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Cultural Exclusion and Frontier Zones

Logic lessons for Russia

Kiev’s theology and the Russian Enlightenment1
Alexander Brodsky
p. 20-32


The paper argues that the philosophy that was taught in Orthodox schools of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in late 16th – early 17th century and then became the ideological basis for the Moscow “Latinism” can be attributed to so-called Second scholasticism. The main features of Second scholasticism are the rejection of predestination in theology, usage of probabilistic approaches in logic and ethics and confrontation with absolutism in politics. These features made Second scholasticism unacceptable for absolute monarchies emerging in Europe (including the Russian Empire) which utilized universal rationalism of the early Enlightenment as an ideological basis. Both in Western Europe and in Russia Second scholasticism became “a zone of cultural exclusion”. However prevalence of Second scholasticism in Orthodox schools of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth concurred with making up of the Ukrainian cultural originality and in many respects defined characteristic features of the Ukrainian mentality.

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1. Introduction

  • 1 The reported study was funded by Rfbr according to the research project n. 16-03-00442 at St. Peter (...)

1In historical science, Russian culture in the 17th century is universally recognized as being shaped under the significant influence of so-called Latin and Polish education, usually disseminated by people in what is now Ukraine and Belarus. Russian education dates back to the late 16th century and can trace its origins to the western regions of the land belonging to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; by the second half of the 17th century, it had spread as far as the state of Moscow. The end of the 17th century was characterised by a fierce struggle between Graecophiles and Latinophiles over the liturgical issue of the time of transubstantiation of bread and wine in the sacrament of the Eucharist.

The issue of the time of transubstantiation of bread and wine, – writes historian G. Mirkovich in the late 19th century, – was actually pretence, pretext […] under which this struggle of two opposite origins, two principles, two civilizations took place […]. It will be right to say that it was a struggle of Great Russian civilization (which was understood as Greek education) against civilization of Little Russia (which was connected at that time with Latin and Polish education.
In the event, this struggle ended in the defeat of both parties and the reshaping of Russian culture (after Peter I) in compliance firstly with Protestant patterns and then with the models propounded by the Enlightenment.

2However, there still remain some rather obscure but nonetheless essential points. First of all, what is not absolutely clear is what this Polish character of education means, and indeed how Latin and Polish education differs from, for example, Latin and French or Latin and Italian. Secondly, it is not clear why this issue of the time of transubstantiation of bread and wine became such a bone of contention between advocates of different academic curricula. Thirdly, it is necessary to explain why Latin and Polish education was rejected in Russia and displaced by the German and Protestant pattern. And finally, it is important to understand whether this mysterious Latin and Polish education had any influence on the further development of Russian culture, and indeed to what extent it shaped Polish and Ukrainian culture. This paper doesn’t give any definitive answers to these questions, its goal is rather to offer a general approach to the examination of the problems outlined above.

2. Second scholasticism

3The golden age of Polish culture and state fell in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, i.e. during the period of the Counter-Reformation and the so-called “Second scholasticism”. Following the Council of Trent, Jesuits flooded into Poland, thereby not only stopping the processes of Reformation gaining strength there at the time, but also making the country a stronghold for their philosophy and politics in the north-east of Europe, in a similar way to Spain in the south-west. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Neo-Aristotelianism of Jesuits became the national philosophy of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and by the end of the 17th century Second scholasticism (which was forced by Cartesianism and Sensualism out to the cultural periphery) held its positions only on the geographical periphery of Europe: in Spain to the west and Poland to the east.

4In Russian writings on the history of philosophy, Second scholasticism was for a long time considered to be an extremely conservative phenomenon, struggling to reverse the tide of history of European culture. These assessments have been revised only in recent decades. Nowadays, scholars have discovered that Second scholasticism contains many new and, for those days, original ideas. However, it’s not enough to say that the scholasticism of the late 16th and early 17th centuries was full of new ideas and approaches in comparison to the Middle Ages. I believe that it is possible to see it as an alternative to the Enlightenment model of development of European culture, which was never implemented because of a whole range of social and political circumstances, but may still be called for in the future.

