Issue 1
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English translation of one of the main Bibikhin's work.

Without a doubt, the problem of energy is both deep and crucial to the philosophy of Vladimir Bibikhin. But it is also deep and crucial in a much broader sense. Regardless of how we evaluate the contemporary philosophical situation—be it on the major scale of turning toward Another Beginning, or on the minor scale of philosophical timelessness—this situation is bound to “energy” through high expectations. Indeed, energy is viewed as the most important principle of a new philosophical discourse, which must supplement the abandoned classical language of philosophy (to use Bibikhin’s expression). At the same time, the philosophical understanding of energy contains a plethora of open questions, and a stable contemporary foundation for it, is practically lacking.  Bibikhin also points out that energy is a nagging theme of our epoch in its most significant and even non-philosophical sense, particularly within the global economy, and humanity’s “life support systems.” In his reflections, he echoes these extra-philosophical aspects of the problem, too. As a result, the problem appears to be both horizonless and bottomless, and my essay is nothing more than a series of preliminary remarks on it. It is also limited in scope: we will review, in the first place, the conception of energy in the work of Bibikhin, while Heidegger’s and Palamas’s theses will be discussed only in connection with their reflections and refractions in the writings of the Russian philosopher.

Vladimir Bibikhin may be called a modern-day antipalamite. He sharply rebukes Gregory Palamas’s theology of energy, which has had a profound influence on modern Orthodox theological thought. The Russian philosopher calls the Palamite doctrine a “theological failure,” asks why no one disputes Palamas today, and also why the God of Palamas, long ago divided in two, still remains divided into essence and energy. Emphasizing the Aristotelian concept of potential energy, he returns to the view that God is not divided, but rather exists as unmovable potential energy and as the Aristotelian Prime Mover.

The article deals with the concept of event in Vladimir Bibikhin’s philosophy. It is shown that Bibikhin, like many contemporary philosophers, considers this concept to be central to today’s thought. Following Heidegger in part, he offers an analysis of event, mainly based on the material of Russian history. Bibikhin builds up a structure of the concept of event (which I reconstruct here). It seems to consist of the following aspects: lightning-like instantaneity, the effect of “rapt” or “capture” made on its participants, spectacularity, constitution of right, finally, the pendulum-like oscillation between mobilization and demobilization. In general, Bibikhin gives a more complex and elaborate notion of event than Heidegger even does, and unlike Heidegger, and even more unlike Badiou, Bibikhin is highly attentive to the spectacular and aesthetic component of event. He considers this spectacular component to be constitutive even though it in no way undermines the ontological status of event.

This article attempts to articulate and develop key concepts of Vladimir Bibikhin’s metaphysics, as presented in a series of important lecture courses. These concepts form the triad “sophia – strangeness – interest,” in some ways serving as a “translation” of M. Heidegger’s “world – finitude – solitude” (from the subtitle of his Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics) into the hermeneutic language of the Russian 1990s. As is well known, Bibikhin translated the first chapters of this book, as well as a range of other important works by Heidegger. Despite their significant influence upon him, Bibikhin’s own metaphysical thought is truly original, since his goal is not the construction of a distinctive system but the reproduction here and now, in concrete historical circumstances, of an original philosophical gesture of seeing – indicating, in particular, his interest in the themes of energy, property, the woods, as well as his constant attention to the idiosyncrasy of Russian reality (beyond “westernizing” criticism and “slavophile” praise). In the concluding section of the article, I show how important the works of N. V. Gogol are for understanding Bibikhin’s thought, as he periodically refers to this author’s texts, either explicitly or implicitly.

This article is devoted to an analysis of two essential concepts in Vladimir Bibikhin’s philosophy, the “living mirror” and “learned ignorance.” These concepts are presented in all of his major works, and have vital ontological, anthropological and epistemological importance in his oeuvre.

This article examines Vladimir Bibikhin‘s recently published series of lectures, Property. Philosophy of the Self, which he delivered at Moscow’s Lomonosov University in 1993–1994. In it, he creatively develops Heidegger’s project of “phenomenological destruction”: a critical analysis of the traditional arsenal of classical ontology and modern European philosophy (substantialism and subjectivism) guided by the question of being and working through a new reading of classical thought (Alcibiades I). The command “Know thyself” demands we address the question of one’s own selfhood, that which is proper to the self—a direct a priori given of human existence. In Bibikhin’s definition of “one’s own,” primary importance is allotted not to the “private self” (with its engagement with inner worldly things), but to the relationship with the whole world, out of which the emergence of the subject is made possible for the first time. The article analyzes the original interpretations of concepts Bibikhin puts forth in his philosophy, such as “property,” “world,” and “capture”.

In The New Renaissance, V. Bibikhin defines “a renaissance” in general terms as an attempt to overcome a historical crisis and to provide a new impulse for the development of both people and society. In this sense, there have been many renaissances, but the main one—the Italian Renaissance—was a unique event during which humankind attempted to unleash its creative essence in all its fullness. At the same time, the Renaissance was an attempt to reestablish the true teachings of Jesus Christ and to overcome the false doctrine of the Christian church, which separated people from God through the idea of sin. The 15th-16th-century Renaissance was suppressed by the church and this occasioned the continuing crisis and decline of European civilization; which could only be saved by a new renaissance.

The article investigates the question of Bibikhin’s position on phenomenology. Based on the existence of two different phenomenological projects—those of Husserl and Heidegger—the author identifies two poles that concentrate main phenomenological problems: the pole of event and the pole of contemplation. Their interconnectedness, though never direct, is reflected in the fact that when the one pole comes to light, the other is automatically hidden in its shadow. Vladimir Bibikhin, together with Heidegger and Wittgenstein, is considered a thinker of the pole of event. The pole of contemplation is presented by Alexey Losev, Husserl and Derrida.

This article is a reading of Vladimir Bibikhin's biographical notes and offers a sketch of the dynamics among the Moscow circle of religious intellectuals during the last decades of the Soviet Union and later. Bibikhin’s personal testimony and philosophical work offer an example of how the tradition of pre-revolutionary religious philosophy, Orthodox thought, and critical philosophy, survived Soviet suppression and censorship, and emerged to new life after the fall of communism. Bibikhin also reminds us that Russian religious thinkers were often read in support of Russian nationalism and he was deeply critical of this trend.