Grishina Elena

Leo Tolstoy in the Dialectic of B. P. Vysheslavtsev

Grishina Elena (2022) "Leo Tolstoy in the Dialectic of B. P. Vysheslavtsev ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2022, vol. 102, pp. 53-69 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI2022102.53-69


The author tries to reconstruct the philosophical dialogue between B. P. Vysheslavtsev and L. N. Tolstoy. Since the beliefs of these thinkers on philosophical, legal, religious and socio-economic issues are at first glance opposite, the article examines both their differences and their similarities. The author examines the texts in which Tolstoy is mentioned, analyzes the context and identifies a number of ideas that could help in studying the worldview of both philosophers and the problems they raise. At first glance, Vysheslavtsev's Tolstoy themes are collected in the field of philosophy of law, but a deeper discussion allows us to see that these themes have religious motives. The significance of the figure of P. I. Novgorodtsev in the formation of Vysheslavtsev as a dialectic. The philosopher draws a monumental image of Tolstoy, at the same time noting the naivety of his decisions and trying to comprehend the objective reasons for his rebellion. In this regard, the reasons for the uprising of Vysheslavtsev himself, who actively opposed all kinds of totalitarianism and violent social actions, become more understandable and justified. In his opinion, power can only be justified by a transition to a completely different existential state, that is, into a state of relative anarchy. Such a state of socio-political structures is "law" and "democracy" (a phenomenon opposite to "dictatorship"). Vysheslavtsev reflects on the antinomy of the absolute and the relative and comes to the conclusion, that the absolute can only be realized in relative forms in the relative. However, the absolute is not only an idea that drives a person on the path of self-improvement and social development, but also the Highest element of human nature, on the basis of which, according to the Christian promise, the divine dispensation of life is formed. The realization of the idea of personal morality requires a properly organized state. Such a state, in his opinion, is quite possible. However, analyzing the complexity of Moderna, summing up the results of the last period of the development of industrial culture (the 50s of the XX century), the philosopher declares a very disappointing result, which, however, does not deprive him of optimism about the ways to find new constructive solutions.


Vysheslavtsev, Tolstoy, Novgorodtsev, antinomy, law, power, Christian anarchism


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Information about the author

Grishina Elena

Student status: Graduate student;
Place of study: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for the Humanities; Moscow, Russia;
ORCID: 0000-0002-9214-1024;
Email: abameleck@yandex.ru.