5Second scholasticism placed at the heart of all its theological and philosophical constructs an idea of human freedom as opposed to the concept of predestination in Protestantism. According to Francisco Suárez’s nominalistic metaphysics, only individual and specific (not universal) existence is actually existent. The distinction between essence and existence can be made only conceptually, logically (distinctio rationis); there is no such distinction in real things. This individual and specific existence is determined by itself, by its inner cause. This is why the world is not a strict hierarchical system, implementing the design of God unequivocally, but a dynamic system containing an element of uncertainty, something incidental and unpredictable. These incidental and unpredictable elements are objects of a posteriori knowledge, existing along with a priori knowledge of necessity. In human beings, this self-dependence of individual existence is revealed as free will. Therefore Jesuit theology interprets divine predestination (praedestinatio) as divine foreknowledge (praescientia), which leaves space for free choice and moral responsibility.

6Luis de Moline proposed the idea of “middle knowledge” (scientia media) to combine the idea of freedom with the idea of God’s omnipotence: God knows beforehand what a man is going to choose, as He knows all past, present and future things, but He doesn’t determine a man’s choice, doesn’t premise any prerequisites for this choice, and the only basis for that choice is a man’s free will. Thus “middle knowledge” is a mediator between a priori knowledge of necessity and a posteriori knowledge of the incidental.

7Denial of the ontological necessity of any event led Second scholasticism to a denial of the logical necessity of any true assertions. It is for this reason that, for Jesuits, attention not only to apodictic logic but also to the logic of probable opinions seems to be characteristic. According to Aristotle, probable opinions are opinions “which are accepted by everyone or by the majority or by the philosophers – i.e. by all, or by the majority, or by the most notable and illustrious of them”. To decide which of the probable opinions should be chosen is possible only by discussion and assertion of each opinion and its corollaries. The method of such a discussion is described in “Topics”, which instructs in the art of argumentation. It is no coincidence that Jesuits consider the development of argumentation skills and the ability to compare and evaluate different points of view as crucial for their academic curriculum.

8Application of the aforementioned metaphysical and logical ideas to the field of ethics resulted in the creation of the system of so-called Probabilism. Advocates of Probabilism (Thomas Sanchez, Antonio Escobar y Mendoza, Hermann Busenbaum, Antonin Diana et al.) justifiably noted that if man had to rely only on obvious and valid foundations, he wouldn’t be able to take any action. In the field of ethics, we deal not with general and necessary truths, but with more or less probable opinions, i.e. with opinions shared by the majority of people or based on some authority. In any specific situation, man has to choose one of the available opinions, taking all responsibility for the consequences of his decisions.

9The political doctrine of the Society of Jesus (whose foundations had also been laid by Francisco Suárez) was the most important element of Second scholasticism. According to this doctrine, society is the natural state of humanity, and human beings cannot exist without it; consequently, it is established by God. In its turn, society cannot exist without power; in this sense any power is given by God. But this power belongs to the whole society, and monarchy is just a result of delegation of authority. The monarch is a delegate of the people, not a representative of God, and if he breaks this contract, people have the right to resist him by any means including dethronement and murder. It is no coincidence that advocates of Suárez’s political doctrine were called Monarchomachs. The murderers of William of Orange in the Netherlands and Henry III and Henry VI in France were directly connected with this doctrine.

10In Western Europe, all these ideas of Second scholasticism were subject to fierce attacks by representatives of the early Enlightenment philosophy.

