Kiryakin A.V. Guilt and Responsibility for Crime in the Philosophical Views of L.N. Tolstoy and F.M. Dostoevsky

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2023.2.6

Aleksandr V. Kiryakin
Candidate of Sciences (Philosophy), Senior Lecturer, Department of History and Philosophy, Derzhavin Tambov State University
Internatsionalnaya St, 33, 392000 Tambov, Russian Federation
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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4391-7428


Abstract. The article explores the dispute about the nature of a crime (guilt) and a punishment (responsibility) in the literary heritage of the Great Russian writers – F.M. Dostoevsky and L.N. Tolstoy. In main task is to determine the difference in the approaches of writers to understanding crime and punishment. This problem is worked out by means of a comparative analysis on the views F.M. Dostoevsky and L.N. Tolstoy. They both provide original ideas about the source of a crime: a human soul or the social environment. It is revealed that Dostoevskys characters are searching for response to a question in the deepest foundations of a human soul, whereas, according to Tolstoy, the social environment – people themselves as the creators of their environment, lead other people to crimes and then punish them. It is revealed that F.M. Dostoevsky gives his own understanding of the essence of guilt and responsibility. Guilt is a consequence of the fall of man (the fall away from God). As long as a man is separated from God, he feels guilty about his free choice. It is stated that according to the writers, either a man punishes himself with a crime and then the crime becomes a punishment (Dostoevsky), or others punish him and commit a crime violating the Commandment: "Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned" (Tolstoy). Ultimately, a crimes as well as repentance always occur as a result of a change in a human soul. According to Dostoevsky, these actions require a man to change his spiritual nature. It turns out that at the same time, Tolstoy believed that a crime and a punishment cannot take place outside the social environment. This conclusion is confirmed in modern social practice. It is stated that modern society has mitigated punishments and demonstrated that partially limited rights and the positive social influence more effectively contribute to the correction of a man.
Key words: F.M. Dostoevsky, L.N. Tolstoy, destructive nature, essence of guilt, social environment, responsibility.

Citation. Kiryakin A.V. Guilt and Responsibility for Crime in the Philosophical Views of L.N. Tolstoy and F.M. Dostoevsky. Logos et Praxis, 2023, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 49-59. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2023.2.6

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