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Frank, Semën Liudvigovich (1877–1950)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-E014-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 12, 2024, from

Article Summary

The philosophy of S.L. Frank was one product of the renewed interest in epistemology, speculative metaphysics and religion among educated Russians in the quarter-century preceding the Revolution of 1917. Frank published the first volume of his philosophical system in 1915, but most of his major works were written after the Revolution, in European exile.

Influenced by tendencies in turn-of-the-century European thought that criticized the exaggerated pretensions of scientific reason, Frank formed the conviction that abstract, conceptual thought was inherently incapable of mastering ultimate reality. A valid metaphysics was nevertheless possible, founded on our capacity for direct, intuitive apprehension of reality in its living concreteness.

In intuitive knowledge, reality discloses itself as a ‘total-unity’ – an all-embracing unity in which the dualities with which conceptual thought wrestles are overcome without being dissolved. Ultimate reality is itself grounded in, and embraced by, a principle Frank termed ‘Divinity’, one that manifests itself in religious experience as the personal God of Christian faith. The rootedness of the human person in this divine principle is the condition of possibility of all spiritual creativity – of art, science, morality and law, and religion.

Citing this article:
Swoboda, Philip J.. Frank, Semën Liudvigovich (1877–1950), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-E014-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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