11Aristotle’s logic of probable opinions became the main target for criticism by the Cartesians and Sensualists. The Neo-Aristotelianism of the Jesuits was attacked by the Jansenists from Port-Royal (Antoine Arnauld, Pierre Nicole, Blaise Pascal etc.) who contrasted Aristotle’s principle of credibility of opinions with the principle of obviousness, which had arisen from the Cartesian doctrine of intellectual intuition. This approach answered Jansenists’ ideology with its faith in divine predestination. According to Jansenism, we should look for the basis of faith and life not in the products of human wisdom, but in the clear and distinct ideas given to us by divine grace. These ideas leave no space for choice: people can either neglect them through their own lack of attention and “wander in the dark”, or behold them, follow the right method and bend their will and reason to them.

12The same Jansenists from Port-Royal mercilessly criticized the theory of Probabilism (Arnauld 1644; Perrier, Pascal and Herman 1656; Pascal 1658). It was they who promoted the myth of the allegedly unprecedented cynicism of Jesuit ethics in European culture.

13The metaphysical principles of Second scholasticism were thoroughly criticized by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. In his “Théodicée”, Leibniz strongly objects to the idea of “middle knowledge”, and guided by his principle of sufficient reason defends the idea of the a priori necessity of all events and phenomena, which lays the foundation for his theory of “pre-established harmony”. It is significant that Leibniz emphasized the “moral character” of this necessity, and so laid the groundwork for that a priori and universal ethics, whose strict authority we desperately try to overcome today.

14As for the political views of Jesuits, they were not only ostracized by the rising ideology of absolutism, but often led to Jesuits being exiled from one or another country, and finally brought about the temporary prohibition of the order.

15As a result, by the end of the 17th century, Poland (as stated above) had become almost the sole stronghold of Second scholasticism; and what in Russia was called Latin and Polish education was in fact nothing more than Jesuit Neo-Aristotelism. Works of Polish Jesuits of the 16th-17th centuries (Marcin Smiglecki, Wojciech Sokolowski, Tomasz Elzanowski, Tomasz Mlodzianowski etc.) contain all the aforementioned ideas. It seems that the political doctrine of the Monarchomachs was the only source of discord for Polish Jesuits. In spite of the views that dominated within the the Society of Jesus, Polish national interests made Krzysztof Warszewicki and Piotr Skarga ardent advocates of absolutism. But their conviction had not become dominant, as Jesuit political doctrine conformed to the long-held beliefs of the Polish Szlachta that the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was in fact “Golden Liberty” and elective monarchy. There are some grounds to believe that it was the dominance of Suárez’s political doctrine that weakened the Polish state to such an extent that it finally lost its independence. And if this statement of mine appears too bold, I can refer to an “authority” and note that it is exactly the point of view that the leading Russian historian Nikolay I. Kareev expressed in his seminal work on the Counter-Reformation in Poland.

3. Baroque Ukraine

16Over a million people of Orthodox faith inhabited the territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth established in the middle of the 16th century. That is why, almost immediately after the Union of Lublin proclaiming the Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania to be a single state, preparations began for the religious union aimed at the return of Orthodox believers to the bosom of the Roman Catholic Church. These preparations were accompanied by the emergence of a wide variety of polemical works. The book “On the Unity of God’s Church under One Shepherd” (1577) by the famous Polish preacher Piotr Skarga set the tone for other works of anti-Orthodox literature. A particular feature of this book is that it concentrated not so much on the dogmatic differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism as on the cultural consequence of adopting the “Greek” type of Christianity. For Skarga, this consequence was the cultural backwardness of the Slavonic peoples. “Slavonic language makes it impossible to become a scholar. There is neither Slavic grammar nor rhetoric, and they are just unimaginable. Slavonic language is the cause why people of orthodox faith have only elementary schools for studying grammar. Hence emerges general ignorance and delusion”. Skarga also argued to his readers that the Greeks intentionally brought Christianity to the Slavonic world in the local language, not Greek or Latin, as they wanted to keep Slavonic peoples ignorant and so maintain their own spiritual power.

