbolism of logic or ‘‘algebra of thought’’ (Couture’s expression)—does not. (In general the ‘‘cleanness’’ that attracts contemporary epistemologists. based on the abstraction of the logical principle and the symbolic expression of concrete.transsubjective 9 or objective meaning—this axiom is constantly presupposed by thought and lies at the foundation of our logical self-consciousness. which recreates reality as an ideal series (or. in itself. And this living and mysterious synthesis of two different yet not contradictory principles—the logical and the alogical—takes place in every act of thought. or.’’ that is. The general relation between thought (both scientific and philosophical) and its object is characterized by the possibility of thinking all that exists. concrete unities. All of living reality is ideal-real in all of its dimensions. is based on the possibility of reflection.’’ cannot be removed by any epistemological disinfectant. but also by its alogical nature. not quite accessible to thought—a wall that logical thought encounters as its ultimate limit.

the self-reflection of life. in its dialectics. and there is no room for hiatuses or omissions. Such is the nature of thought as it is revealed through analysis of its activity in its ideal expression. thought really is equivalent to being. which equates thought and being. that is. we are convinced by the illusion that we really have understood life in all its depth. hidden nooks and crannies. are inextricably bound to each other. for this limited and contingent point of view. alongside the concrete world. and. Thought is self-sufficient in its development. crystallic formations The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . Ideal reality—the construct of logical thought—is thoroughly logical and rational.attainable. and even the effort to achieve it is the product of the malady of intellectualism. in turn. it can contain no dark. The ideal power and light of the logos is revealed in its perception of itself as the beginning of being. it is entirely accessible to logical criticism and subject to ‘‘critical self-accountability. in the science of logic. as Cohen so vehemently insists). epistemology. it is held together by a system of categories that. in its tasks and problems. Thought operates through judgments and concepts that are something like agglutinations of thought.’’ or intelligible. is the product of the reflective activity of reason. and a luminous edifice is erected on a dark and impenetrable foundation. based on abstraction from life. The intellect is capable of constructing an abstract world. wholly rational and ‘‘transparent.) But this ideal.’’ In it everything is connected and continuous (Kontinuität is the basic law of thought. But we must never forget that thought. and in the analysis of cognition. and if we examine life only in the light of this principle. and to this extent even pancategorialism holds (for its monstrous lies begin only where it imparts ontological significance to its epistemological propositions and explicates them as intellectualistic metaphysics). purely logical reflection of concrete ideal-real reality is actually a sort of extraction of the logical principle.

But this would be merely a terminological distinction. whereas epistemology is in the same sense the philosophy of thought and cognition. in its total continuity and contingency (Plotinus. They are given by life. this would be like trying to solve an equation consisting only of unknowns. so-called scientific philosophy is actually the philosophy of science. supralogical life. an act of creation of life. and they must be accepted as a self-evident axiom certified in the process of life. General philosophy (the metaphysics of being) reflects on being (life) as a unity in its most general and abstract definition. they possess apodictic certainty and are obligatory for thought. more particular themes or motifs of philosophical systems from the field. Hegel). But.  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . But one cannot solve a problem without data. we could reserve the title of philosophy for only this last type of philosophizing. thus removing all the other. Even so they cannot be considered to be hanging in the air. the concentration on one or another manifestation of life. obscuring the givens on whose basis they have been set up. These logical symbols and symbols of symbols. In its essence. for their mass grows into the ground.that are then substituted for whole. concepts and categories. are in fact the columns that support the suspended. lacy bridges of scientific and philosophical thought and on which the idealistic fata morgana stumbles. the act of reflection itself. For example. Of course. of course. oriented on the fact of scientific cognition (as is made clear in Cohen’s system). is a free act (as deeply felt in Fichte’s system). and they in turn set up problems for thought. This arbitrary concentration on one or another point or ‘‘fact’’ of life is precisely what I call orientation on this fact. Concepts remain symbols or schemes of living reality. It is the givens that serve as the point of departure for one or another mental construction and admit of no proof. Contemporary intellectualism has become too accustomed to play with postulates.

