Article Information

UTILITARISM IN RUSSIA

Elena Yarkova (mimus.lena@mail.ru) 

Tyumen State University, Tyumen, Russia

Citation: Yarkova E. (2019) Utilitarizm v Rossii [Utilitarianism in Russia]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 22(4): 7–36 (in Russian). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2019.22.4.1

Abstract. The article is devoted to the history of utilitarianism in Russia. The subject of the study is not only the ethical and philosophical tradition, but the idea of utilitarianism, which received in the works of Russian thinkers a variety of interpretations and, in one way or another, predetermined the socialist path of development of Russian society in the XX century and the post-socialist social realities of Russia of the XXI century. The history of utilitarianism in Russia has been studied in extremely fragmentary ways. The absence of a generalizing history of utilitarianism in Russia can be seen as a serious gap that needs to be filled. The purpose of the article is to show a complete picture of the development of utilitarianism in Russia, in comparison with its Western counterpart, thereby contributing to the understanding of the role of utilitarianism in the development of Russian society. “Intellectual history”, “history of ideas” –– the sphere of knowledge aimed at studying the processes of genesis and evolution of human ideas and their impact on people's lives is chosen as the paradigmatic basis of the study. The heuristic potential of this approach seems to be quite significant. First, by removing disciplinary boundaries and developing interdisciplinary approaches that combine anthropology, sociology, literature, philosophy, religious studies, political science, etc. Secondly, by including in the subject field of research not only, relatively speaking, true, but also false ideas-misconceptions, stereotypes, etc. The article reconstructs the principles of classical utilitarianism; exhibits its modifications in the XX and XXI centuries; traces the history of utilitarianism in Russia; examines the criticism of utilitarianism. Special attention is paid to the analysis of the original collectivist version of utilitarianism formed By N.G. Chernyshevsky, D.I. Pisarev, P.N. Tkachev. The author demonstrates the counter productivity of this version, which played the role of a social scenario, the implementation of which sent Russian society to a dead end path of development. In addition, the later versions of Russian utilitarianism –– the concept of utilitarianism by A.S. Akhiezer, which synthesizes both Western and Russian utilitarianism, are analyzed. The scientific significance of the study of the history of utilitarianism in Russia is obvious — as such, it helps to understand the value-semantic foundations of Russian society in their statics and dynamics.

Keywords: utilitarianism, history of ideas, morality, ethics, society, use, interest.

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