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Shpet, Gustav Gustavovich (1879–1937)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-E035-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 14, 2024, from

Article Summary

Gustav Shpet was the first Russian philosopher to take up Edmund Husserl’s idea of pure phenomenology as prima philosophia and develop it in several directions. Thus, in his most important phenomenological work Iavlenie i smysl (Appearance and Sense) (1914), he outlined his ‘phenomenology of hermeneutic reason’ on the basis of Husserl’s Ideas 1. In this theoretical framework he formulated, between 1914 and 1918, hermeneutic and semiotic problems, which in the 1920s he elaborated more specifically within the fields of philosophy of language and theory of art. In doing so he took up ideas from other philosophical movements, particularly Dilthey’s hermeneutics and Wilhelm von Humboldt’s philosophy of language.

Shpet’s reception of phenomenology has to be seen in the context of Russian intellectual and cultural life during the first two decades of the twentieth century. The Platonic ’Moscow Metaphysical School’ (which included V. Solov’ëv and S. Trubetskoi) provided the intellectual atmosphere in which his turn to Husserl’s phenomenology took place, and his ideas on theories of language and signs are close to ideas of the contemporary movement of Russian Formalism. Through his phenomenological and structural theories he influenced Prague structuralism via the ’Moscow Linguistic Circle’, and is seen as a precursor to Soviet Semiotics.

Citing this article:
Haardt, Alexander. Shpet, Gustav Gustavovich (1879–1937), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-E035-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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