they are the ‘‘external impulse’’ (äußerer Anstoß) that remained impenetrable for Fichte’s idealistic system. particularly in the last period. these testimonies of life are the ‘‘Empfindung’’ [sensation] that lies as a dead weight at the bottom of Kant’s Erfahrung [experience]. and it has different themes and orientations. This is the Ding an sich that. this is the m| ‹n (and not o„k ‹n) that is by no means nothing. and thought. supralogical unity. In the end.philosophy remains pluralistic. reflection. but only uncertainty in Mr. becomes immanent to the knowing consciousness. Life inevitably intrudes into the realm of the logical. Life is not transcendent for the living being with its whole living experience. This is the ‘‘otherness of spirit’’ that even Hegel was compelled to introduce into his system. this idea is developed with one or another variation in a series of philosophical systems. Schopenhauer. Life is the Ding an sich in its immediate mystical depths of phenomenal experience. Cohen’s teaching of reiner Ursprung [pure origins]. though transcendent with respect to rational systems. Thought can cover a more or less wide circle of problems as it begins at a particular point of departure and eventually returns to it. inevitably penetrates even the most self-contained idealistic philosophical construction. as foam or reflections appear on the surface of a bottomless body of water. Finally. and void’’ through the word. this is how it comes to the surface of thought and knowledge. Hartmann (who defends this idea with particular energy both against Hegelianism and against materiThe Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . but it is transcendent for its faculties of cognition. while remaining simultaneously transcendent to it in its concrete. The idea of the concrete synthesis of the alogical and the logical in the supralogical unity of life lies deep in the Christian teachings of God’s three hypostases and of the creation of the world from the earth ‘‘without form. In contemporary philosophy. here we can include Schelling.

P  S Thought is intrinsically ‘‘oriented’’ rather than independent. Obviously. consequently. we must also acknowledge a multiplicity of paths for thought and therefore the objective ‘‘significance’’ of various constructions. ‘‘royal’’ path for thought. we must speak not of all possible orientations but only of the few that are the most practical and therefore natural ( just as geometers deal not with all theoretically possible geometries but only with those that contribute to the understanding of our three-dimensional space. or to the way in which an infinite multiplicity of curves or lines may intersect in a single point. Trubetskoy. who in this sense is subject to spatial and temporal. holds the possibility for their resolution. III.alism). that is. N. practically. and Prince S. there can be no single. Vladimir Soloviev. owing to the unity and connectedness of life and the law of continuity of thought: everything is in everything else and everything can be found in everything else.10 Different thinkers have arrived at similar solutions of the question of the nature of thought. given a multiplicity of initial orientations. so. mostly with Euclidean geometry). not all orientations are in practice convenient and accessible for the thinking being. any one specific orientation may hold the key to a whole series of philosophical problems and. personal and historical limitations. however. there can be no single total philosophical system like that  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . rather. But. in principle. for reflection is an act of freedom. hence. and this something is determined somewhat arbitrarily. it is thought about something. similarly to the way in which paths covering an entire sphere may be drawn through any point on its surface. There are not set boundaries here. though approaching it from various angles. In other words. But. precisely for this reason.

as a work of art contains a necessary consistency The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . Therefore philosophical systems can justifiably differ among themselves depending on their initial orientation or. for a philosophical system is also a type of artistic creation. proceeding from the particular to the particular and finding the general only in the process of transition. (This thought forms the basis of the history of philosophy for Hegel and his successors. to step outside of time. to a point. that thinking of reality. to which Hegel pretended. including S. one can construct different scientific and philosophical systems by proceeding from different points of orientation to arrive at equally valid assessments of a particular object. the single truth is the Ding an sich.) It is difficult to refrain from comparing philosophical creativity to art. whereas discursive thought is capable of finding everything in everything else only by moving from one thing to another. to transcend discursive thought. Different points of view can. Trubetskoy. This would really be that concrete idealism. N. it contains inner necessity and logical order. this is analogous to measuring the same mountain from different sides and standpoints in different light and still arriving at uncontradictory projections of the same object. discursive thought. and to an even greater extent science. transcendent for cognition as a given but immanent as a goal. to find everything in everything else in a single unified whole. For this reason. philosophy.in which Hegel and the idealists believed. coexist peacefully.11 To perceive a reality in which everything is rational and inevitable and there are no accidents. in other words. as the ideal of cognition (Kant’s ‘‘idea’’). that is. is pluralistic by nature. while the mutually contradictory ones eliminate each other. confusing abstractness with general applicability and taking the most abstract system for the most universal. a ‘‘poetry of concepts’’. immediately to apprehend the entire dialectic of world being— this means to look on the world with God’s eye.

