This publication introduces the archival text by S.L. Frank, which treats democracy from the standpoint of its ontological meaning. The introduction of the publicationanalyses the ideas of the text in context of the evolution of Frank’s ideas on democracy: from the fi rst Russian revolution to the 1930s. The text published here refl ects the stage when the philosopher, infl uenced by the events of 1917, comes to the idea of two sides in democracy, the creating and the destructing, and insists on necessity of its religious and moral substantiation. Textological analysis allows us to date this text to May 1917 and link it with several articles by Frank in the weekly periodical Russian Freedom (Russ. Русская свобода), as well as with his public lecture Moral Grounds of Democracy (Нравственные основы демократии) of May 6, 1917. The archival text, however, is diff erent from the published articles in that it has a more articulated theoretical content, the desire to indentify ontological grounds of the current events and withdraw from current politics. The text is also much more articulate as to the religious ideal of the Russian philosopher. Frank elaborates in his social philosophy the idea of religiously substantiated service as the foundation of social construction already in the 1920s, but for the fi rst time it appears in the article Democracy at Crossroads (Демократия на распутье) and in the text Moral Foundations of Democracy (Нравственные основы демократии) published here. Providing grounds for the religious sense of democracy is combined in Frank’s works with asserting the absolute character of the principle of the freedom of conscience and warning about the danger of theocracy. Frank’s conception of democracy is compared with ideas of Vl. Solovyev, S. Bulgakov, P. Struve, as well as with the image of democracy for the “new Europe” by T. Masarik, a meeting with whom is described in Frank’s memoirs. One should also note the use of imagery and poetic metaphors, typical of Frank. On the whole, this text complements the study of Frank’s socio-philosophical ideas and of the variety of Russian theories of democracy. It also makes topical the religious and ethical understanding of democracy, the lack of which is seen so vividly in the contemporary world.
democracy, freedom, law, liberty, service, revolution, moral, religious and social ideal, socialism, idea of state, Semyon Frank
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Aliaiev Gennadii Academic Degree:
Doctor of Sciences*
in Philosophy; Academic Rank:
Professor; Place of work:
Poltava Yuri Kondratyuk National Technical University; 24 Pervomaisky Prosp., 36011, Poltava, Ukraine; ORCID: 0000-0001-6713-2014
*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.
Rezvykh Tatiana Academic Degree:
Candidate of Sciences*
in Philosophy; Place of work:
St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for the Humanities; 9/2 Ilovaiskaya Str., 109651, Moscow, Russian Federation; ORCID: 0000-0003-4429-5405
*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.