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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-E047-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved January 29, 2022, from

Article Summary

In the Slav countries outside Russia the term ’Slavophilism’ is a generic name for all advocates of the ’Slav idea’, irrespective of their philosophical views and political commitments. In Russia, however, this term is used, as a rule, to denote one specific ideology, elaborated in the 1840s by the former members of the Schellingian circle of ’Lovers of Wisdom’: Ivan Kireevskii (1806–56) and Aleksei Khomiakov (1804–60). Among its other followers, the most creative were the former Hegelians – Konstantin Aksakov (1817–60) and Iurii Samarin (1819–76). Despite some individual differences, all these thinkers shared a coherent view of the world which was expressed in their philosophical, theological and historical ideas. Their importance was not immediately recognized, but after Dostoevskii and Solov’ëv it became clear that they were the most important part of Russia’s ’philosophical awakening’ in the first half of the nineteenth century.

The words ’Slavophiles’ and ’Slavophilism’ were originally intended as gibes. The same was true of the words ’Westernizers’ and ’Westernism’. All these terms, however, could be interpreted positively and were finally accepted by both sides of the ’Slavophile–Westernizer’ controversy. But in the case of the Slavophiles it was a very reluctant acceptance: they felt that the term ’Slavophilism’ failed to express the essential nature of their philosophical and religious position. In addition, this term contained a rather misleading suggestion as to their solidarity with non-Russian Slavs: in fact they focused their attention on the ’truly Christian’ and ’purely Slav’ spiritual heritage of pre-Petrine Russia. An interest in the fates of non-Russian Slavs began to play a role in their ideology only at the time of the Crimean War. This shift of focus transformed the original Slavophilism into a form of imperial Russian Pan-Slavism.

Citing this article:
Walicki, Andrzej. Slavophilism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-E047-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2022 Routledge.

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