as the self-reflection of life. acknowledging in principle the possibility of a plurality of philosophical paths and transforming philosophy into philosophies. however.and harmony in the relation of parts to the whole. depends not on unity of direction (which we decidedly do not observe in the history of ideas) but on the unity of the functions of thought and cognition. not only every philosophical doctrine but also science strives to build itself into a closed system of concepts and to connect ends with beginnings. following necessarily from our general understanding of the relation of philosophy and life. as well as science into sciences. by the progress of scientific knowledge in its multiplicity and complexity. I presume that faith in absolute systems has been undermined forever—by the crazy pretensions of Hegel’s absolute idealism. for architectonics lies too deep in reason for us to free ourselves of it. finally. it is. aesthetic relativism in philosophy. then. The meaning of the history of philosophy. has nothing in common with skepticism. In constructing such a system. and. single and continuous. absolute philosophy. The progress of philosophy and science. is determined according to this understanding of the nature of philosophy. Yet the planning of the composition gives free rein to creative freedom. The history of philosophy becomes not only the history of ‘‘the dis / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . self-evident to ‘‘artistic reason’’ if logically unprovable. too. The point of view advanced here. and the initial orientation requires artistic tact: here philosophical-artistic talent demonstrates itself most. which undermines any possibility of objective cognition. by the efforts of recent criticism with its refined and corrupting relativism. In this fact the well-being of contemporary individualism finds satisfaction. The need for a system. as it seeks to express itself in the individualization of philosophical creativity. the contemporary thinker (if he does not fall into delusions of grandeur or naive dogmatism) does not claim to present a single. rather.

There can be as little objection to a philosophy of economy as to a science of economy. in principle. its various initial orientations. that a philosophical system can also be constructed as a philosophy of economy. approach the object. for both have a single object. cannot be understood in the absolutistic spirit of the claims. inherited from the Enlightenment and Hegel. what is the same. of course. This task. My posited problem pretends to less: I wish to say only that we can approach a general philosophy of life by proceeding also from this aspect of life. it is clear that it cannot be the object of investigation. does the dividing line between philosophy and science lie? What distinguishes one from the other? First of all. In any case I suppose that these definitions. and therefore perceive some hitherto unexplored aspects. respectively. for the discovery of new ideas of the absolute comes about thanks to the discovery of new ways of thinking about it. the philosophy of economy does not aspire to be an absolute system. The proposed understanding of philosophy removes the objections to an effort to construct a philosophical system oriented on economy as a fact of life.’’ as Hegel justly saw it. coincide. But where. moreover. then.12 but also a survey of the various motives of philosophical creativity or. which is life in its self-reflection and. only the aspects of life that can be studied both by scientific investigation and philosophical analysis. The absolute is of course unique. in practice. the methods by which they.covery of ideas of the absolute. that is. containing in itself all philosophical truth in pure form. possessing the key to open all locks. also justifies the task of the present investigation. The above. The distinction between philosophy and science lies not in their object but in their cognitive orientation. of absolute idealism or economic materialism. at least unless we fall into skepticism with regard to knowledge generally. They also perceive the object The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . although it appears many-faceted for those who approach it by different paths.

What is adjacent to or outside the boundaries of the given science is either a matter of absolute indifference to it or exists only insofar as it intrudes into its specific investigations. in its theories. both study the economic process. they are more general and abstract. although larger in scope than scientific concepts. Philosophy is interested in that which is of least concern to science—the connection of given phenomena with the general. the place they occupy with respect to life as a whole. the second asks. it is intentionally one-sided. Science fragments life.13 In contrast. Science cuts little pieces out of reality and studies them as if they were. but one engages in detailed analysis. are inevitably poorer in content. Scientific study proceeds by isolating its object. for they serve as cognitive instruments in the resolution of problems broader than scientific ones. what?. Science is specialized by nature. whereas scientific reflection looks at separate parts of it. whereas the other looks for its general meaning. We can therefore define philosophy as a theory of life as a whole in its most general definition  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . science gives us the schema of this constructed mechanism. say that philosophy seeks the explanation of the living meaning of phenomena studied by science in their individuality. The first asks. divides up reality into separate parts that it then proceeds to put together again in a new mechanism. for example. For this reason. perhaps. how? Philosophical reflection is always directed toward the whole of life. Thus political economy and the philosophy of economy. all of reality. philosophy is little inclined toward the detail that distinguishes science. in fact. This is why adjacent fields of inquiry are outside the reach of science: its tacit assumptions are precisely the proper task of philosophy. We might. It examines the world and its various aspects as a whole and in the light of the construction of this whole.differently and ask different questions about it. it turns out that philosophical concepts.

