Call for papers CRITICAL HERMENEUTICS, vol. 7, n. 2, December 2023
The thought of P.A. Florensky is a peculiar expression of Russian philosophy and, more generally, of Russian cultural identity; at the same time, it can nevertheless be regarded as a legitimate heir to the cultural tradition that from its powerful Ionian roots unfolds through the peaks and abysses of Western philosophy stricto sensu, up to the ultimate crises of contemporary thought.
Physicist, mathematician, electrical engineer, theologian, epistemologist, semiologist, historian of ideas, art theorist, fine artist, himself, of words and conceptual architectures, Florensky, who was killed in 1937, after long imprisonment in a Gulag on the Solovetsky Islands, embodies not only an incisive synthesis of different scientific disciplines, but also a singular and effective overlapping of cultural terrains – a fertile, luminous borderline between Russia and the West.
In the first two decades of the 20th century, the flowering of Russia’s intense cultural life reverberates in the formation and evolution of Florensky’s thought. The ideas of noble and passionate masters – from the mathematical studies of N.V. Bugaev to the symbolist visions of V.I. Ivanov, from the historical-philosophical analyses of S.N. Trubetskoy to the acute artistic intuitions of V.A. Favorsky – nourished the widespread feeling if not of an imminent epochal change, certainly of an approaching new beginning in philosophical and scientific knowledge. Florensky, in particular, on the one hand highlights the manifest dissolution of modern Western thought, perceived as a vain extension of its ‘worn-out’ Renaissance premises; on the other hand, he discerns the first appearance of a «new aeon» in the history of thought, the fervent dawn of a philosophy of the future – the latter conceived not as an abstract innovation or vacuous liberation from the past, but as the renewed sprouting of an ancient root: a root kept deep down, right at the heart, if we look closely, of that very tradition that, between Russia and the West, seemed then destined, in its ‘modern’ outcomes, and certainly only in those, to die out.
Florensky pursues and at the same time prepares the re-emergence of a specific current of thought, of which his work, precisely in its most audacious and innovative traits, offers a coherent continuation; indeed, he speaks of a common «philosophical blood», a genetic affinity of thoughts, converging, through the variation of epochs and cultural terrains, on a peculiar conception, we may say an ‘ancient’ one, of philosophical Idealism: that current of thought, according to Florensky, was evoked and nourished in Russia mainly by the philosophy of F.W.J. Schelling (cf. P.A. Florensky, Puti i sredotočija, in Id., Sočinenija v četyrëch tomach, T. 3.1, Mysl’, Moskva 2000, pp. 39-40).
This issue is dedicated to the exploration and analysis of that cultural root, to the complex terrain in which it extends, to the propulsive forces of its development, and to the foreshadowing of its future flowering. In other words, we invite contributions focusing on the foundations – in the theoretical, moral, religious, aesthetic, historical and epistemological spheres – of the pars construens of Florensky’s thought, so that the idea of the future that permeates and informs it may show its essential features through different perspectives, in its many aspects, in the manifold divergences and convergences of Russian and Western culture.
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