Shumskoy A.V. Kantianism in the Early Works of N. Berdyaev (1900–1910)


Andrey V. Shumskoy
Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor, Department of the Social and Humanitarian Sciences, Ural State University of Physical Culture
Ordzhonikidze St, 1, 454091 Chelyabinsk, Russian Federation
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Abstract. The article analyzes the influence of Kantian philosophy on the formation and philosophical work of Nikolai Berdyaev from 1900 to 1910. The attitude of the Russian philosopher to the basic ideas of I. Kant was critical from the very beginning. Nikolai Berdyaev directed his main criticism of kantianism in his first serious book against Kantian dualism, the existence of an absolute transcendent principle. Kantianism was for Berdyaev the most important philosophical experience, thanks to which he moved at the beginning of his creative path from critical marxism to idealism. During the period of turning to idealism, he came to the idea that transcendental consciousness immanently contains a religious attitude to the world. Kant's ethical postulates have not lost their fundamental significance for him. However, he associated the fundamental shortcoming of Kant's philosophy with the absence of a teleological approach to reality. Striving for metaphysical realism, Nikolai Berdyaev very soon overcomes the ethical normative idealism that was so characteristic of his early work. Without staying long within the framework of idealistic philosophy, Berdyaev subsequently made the transition to mystical religious realism. The critical philosophy that Kant represented, according to Berdyaev, absolutized the role of rational knowledge and closed access to true transcendental reality, narrowed being by the boundaries of the phenomenal world. He saw the way out of the grip of Kantian rationalism in expanding the framework of transcendental reason to the metaphysical or supra-rational. It was in mystical cognition that Berdyaev saw the only true way of cognizing reality. The Russian philosopher built his epistemology on the fundamental idea that being is closed and transcendent to thinking or rationalized consciousness, and it becomes immanent only to primary, integral and living consciousness, which has access to transcendent metaphysical experience.
Key words: transcendental idealism, transcendent, criticism, categorical imperative, ethics, metaphysics, mystical realism, personality.
Citation. Shumskoy A.V. Kantianism in the Early Works of N. Berdyaev (1900–1910). Logos et Praxis, 2022, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 25-32. (in Russian). DOI:

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