IV.14 In fact. First of all. The most ambitious and influential criticistic constructions of our time (those of the so-called Freiburg and Marburg schools: Windelband’s and Rickert’s teleological idealism and Cohen’s and Natorp’s logic of pure cognition) suffer from the unabashed dogmatism of their fundamental propositions: in one.(actually. as always. like science. Therefore I feel that. true philosophical criticism and ‘‘criticism’’ are not only not identical but differ from each other in varying degrees. few who really deserve the title. is really of secondary importance. but the difference between the cognitive interests of philosophy and science would remain unmarked if we were to adopt this terminological identity of the two. ‘‘Criticism’’ can. instead of equating philosophy and science. formally speaking. suffer from dogmatism no less than the dogmatics of times past. Criticism or dogmatism? ‘‘That is the question. in contemporary scholasticism. S. the fragile and unstable apparatus of contemporary scientific thought The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . the terminological question of whether we must call philosophy science. Of course.’’ In my opinion—neither one nor the other. N. or whether this title should belong to specialized sciences alone. we could call philosophy science. C  D At the present time it is impossible to speak about philosophical questions without paying at least minimal tribute to the ‘‘theory of cognition’’ and without kowtowing before the Chinese dragon of ‘‘criticism’’ that currently embellishes the portals of the philosophical academy. a methodically constructed system of concepts. insofar as it is. Trubetskoy’s definition of metaphysics as a science of being approaches this understanding). and does. and among the ‘‘criticists’’ who consider themselves critical philosophers there are. we should see them as two different directions of our thought and cognition.

At the same time. it would be naive to think that there was no philosophical criticism before Kant. Of course. criticism.15 All creative philosophical minds have undoubtedly been truly critical philosophers. a priori and a posteriori. and who would refuse to be a critical philosopher in this sense!—in fact we all like to consider ourselves as such. strict logic and conceptual clarity. in other words.17 with its concomitant indistinguishability of subject and object. and transformed by a series of sophistical reasoning into an ethereal ‘‘object of cognition. Contemporary ‘‘criticism’’ is merely a scholastic orientation based on a terribly exaggerated evaluation of Kant and his (supposed) ‘‘Copernican philosophical achievement. certain patterns of cognition are mistakenly thought to be absolute. to use Fichte’s expression. it is reflection with respect to a fact of knowledge that has already taken place. on the other. critical selfcontrol are desirable for all. this assumption bears no relation to historical fact. or form and content. perhaps it represents the twilight of philosophy. coherence and self-accountability. which expresses reflection with respect to the given act of knowledge and is already a secondary potential. for they clarified one or another question and introduced new problems. The contemporary argument between dogmatism and criticism can be reduced to the question of establishing normal relations between the practice of life in its immediacy. that ‘‘alchemy of cognition’’ 16 of our day.  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . in the other.is automatically accepted as the absolute foundation of philosophy. Actually.’’ And yet each of these schools considers itself to be the true heir of Kantian criticism.18 The critical investigation of knowledge is always a second story erected on a given foundation. and.’’ We can see the philosophical illness of modernity in neo-Kantian criticism. its immersion in the object of knowledge. on one hand. there is no particular ‘‘inventor’s secret’’ that holds the key to all philosophical criticism.

. Here it is appropriate to remember Hegel’s words. and unreflective self-sufficiency. or declarations is taken from real life. distinguished by its immediacy.As Fichte says about his Wissenschaftslehre [Theory of science]. declarations about declarations. So there can be no critical guidelines that would really teach us how to wield the instruments of knowledge. ‘‘not one of its thoughts. but it is not its legislator. existing before any criticism and independent of it. . the Critique of Pure Reason as it was conceived in the mind of its author. Critical philosophy’s main point is that. it became a touchstone on which the critical mice could sharpen their teeth. for they themselves are facts. These are properly thoughts about thoughts which one has or ought to have.’’ 19 Every act of knowledge. of course. not fabricated in a critical laboratory like a homuncule. nor does it correspond to real life. that is. as an act of life. and as can be applied to all Erkenntnisslehre [theories of cognition]. . self-absorption. Thought and knowledge are creative acts. born of the immediacy of philosophical power. Such also was. of the very depth of thought’s self-consciousness. statements about statements . before proceeding to knowledge of God. For this reason it is impossible to learn criticism. we must first investigate the possibility of cognition and whether it is applicable to such tasks. and creativity is immediate: creative notions and ideas are conceived in the consciousness. is in this sense necessarily dogmatic. as a ready product. and professional ‘‘criticism’’ is an empty pretension. for criticism arrives only post factum and is a reflection on an already completed act of cognition. the essence of things and so on. Criticism engages in the analysis and description of givens of knowledge. statements. first we must study the instrument we The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . Thought and knowledge cannot be based on or justified by criticism. before.

