From Ivan Kireyevsky’s On the Necessity and Possibility of New Principles in Philosophy (1856):
. . . [B]etween the time of Aristotle and the general submission of world culture to Christian teaching, many centuries elapsed, during which many different and contradictory philosophical systems nourished, consoled, and disturbed man’s reason. Few of these systems, however, were characterised by extremes; in general, culture grew out of what was common to the extremes, out of middle ground. Between the Stoics’ virtuous pride and the Epicureans’ sensual philosophy, between the alluring heights of the lofty mental constructions of the Neoplatonic school and the unfeeling, implacable, all-uprooting plough of scepticism, stood Aristotle’s philosophy, to which men’s minds constantly returned from extreme deviations, and which cast the logical snares of its impartial system into the most biased forms of thought. This is why it may be said that, whereas in the ancient pre-Christian world there were several different philosophies and several mutually contradictory sects, the vast majority of thinking humanity and all of culture’s moral and intellectual power belonged to Aristotle. Precisely what influence did Aristotle’s philosophy have on culture and the moral dignity of man? The solution of the problem is important, and not only for past history.
Continue reading “Ivan Kireyevsky on the Limitations of Philosophy”