№ 4(45) 2021: Soviet Aesthetics and Contemporary Materialism
PhD in Philosophy
Senior Research Fellow, Department of Aesthetics,
Institute of Philosophy,
Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
Several decades have passed since the collapse of the Soviet Union but the discussions on the intellectual legacy of the Soviet era do not lose their importance. It is impossible to ignore the works in the fields of philosophy and aesthetics, where along with a great number of ideologized products there were many original thinkers, scholars and cultural theorists. Some of them were direct adherents of Marxism and even Leninism (like, for example, Evald Ilyenkov) while others (Alexei Losev, Mikhail Bakhtin and their followers) used the language of Marxism and materialism as a kind of cover-up, developing their philosophical (and even religious) ideas in philological works and writings on ancient aesthetics. Many of them were engaged in an analysis of art and culture in connection with the development of modern science and the theory of sign systems (the Moscow-Tartu School of semiotics). Which of these works are still relevant today? And why is it interesting to consider many theoretical ideas from the perspective of aesthetics?
The answer to these questions is prompted by the rapid development of various materialistic conceptions in contemporary Western philosophy that started in the 20thcentury and was driven by figures such as Deleuze, Negri, Rancière and Badiou. Many present-day authors develop the ideas of these thinkers and also enter into polemics with them. And almost every contemporary author, in one way or another, touches on the sphere of aesthetics (ranging from art to contemporary media, bio- and information technologies). As a result, the very domain of aesthetics is being redefined.
Under these circumstances it is worthwhile to take a closer look at the legacy of Soviet scholars. Their works assume new importance when viewed in the light of speculative realism, transcendental materialism and modern conceptions of affectivity.
Deadline is September 1, 2021.