if it is no good. But the investigation of knowledge cannot be undertaken otherwise that through cognition itself. fifth. But to wish to know before knowledge is just as ridiculous [ungereimt] as the scholastic’s wise rule—to learn to swim before jumping in the water.’’ and therefore a criticism of criticism becomes necessary. Alexander Pushkin Criticism.20 There is no movement. . . unreflectively. moves in a circle and resembles a snake trying to catch its own tail. immersing itself in the object of its knowledge. we can see that other instruments can be investigated and evaluated only upon their performance of the task for which they are intended. ‘‘dogmatic. it knows immediately. all of our labor will have been in vain. . we have here a regressus in infinitum 21—evil  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . to formal principles. so to speak. . . however. we are not deceived by words. n.intend to use to accomplish our task. which would like to be logical and to leave nothing without critical reflection. To put it in contemporary language.. which in turn requires knowledge of a fourth. said the bearded elder. If. This thought seemed so plausible that it provoked much surprise and sympathy. potential. n +  . . it commits the mortal sin of ‘‘psychologism. that is. of the first potential—it promotes this knowledge to the second potential and recreates the same first potential in a new cognitive act—that is.’’ unreflective knowledge—knowledge. i. The other was silent and began to walk before him . For as it critically investigates immediate. to investigate such a ‘‘tool’’ means nothing other than to engage in cognition. and diverted the attention of cognition from objects to its own self. In other words.e. . knowledge of a third potential.

it is immediate and ‘‘dogmatic. In relation to the alogical-logical fullness of life it is abstract and mediated. but. an organism of concepts and judgments. all of which shows the falseness of the problem itself. naive. for it is in keeping with the spirit of Kant’s entire system. nor does it diminish its importance as a scientific or philosophical discipline. Two types of problem remain for the theory of cognition: the scientific and the philosophical or. On the contrary. The philosophy of knowledge generally and the philosophy of science in particular are necessary and important The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . dogmatism and criticism are connected and interrelated. rather. This is how I perceive the problem of the critique of knowledge. the explication of its life meaning. The scientific task reduces to an analysis of knowledge from the standpoint of its general forms. it is. and this confusion is intentional. as living action. I wish only to refute its significance as a legislator of knowledge and the assumption that a theory of knowledge must precede knowledge itself. which originates in the depths of life. as in the contemporary theory of cognition. we must admit that it is this dogmatism that makes criticism possible and is tacitly acknowledged by criticism. or a critique of knowledge in the proper sense.infinity precisely where we need a finite quantity. The above in no way denies the problems of the theory of knowledge. is immediate.’’ and this living dogmatism of knowledge cannot be dissolved by any criticism. if you will. knowledge reflecting on itself. testing itself. In the Critique of Pure Reason. the metaphysical. Knowledge is rational by nature. these two tasks are frequently confused or insufficiently distinguished despite their differences. Consequently. The philosophical task consists in the explanation of the fact of knowledge. not opposed and hostile to each other. is critical. or at least strives to become. dogmatic. checking itself. The practice of knowledge. at the same time.