17Advocates of Orthodoxy in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, led by the famous magnate Konstantin Ostrozhsky, had to resist the Catholic attack. However, many western Orthodox scholars agreed with Skarga’s depiction of the sad situation of education in the Grand Duchy of Moscow, especially as among them were many exiles from Moscow who had been persecuted in their homeland: Prince Andrew Kurbsky, the printer Ivan Fyodorov, the head of the Trinity Monastery Artemy and his disciple Mark, among others. It was absolutely natural for these people to consider the creation of Orthodox education as their main goal. A group of enlighteners led by Konstantin Ostrozhsky and Andrew Kurbsky initiated the process of the establishment of Orthodox schools, beginning with the foundation of the Ostroh Collegium in 1580, and crowning their achievements with the reorganization of the Kievan “Brotherhood school” into the Kiev Mohyla Academy in 1631. It is well known that graduates of this Academy were the principal figures in almost all the enlightenment movements in Russia from the second half of the 17th century to the late 18th century.

18It goes without saying that only Catholic schools created by Jesuits all across this territory could become a model for Russian Orthodox schools. The academic curriculum which had been shaped at the turn of the 17th century in the first Russian Orthodox collegiums and academies on the territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was an almost exact copy of the academic curriculum adopted in Jesuit schools. In the works by West Russian Orthodox theologians of the age (Herasym and Meletius Smotrytsky, Vasily Surazhsky, Kirill Tranquillion Stavrovetsky, Zakhariy Kopystenskiy, Innocent Gizel etc.) one can find almost all the aforementioned ideas of Second scholasticism, including its most questionable element – Probabilist ethics. Emphasis on the freedom of will, nominalism, denial of predestination and allowance of “incidental events”, admiration for logic and rhetoric – all these are characteristic features of philosophical works by professors from west Russian collegiums at the turn of the 17th century, which nowadays Russian and Ukrainian historians define as signs of the early Enlightenment; in my opinion, they are typical for Second scholasticism.

19It is especially important to emphasize that these peculiarities of theoretical thought concurred with the national and cultural self-determination of the Ukraine and, it seems, greatly influenced the shaping of the Ukrainian mentality. This statement can be brought into correlation with the problem of the Ukrainian Baroque. It was in the middle of the 20th century when the philosophy historian Dmytro Chyzhevsky noted that for Ukraine Baroque is not just an artistic style or even a historical period, but the basis for an entire cultural entity. In modern day Ukrainian literature, the theme of the “Baroque nature” of Ukrainian mentality is very popular. “European baroque style with its emotions of struggle and victory, plastic expression and wealth of artistic devices” is considered to be “splendidly conformed to the rise of the Ukrainian people’s self-awareness during the 17th and 18th centuries”. Historians name such characteristic features of the Ukrainian mentality as a love for contradictions, individualism, emotionality, the tendency to see the world as a theatre etc. – these very features are believed to be typical for Baroque style. However, in my opinion, these features of theoretical thought (as well as the usage of the term “Baroque” for something other than the study of styles in art) is somewhat obscure and metaphorical. When we speak about philosophy and theoretical thought, such terms as “Neo-Aristotelism” or “Second scholasticism” seem to be far more concrete and appropriate. Though there is undoubtedly a certain connection between the philosophy of “Second scholasticism” and Baroque art, this connection requires particular analysis which is beyond the scope of this paper.

4. The time of transubstantiation of bread and wine

20It is well known that the famous correction to the divine service books in the middle of the 18th century, which led to the Raskol, was conducted by learned monks invited to Moscow from Kiev and headed by Epiphanius Slavinetsky. However, it soon became obvious that there was no unanimity among Ukrainian scholars either, and by the 1660s they were divided into groups of Graecophiles and Latinophiles. The School of the Saviour founded by Simeon of Polotsk (where Latin was the first teaching language) became a stronghold for Latinophiles, while a stronghold of Greacophiles was the St. Andrew’s school headed by Epiphanius Slavinetsky, with Greek as the main teaching language. Both monks were graduates of the Kiev Mohyla Academy. According to the historian G. Mirkovich, the difference between them appeared because Epiphanius studied at the newly created collegium following the traditions of the old Kievan Theophany School, where Greek language and literature prevailed. Simeon studied in this collegium later, when Latin had become the sole teaching language there with all the lectures and books in Latin (Markovich 1886: 37). An argument on the time of the transubstantiation of bread and wine began between Simeon of Polotsk and Epiphanius Slavinetsky, and subsequently the Latinophiles Sylvester Medvedev and Innokenty Monastyrsky and Graecophiles the Leichoudes brothers and monk Euphimius joined in; the dispute ended with the execution of Sylvester Medvedev in 1691 and the Leichoudes brothers’ exile from Moscow in 1694.

