Philosophy (філософія; filosofiia). An intellectual discipline (literally, ‘love of wisdom’ in classical Greek) that, in the course of its history, has been variously defined as the study of the basic principles of being, the testing of the foundations of knowledge, the general guide to the good life, the analysis of basic scientific concepts and methods, and the examination of certain concepts of ordinary language. Unlike the specialized sciences, it does not have its own subject matter or distinctive method. Hence, only a vague definition, such as ‘the critical and systematic reflection on questions of the greatest concern to man,’ may be broad enough to cover the various forms assumed by philosophy.
Because it was adopted from other cultures to address certain pressing political or religious needs, philosophy in Ukraine has been preoccupied with practical rather than theoretical problems. The political calamities and attendant cultural disruptions in the history of Ukraine account to a large extent for the lack of durable philosophical tradition in Ukraine and for the absence of a distinctively Ukrainian system or worldview. For this reason some important Ukrainian thinkers (eg, Hryhorii Skovoroda) have been assigned mistakenly to Russia's more stable philosophical culture; others (Pamfil Yurkevych, Volodymyr Lesevych) did in fact work in a non-Ukrainian tradition. Lacking its own philosophical literature and institutions, Ukrainian culture could be considered to have been incomplete during some periods of its development. At such times writers and poets rather than philosophers were the propagators of philosophical ideas and theories among the Ukrainian public.
Medieval period. The period from the adoption of Eastern Christianity (see Christianization of Ukraine) to the Mongol invasion (10th–13th centuries) was marked by vigorous intellectual development. The assimilation of Byzantine culture was not passive, but an active rethinking that gave rise to original speculation. Because of a common literary language and alphabet, the work of Bulgarian translators and thinkers was readily transferable to Kyivan Rus’. The ideas of Greek philosophers and the Church Fathers entered Kyivan Rus’ through Bulgarian translations of Greek collections or original Bulgarian compilations, including the Izbornik of Sviatoslav (1073), Zlatostrui, Pchela (The Bee), the chronicles of John Malalas and Georgios Hamartolos, the Lives of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, the Hexaëmeron of Exarch John of Bulgaria, The Source of Knowledge of Saint John of Damascus, and apocrypha. The new, imported ideas, which themselves were not systematized and were often opposed, did not displace old folk beliefs, but were set alongside them. Thus, many conflicting answers to the same basic questions were found in different and even the same sources. Neither a single dogmatic scheme not a unified worldview was worked out.
Since political motives played a decisive role in the religious conversion of Kyivan Rus’, the emergent philosophical thought was focused on political rather than religious questions. Authors of the first original works produced in Kyivan Rus’ were not concerned much with personal salvation or the defense of Christian doctrine, but with a higher justification of the political order. Metropolitan Ilarion's ‘Slovo o zakoni i blahodati’ (Sermon on Law and Grace), the finest theoretical work written in Kyivan Rus’, shows how the Christianization of Rus’ is the fulfillment of universal history. Grand Prince Volodymyr Monomakh's Poucheniie ditiam (Instruction for [My] Children) and the Rus’ chronicles portray the ideal prince, a combination of the pagan warrior and the fatherly Christian ruler. Besides these works, the sermons of Bishop Cyril of Turiv, the letters of Metropolitan Klym Smoliatych (reputedly the best philosopher in Kyivan Rus’), and the writings of Nestor the Chronicler contain philosophical ideas, but fall far short of the kind of articulated, systematic thinking characteristic of scholasticism. The worldview expressed in the literature and folklore of Kyivan Rus’ was practical, optimistic, and life-asserting. The Church Fathers' Christian Neoplatonism reinforced the sense of divine presence in the world and the expectation of happiness in this life that were characteristic of the earlier pagan outlook. The sharp opposition between God and nature, as well as the spirit and the body, and its attendant rejection of the joys of this world was confined to a relatively narrow class of ascetic works (see Asceticism).
The Mongol invasion of the mid-13th century began a long period of political turmoil and cultural decline in Rus’. For almost three centuries nothing significant was added to the Kyivan intellectual heritage. As a mood of historical pessimism set in, people turned to religion and mysticism for comfort. In the mid-14th century Hesychasm, a form of monastic mysticism, spread from Bulgaria to Ukraine, and in the 15th century a rationalist sect of Judaizers appeared in Kyiv.
Renaissance period. Philosophical ideas and methods of argument gained a new importance in the period of religious struggle in Europe. At the end of the 15th century the ideas of humanism were brought to Ukraine by foreign travelers and by Ukrainians studying at foreign universities. The Reformation, which was carried into Galicia and Volhynia by rationalist sects, such as the Socinians, was very different in origin and purpose from the humanist movement, yet their programs coincided and reinforced each other on many points: the extension of education and learning, the use of the vernacular, the right to individual opinion, and the need to return to the original sources and to reassess critically the traditions built on them. Protestant anticlericalism, public-mindedness, and national awareness had an important influence on the church brotherhoods in Ukraine.