A P D  E In the current empirical world. so-called dead nature. Life is not separated from nonbeing by an impenetrable wall that would make these attempts futile. everything in which the signs of life are apparently absent.’’ under this leaden sky. for it is fragile. mortal. constantly threatened by the yawning abyss of nonbeing. of the deadened and mechanistic. although they may have a very different significance from that now attributed to them by ‘‘scientific philosophy. the material. that is. exists only in the light of life. Under ‘‘the heavy shroud of graying skies.  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . temporary. life seems a sort of accident. though negative. waiting to strike from all sides and in all guises. on a poisoned. life is constantly in the process of being destroyed as it becomes the prey of nonbeing. life timidly and stingily huddles in the corners of the universe. For if it cannot be completely exterminated.divisions of philosophy. is expressed in terms of life. of stifling necessity. Things. are only a minus of life. its negative coefficient. The ‘‘organic’’ world. There is only life. plague-ridden earth. They are visible only in the light of life. but outside of this definition. It is imperfect in itself.’’ V. an oversight or indulgence of the part of death. as objects emerge from the meonic darkness of nonbeing (potential being) when the sun rises and disappear again into nonbeing in the dark of night. is one of reality’s greatest paradoxes and an eternal riddle for the mind. the living with the nonliving. and all that exists. the kingdom of life in its various forms. which. things turn into phantoms and disappear. Encircled by a ring of death. saving itself from final extermination only through a terrible struggle. is surrounded by a hostile atmosphere of death. ‘‘life lives’’ only in a constant struggle with death. The coexistence of life with death.

of Sol. at present only mortal life exists in the world. light and darkness. black whiteness. for it is defined only as the negation of life. life is affirmed in the kingdom of death that surrounds it on all sides and penetrates into all of its pores. requiring some kind of true being for its phantom existence. life that. Consequently. We have become so accustomed to death. it drags along its contingent existence as a shadow of being. Nonetheless. however we may explain it. is not absolute in its factual existence. death is nonlife. and this is so widespread that death has become an attribute and sign of life—for only the living can die. it is but the shadow of life. which is however much deeper and more radical than in such juxtapositions as. that we are no longer amazed by this contradiction. limited. penetrates our entire life. rendering it imperfect. the death of the living is not only unnatural but self-contradictory. it does not exist—‘‘God made not death’’ (Wisd. it does not have an independent strength of being. the living and the thinglike. although absolute and extratemporal in its metaphysical character. and outside of life it is nothing. that is. in the very heart of the world. Life The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . then this is only because this struggle takes place also inside being. :). nonabsolute. cold heat. Still. for example. yet. hot ice. and hence logically inconceivable. Metaphysically. in contrast to the positive if indefinite m| ‹n) is.Even death exists only thanks to life and in its light. and yet empirically this has become the most general and profound law of existence. the struggle between life and death. If the struggle of life and death is so irresolvable on the surface of world being. We cannot say that the absolute nothing (o„k ‹n. we cannot think through this concept because of its inner inconsistency. or its mirror image. in full contradiction to its essence. to the very idea of mortal life. This paradox holds a riddle for thought. which is capable of supporting only mortal life.

alienation. We experience the struggle for life as imprisonment by necessity. ‘‘the prince of this world. Cold and heat. exists in everyday reality. all of which threaten one thing: death. by the deadened mechanism of nature. iron fate—these are all guises in which the spirit of nonbeing. Life. Nature is not what you think. impenetrability for man lies upon nature. The struggle for life against the powers of death—in an ontological as well as a biological sense—is the most general definition of existence. a dead desert under a leaden sky. The living being feels itself the slave of necessity and mechanism. It has love. in contrast to the iron necessity of mechanism. appears.can therefore be only an unceasing struggle with death. it has freedom. The dead mask of thingness. unintelligible raging elements. in reality. and only the chosen seers know that. deadened mechanism. It has a soul.’’ Death. is the principle of freedom and organicism. and all threaten life. rain.  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . Death constrains life to the point of mutual selfdestruction: the Darwinian struggle for survival! Death uses the life of some as a tool for the death of others. Fedor Tiutchev But even they receive this revelation only in moments of poetic inspiration. a river. Not an empty. where death and destruction wait on every step. it is achieved not passively but in the constant tension of battle. drought. even for them. the victory of life in one point actually becomes the victory of death in another. by the ‘‘empty and bustling elements’’ of the world. free intentionality. an ocean—all are hostile. it has a language. soulless face. fog. that is. Blind necessity. a hurricane. the same world of things.

