The Morality of a Critique

  • Thomas Nemeth
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas Archives internationales d'histoire des idées book series (ARCH, volume 212)


Heeding well-meaning and well-considered advice, Solov’ëv abandoned previous plans and embarked on a new work to serve as a doctoral dissertation. His Critique of Abstract Principles bears a superficial similarity to Hegel’s Phenomenology but unlike the latter the former begins with ethics, in particular the most elementary moral theory, hedonism, and proceeds dialectically to ever more complex and supposedly truthful theories. Despite an immanency in his critique of each ethical theory, we will see Solov’ëv’s continuing debt to Kant and examine the possible influence of Schopenhauer. Along with this, Solov’ëv’s first foray here into social and political philosophy is seen to be long on generalities and short on detail, and surprisingly in light of its general debt to German Idealism, Solov’ëv’s concept of freedom is among the least developed in his entire dissertation. Nonetheless, he seeks a social theory that harmoniously incorporates the three aspects of our nature: the sensuous, the rational and the divine. Solov’ëv alleges that much of social philosophy is deficient in failing to take into account our aspiration to realize the “Kingdom of God.”


Social Ideal Ethical Theory Moral Theory Moral Ideal Moral Activity 
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Nemeth
    • 1
  1. 1.Old BridgeUSA

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