21What lay at the heart of the argument? In Catholic liturgies, the transubstantiation of bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood takes place at the very moment when the priest says: “Take, eat; this is my body”. In Orthodoxy, Christ’s words are followed by prayer for descent of the Holy Spirit, and the transubstantiation of bread and wine is believed to take place during the prayer. It is clear that these liturgical differences are connected with the main dogmatic difference between Orthodoxy and Catholicism: the question of the descent of the Holy Spirit. The grace-giving action of the Holy Spirit is required to transubstantiate bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood. According to Catholic dogma, the Holy Spirit descends not only from the Father, but also from the Son (filioque), so the transubstantiation is initiated by the words of Christ Himself (verba consecrationis); according to Orthodoxy, the Holy Spirit descends only from the Father, and some address to the Holy Spirit is necessary for the transubstantiation of bread and wine to take place.

22However, at the end of the 16th century the West Russian Orthodox Church shared the view that the transubstantiation in the sacrament of the Eucharist takes place at the moment of the pronouncing of Christ’s words, while the following prayer is deemed to be simply a petition for some consecration. This point of view was expressed in liturgical service books: for example, in the service book of the brotherhood of Vilensk (1617) or in the ordinals from the Kiev Pechersk Lavra (1620, 1629). Many Latinophiles were of the same view. But when it came to filioque, both West Russian and Moscow theologians held the Orthodox dogmatic position and refuted the Catholic dogma. So how was it possible to justify the liturgical changes? To answer this question we should once again refer to the philosophy of Second scholasticism.

23In Catholicism, the question of the time of the transubstantiation of bread and wine was metaphysically grounded during the Council of Trent, which had initiated the Counter-Reformation and Second scholasticism. These grounds were tightly connected with the principle of individuality and the specifics of existence, the unity of essence and existence and the freedom of will. Individual and specific existence can be comprehended by the only definition reflecting the most essential issues. With regard to liturgy, it meant that every ritual should be a logical consequence of only one thought, one statement. Every ordinance should have only one substance (its own) and only one form (its own). The substance of the Eucharist is bread and wine, its form – Christ’s words. The unity of this substance and this from produces a new essence, namely Christ’s body and blood: there is no place here for any additional material or formal causes. But Christ’s words won’t serve as a form without the proper wishes of a priest or (as Catholics would say) without proper intention. If the priest does not have the intention to administer the sacrament, there will be no transubstantiation. From this point of view, transubstantiation depends on the priest’s will, and the priest bears responsibility for the sacrament taking (or not taking) place.

24This scholastic reasoning was adopted by both Kievan and Moscow theologians. We can find them, for example, in the book “Didactic Gospel” by the chancellor of the Orthodox Collegium of L’viv, Kirill Tranquillion Stavrovetsky or in the book “On the Peace between God and Man” by the chancellor of the Kiev Mohyla Collegium, Innocent Gizel. The view that bread and wine are transubstantiated at the moment of pronunciation of the Christ’s words was accepted by Orthodox believers only logically and metaphysically, but not dogmatically. The philosophy of Second scholasticism was apprehended by Latinophiles, you might say, across confessional boundaries: in their theological thought they were Orthodox. Their adversaries realized this and reproached Latinophiles not so much for being catholicized as for “being carried away with the newest Jesuit syllogisms”.