the entire human economy can be seen as a particular case of the biological struggle for existence. The territories of freedom and necessity are in constant flux with respect to each other. although without eliminating it as causality. and organism. must defend its existence. and in this man resembles all the rest of the animal world. without which life cannot exist. or life. Thus every living being. is man’s fateful dependence on the satisfaction of his lower. or thingness. Insofar as this resemblance exists. can take various forms. it can proceed with primitive instruments or with all the tools The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . to tame the antagonistic elements of nature and to subjugate nature’s forces to its aims. for it seizes the first possible opportunity to become an offensive battle. and from nature’s effort to transcend mechanism—the principle of necessity—within itself in order to transform itself into an organism—the principle of cosmic freedom. of the organism with the mechanism. But this defensive relation does not exhaust the struggle for life. to the spirit of death and nonbeing. protect life from death. so-called material needs. is the struggle of life and death. or aseism. We can say that the entire world-historical process proceeds from the contradiction between mechanism. The organism conquers the mechanism. The immediate expression of this subjugation of being to the prince of darkness. in which life transforms the conquered pieces of mechanism into parts of its organism and melts the cold metal of thingness in the fire of life. the victory of life. This struggle to broaden the sphere of life and freedom at the expense of necessity. including man. striving to confirm and broaden life. The law of the organism is Schelling’s causality through freedom (Kausalität durch die Freiheit).The struggle of the teleological with the mechanical principle. or panzoism. The struggle for life is therefore first of all the struggle for food. animal. life—freedom—seeks to expand its acquisitions and to surround itself with a sphere of ever-increasing radius.

of the animal as well as the human world: Why can’t we speak of the economy of bees or ants. the transcension of necessity through freedom. but its content remains the same: the defense of life and the broadening of its sphere. economic activity is characteristic only of man. is in fact what—in the broadest and most preliminary fashion—we call economy. or of the economic meaning and content of the animal struggle for existence? Yet in the precise sense of the word.of knowledge. The struggle against the antagonistic forces of nature for the purpose of defending. in the end. However successful this struggle may be. Thus economy is the struggle of humanity with the elemental forces of nature with the aim of protecting and widening life. conquering and humanizing nature. The task of economy is determined  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . becoming their master. The two aspects of this activity—the defensive and the offensive. and it includes. it still cannot be stopped at will. the protection and the broadening of life—are inextricably connected. are but different sides of the same process. the transcension of the dead mechanism through the forces of life. as particular and subordinate elements. it is forced rather than voluntary. affirming. as the humanization of nature. mechanism through organism. into a living body with its organic coherence. The economic process can therefore be described also as follows: it expresses the striving to transform dead material. causality through intentionality—that is. transforming it into a potential human organism. acting in accordance with mechanical necessity. in other words— the creation of life. or proprietor. with the aim of conquering and taming these forces. and broadening life. Economy in this sense is characteristic of all living things. aspects of the economy of the animal world. the aim of this process can be defined as the transformation of the entire cosmic mechanism into a potential or actual organism. The traits distinguishing human from animal economy will be clarified at a later point.

is it impossible to cure the illness of the heart of the world. consequently. transitional stage. The actual state of being is an unfinished. if life were completely destroyed. the world would find itself in the dark night of nonbeing. through economic activity? Is a new creative act of the Divinity. But if economy is a form of the struggle of life and death. a precarious balance. mechanism and organism. life and death: if absolute. the universe were a universal organism). if there were no room in the world for mechanism with the threat of death. poisoned by death. characterisThe Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . and is a tool of life’s self-affirmation. instead. likewise. lacking the illumination of life and freedom. to transcend its own condition? Or. In its most basic motivation it is unfree activity. freedom and necessity. but is it really a victory over its metaphysical essence? Economy is the struggle with the mortal forces of the prince of darkness. for this motivation is the fear of death. its discussion belongs to the eschatology of economy (in the second part of this work). The progress of economy is the victory of the organizing forces of life over the disintegrating forces and deeds of death. immortal life reigned in the world (and. by conquering death. Economy is the expression of the struggle of these two metaphysical principles—life and death. which seeks to acquire stability in the very process of struggle. but is it capable of standing up to the prince himself? Is economy capable of chasing death from the world and. then the only form of causality would be causality through freedom or teleology. and the kingdom of dead mechanism knew no bounds. the contradiction and mutual limitation of freedom and necessity. then we say with as much certainty that economy is a function of death. through the force of Him who ‘‘conquered death’’ required to ‘‘destroy the final enemy—death’’? This final question we pose here simply as a logical boundary. induced by the necessity to defend life.precisely by this disintegration of being.

