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Politics, Law, and Morality: Essays by V. S. Soloviev Hardcover – March 11, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This collection is remarkably relevant to our times, and Soloviev's writings are profound and to the point." Robert L. Jackson, Yale University "Soloviev's words on capital punishment, on women's rights are as relevant today as they were a century ago." Paul Meyendorff, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary

About the Author

Vladimir Wozniuk is professor of government at Western New England College.
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Product Details

  • Series: Russian Literature and Thought Series
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (March 11, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300079958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300079951
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,566,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "mlt5" on July 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Soloviev is Kant of Russian philosophy. No understanding of any trend in Russian modern thought may be complete without at least a cursory acquaintance with Soloviev. This is as true for Russian Marxism as it is for Russian religious philosophy, which Soloviev so brilliantly represents.
A cursory reading, however, is impossible, once you start browsing the book. Soloviev is not just a philosopher, nor even the greatest Russian philosopher to day (which he is); he is so much more than that. Soloviev is a sage and a prophet, who was sadly not heard in Russia of his times. He is still less than properly understood in the West. There are people who frame him as Russian nationalist; others see just an Orthodox mystic or just a constitutionalist, Christian Democrat and so on.
With a similar success, you could try to stick some sort of a mundane label on, for example, Lao Tzu. Was he a conservative - or a reformist? Chinese traditionalist or a mystical revolutionary?
What impresses me most in this collection of essays is Soloviev's rational post-rationalism, a brand of thought which is postmodernist and post-traditionalist at once. Soloviev did not believe that human happiness can be constructed by rational design, be it a Marxist or a capitalist/consumerist design that sways today's world. At the same time, he was not preaching passivity and resignation, but rather revival of human spirit and conscience in a community of free individuals. For him, Christianity was the answer. Yet, his view was truly ecumenical in a sense that no races were excluded from the project of universal love based on universal compassion and modesty, something that only humble service to the God's idea of humanity can accomplish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Borofsky on March 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
V.S. Solovyov (Soloviev)'s book, "Politics, Law, and Morality" required me on multiple occasions to make sure I was reading a translation and not an educated commentary on his views as applied to today. That is, reading this book it's easy to forget that it was written by someone 110+ years ago and not by someone commenting on the times today.

Solovyov goes through and at first explains the role of government in the lives of its subjects, which is to say he shows why the government cannot make people good, but only create an environment that urges goodness. In many ways, his work could be interpreted as classically liberal, but with a Russian twist. For anyone interested in how a Christian should approach political theory, this book is a must-read.

What is most fascinating, however, is that he points to the materialist philosophy as something that will bring ruin to Europe, Russia, and the world entire. In the end of the book he even gives an outline for what he suspects will happen to Europe (including a war in which massive life would be lost; remember, he wrote this prior to WWI, the Russian Revolution, and WWII). He shows the dangers of progressivism and materialism, but is by no means equivalent to a modern day conservative. Just as he is against a big government, he is also against governments going to war and prefers peace to violence. He demands that governments help those who cannot help themselves, but that governments also not remove the economic freedoms of those who have helped themselves.

This is a great read and even if one isn't interested in Russian philosophy, one should still pick up this book as it provides a prophetic voice on modern times.
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