25So why was the philosophy of Second scholasticism rejected in Russia? I would conjecture that the reasons for this were not so much religious as political (it is relevant that in the end Sylvester Medvedev was condemned not for his religious beliefs, but for his political ties to Fyodor Shaklovity and for joining a conspiracy against Petr Alexeyevich.) The ideology of Second scholasticism directly contradicts the goals of the creation of the Russian Empire and the consolidation of autocracy. But to disregard the political corollaries of Second scholasticism inevitably means to deny its logic. The foundations for enlightened absolutism could be laid not by Aristotle’s logic of probable opinions and probabilistic Jesuits’ ethics but only by enlighteners’ faith in a priori and the universal truths of Reason. That is why by the beginning of the 18th century in Russia (as in many other European countries) Second scholasticism turned into a zone of “cultural exclusion”.

26But the Greek experience was not any more suitable for the emerging Russian Empire, as it put obstacles in the way of Russian Europeanization. As a result, from the time of Theophan Prokopovich forward, Russian theology of the 18th century (and consequently the whole Russian education system) was reoriented towards Protestantism and Leibniz-style enlightened Rationalism.

5. Logic lessons

27Even today, many well-educated Russians believe that the Poles are the most pious and logically gifted nation of Europe: the most pious because the Roman Catholic Church in Poland seems to have authority and influence unprecedented in today’s world; the most logically gifted because almost half of modern logic has been shaped by 20th century Polish scientists. This combination of Catholicism and Logic is no accident, and can be traced back to the late 16th – early 17th century.

28Early modern philosophy has in fact excluded logic from its sphere of interest. “In Early Modern philosophy, – Józef M. Bocheński noted, – there are almost no serious researches on logic (with the exemption of genius Leibniz’s works). Moreover, any previous progress in logic was condemned to almost absolute oblivion”. According to Bocheński, this state of affairs was sustained not least by the fact “that unlike in the Middle Ages with its domination of Catholicism, in the Early Modern Time Protestant and Rationalist thought notably prevails”. From this point of view, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which by the end of the 17th century was almost the only European refuge for Catholic scholasticism, retained along with scholasticism the logical culture of the European Middle Ages, which became topical again only in 20th century philosophy.

29Logic was deeply revered in West Russian Orthodox schools as well. It was Andrew Kurbsky who added to his translation of the John of Damascus’s work his own “Tale on Logic”, where he complained of the excessively short summary of syllogistics in Damascus’s “Dialectics” and supplemented it with a translation of Protestant theologian Johann Spangenberg’s work “On Syllogism”. And then we come to the Kiev Mohyla Collegium: here (as historian of Ukrainian philosophy Vilen S. Gorsky notes) this subject has even been celebrated in poetry, for example: “Hail to the glorious labour, to the new logic! The Good Adornment for Pallas, the beautiful offspring of Minerva, The Light of high heavens and the pride of our school…”. This compares to the fact that the first books on logic which appeared in Russia in the end of the 15th century were classified by the Church as heretical and attributed to the so-called “Heresy of the Judaizers”. And in the 19th and 20th centuries the negative attitude to formal logic almost became typical feature of Russian philosophy.

30In my opinion, it would not be a great exaggeration to say that it was these traditions of logical culture that enabled Ukrainian philosophers in the Soviet era (Pavel V. Kopnin, Myroslav V. Popovych etc.) were able to oppose so powerfully the mystical and ideological concept of so-called “dialectical logic” that was cultivated at the time.

31However, the point is not only that Catholic Poland or Orthodox Ukraine preserved the logical traditions of scholastic philosophy. There is a substantial connection between Second scholasticism and the works of the famous “Lwów-Warsaw school” in the 20th century. I’ll try to demonstrate this connection using the example of one of the most fascinating products of this work – namely, Jan Łukasiewicz’s multi-valued logic.