without the conscious application of labor.22 The characteristic distinguishing economic activity is the presence of effort. and particularly involuntary labor. which would otherwise expand infinitely to include all cultural sciences. However far man goes in his economic progress. Life arises naturally through birth. Already from its conception—in mercantilism. economic labor. particularly in the ‘‘theory of value. Labor is that value that brings life-supporting goods. retains its accuracy and meaning outside the limits of the discipline.tic of all living things. finally. in the writings of the Physiocrats as well as of Adam Smith and other representative of the classical school. but maintaining it through economy already requires work. he remains a slave.’’ 23 Rodbertus’s formula. directed toward a particular goal. which is limited by the aims and possibilities of specialized investigation. This truth lies like a dark anticipation at the basis of the so-called labor theory of value in political economy. ‘‘All economic goods are the product of labor. which reflects perfectly the general worldview of political economy. In political economy this intentional narrowness leads  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy .’’ that is. In this sense economy can be defined as the struggle. and. in order to delimit the field of specific investigation. Economy is the activity of labor. as well as of the conscious one-sidedness of our field of specialization. labor. apparently farther than accepted in political economy. materialistic. Labor. In defining economy as the actual defensive-offensive relation of man to nature. for life and its expansion. it bears the stamp of economic materialism. through labor. even as he becomes a master. and mercantile definition. labor is the basis of life from an economic point of view. defines economy. in socialism—political economy strives to define more exactly the concept of ‘‘productive. subject to death.’’ it receives an excessively narrow. that is. Within political economy. we expand its boundaries.

as a feeling of outwardly directed effort. it expresses the flame and sharpness of life. which accurately feels the universal. Is labor definable? There are efforts to define labor in political economy. cosmic significance of labor. the insufficiency of such a definition for mental labor aside. But. Labor in its inner basis. from the worker to Kant. as is political economy. for the philosophy of economy this intentional narrowing of perspective would be not only unnecessary but even harmful. that we must not only produce material goods but create all of culture. it is not difficult to see that this expenditure of energy is only the expression of labor. an active effort to come out of oneself. is not subject to any definition. that is. This human activity is the fulfillment of God’s word—In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread—and this includes all bread. and to this degree also the product of labor. through labor. The world as household is the world as the object of labor. as opposed to receiving them as a gift. Labor is the expenditure of nervous-muscular energy—such. although it is incapable of expressing it properly. The capacity for labor is one of the characteristics of a living being. Only he lives fully who is capable of labor and who actually engages in labor. The distinguishing trait of economy is the re-creation or acquisition of goods. Economy in its essence includes human labor in all its applications. they are too materialistic to satisfy us. in the sweat of our face. Labor is the trademark of economy. but they pursue specific goals in conjunction with the theory of value and are unsuccessful even in their limited aims. furthermore. spiritual as well as material food: it is through economic labor. although experience and observation reveal its manifestation to be active will. is Marx’s widespread and influential definition. material or spiritual. in this the labor theory of value is correct. from the sower to the astronomer. The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy /  . for example.to a one-sidedness and vulgarity in its conclusions.

as the re-creation and expansion of life through labor. Nature is thus the natural basis of culture. On the other hand. extra-economic state). at least in man. the ‘‘natural’’ forces of life and its growth. and the universe. gaining physical and spiritual strength. Rather. as the totality of what is given (to man). in the end. to the natural or ‘‘given’’ principle. and. culture has no creative powers that are not already given in nature. But at the same time it is a necessary moment. without a working culture. Nature without labor. only the universe’s existence establishes the subjective and objective possibility of economic activity. economic activity is as inconceivable and impossible as concrete experience is impossible outside of life. a moment in its growth. All sorts of processes in nature take place independently of economic activity. he develops in his mother’s womb and grows after birth. is opposite to nature. Economy. outside of nature. it is the material for economic activity. finding spiritual forces within himself. in the words of the Savior. Man is born not through an economic act. And even through all of our efforts (that is. through all the powers of culture) we cannot add so much as an extra cubit to our height. is incapable of revealing all of its forces.The principle of labor is related.  / The Problem of the Philosophy of Economy . including both the capacity and possibility for labor. is not created through an economic act. in a sense contradictory. Culture—the expansion of life through realized labor—requires nature as a precondition (in the sense of its precultural or extracultural. Economic activity is in this sense but a part of the life of the universe. included in the plan of the universe as the empirical manifestation of self-conscious life. it cannot abandon its dreamy state.