32As has already been said, the main difference between the ontology, logic and ethics of Second scholasticism and the ontology, logic and ethics of Early Modern Rationalism was the peculiar indeterminism and emphasis on incidental, unpredictable, alternative and free phenomena. In other words, while Cartesian philosophy comprehended the world from the position of necessity, Second scholasticism did it from the position of possibility.

33At the University of Warsaw in 1918, Jan Łukasiewicz claimed that he had managed to construct and ground the system of ternary logic, which had an intermediate value of “probable” between “true” and “false”. Over the next five years, Łukasiewicz expanded the idea of ternary logic, turning it into an idea of n-valued logic, where 0 signifies “false”, 1 – “true” and other numbers in between 0 and 1 are understood as a degree of probability corresponding to different possibilities. The idea of multi-valued logic was taken up and developed by a plethora of other Polish scientists. Łukasiewicz himself asserted that indeterminism is a foundation of multi-valued logic; by indeterminism he meant the ability to estimate in the present statements about the future (true as well as false), i.e. the belief in the logical necessity of one or another event. “If all the future events for some time become true, are true and always have been true, then the future is as fixed as the past and is different from the past only because it hasn’t already happened” (Łukasiewicz 1970: 113). Thus Łukasiewicz’s multi-valued logic is a formal expression of the “middle knowledge” theory of Second scholasticism: knowledge which is placed between a priori knowledge of incidental and a posteriori knowledge of probable cannot be estimated as true or false and should be estimated as probable in the interval from 0 to 1.

34Łukasiewicz ended his famous Warsaw speech with an idea that the creation of ternary logic could theoretically serve “the struggle for freedom of the human spirit”. Indeed, to take the example of Soviet Russia, multi-valued logic (along with other kinds of modern non-classical logic) was often used for scholars’ struggles against “dialectical logic”, as it made it possible to find formal and logical solutions to problems, paradoxes and contradictions which were subjects of “dialectical logic’s” verbiage. At the end of the 1980s, one Russian logician (Alexander Karpenko) made multi-valued logic foundation for the whole programme of the fight against totalitarianism. The faith that statements about the future are already true or false is the most important sign of totalitarian ideology: it grounds confidence in the inevitable implementation of ideals proclaimed by ideology and, consequently, in the necessity and validity of postulated norms and values. Multi-valued logic, on the contrary, postulates ambiguity of the future and, from this point of view, it is in direct contradiction to any totalitarian ideology. Thus, just as during the 17th century Second scholasticism opposed the ideology of enlightened absolutism, so in the 20th century multi-valued logic opposed the ideology of totalitarian historicism.

35But it is more important now to emphasize not just the ideological, but the general philosophical significance of Second scholasticism. It seems that ideas and principles of this branch of philosophy correspond with the main trend in development of modern philosophy, which has exhausted the modality of the existent, the necessary and the due, and is gradually discovering modality of the probable.

6. Conclusion

36Thus Second scholasticism, which was not only a philosophical movement but also a principle of civilization defining academic curricula, moral patterns, political methods etc., began to contradict the goals of the creation of the Russian Empire. That is why it turned into the zone of “cultural exclusion”. However, the domination of Second scholasticism in Orthodox schools of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth coincided with the formation of the Ukrainian cultural identity and in many respects defined the characteristic features of the Ukrainian mentality.

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1 The reported study was funded by Rfbr according to the research project n. 16-03-00442 at St. Petersburg State University.

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Alexander Brodsky, «Logic lessons for Russia»Rivista di estetica, 67 | 2018, 20-32.

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Alexander Brodsky, «Logic lessons for Russia»Rivista di estetica [Online], 67 | 2018, online dal 01 avril 2018, consultato il 14 juin 2024. URL:; DOI:

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Alexander Brodsky

Institute of Philosophy, Saint Petersburg State University, 5 Mendeleevskaya Liniya, 199034, St. Petersburg, Russia
Research Center for Cultural Exclusion and Frontier Zones, Sociological Institute of FCTAS RAS, 25/14 7-ya Krasnoarmeyskaya str., 190005, St. Petersburg, Russia

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