Although these two movements contributed to the cultural revival in Ukraine, it was the Counter-Reformation spearheaded by the Jesuits that threatened the very existence of the Orthodox faith and Ukrainian culture and aroused the Ukrainian Orthodox nobility and burghers to vigorous organized action. At first the Orthodox adopted a defensive strategy: they turned inward toward their own Greco-Slavonic tradition and rejected anything belonging to the Latin-Polish tradition. Returning to the roots of their culture, they revived the use of Greek and Church Slavonic, translated the Bible, and studied patristic theology. The achievements of the Catholic West—scholastic theology, philosophy, and logic—were viewed with suspicion as a devilish ploy to lure believers away from the true faith. New institutions were set up toward the end of the 16th century to carry out this program: the Ostroh cultural center, consisting of the Ostroh Academy and Ostroh Press, a learned circle, and a string of brotherhoods modeled on the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood. The leading Orthodox proponents were Ivan Vyshensky, V. Surazky, Khrystofor Filalet, Herasym Smotrytsky, Ostrozkyi Kliryk, Zakhariia Kopystensky, Kyrylo Stavrovetsky-Tranquillon, Isaia Kopynsky, and Yov Boretsky. To them philosophy was part of theology, and most of their ideas were derived from the same sources on which medieval thinkers had drawn—Pseudo-Dionysius, Saint John Chrysostom, Saint John of Damascus, and Exarch John of Bulgaria (see Polemical literature).
This defensive strategy led to isolation from the larger society and from the dominant culture. Withdrawal from this world for the sake of another world did not appeal to the upper classes of the nobility, clergy, and burghers, who continued to drift away from the Orthodox faith and culture. The Orthodox countered by proposing to study and assimilate the tools (Latin, Polish, rhetoric, and logic) and ideas (scholasticism) of their rivals. This was a dangerous policy, for it diminished the differences between the competing cultures, but it was the only policy that offered some hope of success. The turn to scholasticism was a return to an outlived intellectual tradition, but it created the preconditions for the separation of philosophy from theology and the introduction of modern ideas into Ukraine. The chief proponents of the new strategy were Meletii Smotrytsky, Kasiian Sakovych, Lavrentii Zyzanii, and Petro Mohyla. The Kyivan Mohyla College (later Kyivan Mohyla Academy) was the leading institution to carry out this program.
In spite of royal prohibition, philosophy began to be taught at the Kyivan Cave Monastery School (1631), and the practice was continued when the school was reorganized into the Kyivan Mohyla College, later Kyivan Mohyla Academy (1632–1817). The philosophy courses, read in Latin, usually required three years and covered three main fields, logic, physics (natural philosophy), and metaphysics. Each instructor prepared his own course; hence, the courses differed significantly in content and style. Some of the professors who offered philosophy courses at the academy were Yosyf Kononovych-Horbatsky (1639–42), Innokentii Gizel (1645–7), Yoasaf Krokovsky (1686–7), Stefan Yavorsky (1691–3), I. Popovsky (1699), Y. Turoboisky (1702–4), Kh. Charnutsky (1704–5), Teofan Prokopovych (1707–8), Y. Volchansky (1715–18), I. Levytsky (1723–5), I. Dubnevych (1725–6), Amvrosii Dubnevych (1727–8), S. Kalynovsky (1729–30), Sylvestr Kuliabka (1735–9), Mykhail Kozachynsky (1741–5), Heorhii Konysky (1749), Tymofii Shcherbatsky (1751–3), and Davyd Nashchynsky (1753–5).
The general character of these courses was syncretic—the result of blending elements of Christian Neoplatonism with Aristotelian doctrines. The Kyivan Mohyla Academy's professors drew ideas freely from the ancient philosophers (mostly Aristotle and Plato, but also the Stoics and Ptolemy), the patristic tradition (Origen, Saint Basil the Great, Saint Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius), medieval scholasticism (Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, J. Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham), and neoscholasticism (T. Cajetan, F. Suárez, P. Fonseca, L. de Molina, R. de Arriaga, and F. de Oviedo). They often criticized Thomas Aquinas, using the arguments of his scholastic opponents. Aristotle was quoted more than any other thinker but was not treated as an infallible authority. The logic course, which consisted of an introductory part called dialectic or minor logic and a more sophisticated part called major logic, was based on Aristotle's Organon and supplemented with refinements introduced by scholastic logicians. On the central problem discussed in logic—universals—the academy's professors rejected Platonism and accepted some version of Aristotelian realism. In natural philosophy they adopted Aristotelian hylomorphism, but tended to stress the ontological primacy of prime matter over form. Tymofii Shcherbatsky was the first to proffer the Cartesian concept of matter instead of Aristotle's. While accepting creation the Kyiv thinkers tended to minimize God's subsequent intervention in the natural world. This deistic tendency contrasted sharply with their Neoplatonist metaphysics, which emphasized God's immanence in nature. A growing interest in modern science and philosophy is evident in their discussion of Copernican, Galilean, and Cartesian theories (Shcherbatsky first adopted the heliocentric theory and Descartes's vortex theory) and the rejection of Aristotle's distinction between celestial and sublunar bodies (Teofan Prokopovych, Mykhail Kozachynsky, Heorhii Konysky, Shcherbatsky). Some added ethics treatises to their courses (Prokopovych, S. Kalynovsky, Sylvestr Kuliabka, Kozachynsky, Konysky, Shcherbatsky). They tended to reject a narrow, ascetic view of life and to assert the desirability of happiness in this as well as the next life and its attainability in an active, rationally governed life. In style the courses looked much like scholastic treatises: the chief problems of philosophy were discussed one by one by proposing a thesis, listing objections, and replying to the objections.
Modern period. During the second half of the 18th century the Kyivan Mohyla Academy, Chernihiv College, Pereiaslav College, and Kharkiv College were gradually reduced to mere seminaries. At the beginning of the 1760s the Kyiv metropolitan ordered philosophy at the academy to be taught according to C. Baumeister's texts based on C. Wolff's system, and thus discouraged any individual originality and intellectual independence.
Ukraine's loss of the last vestiges of political autonomy under Catherine II and its swift cultural decline account for the weak impression that the Enlightenment made on Ukrainian thought. Without royal encouragement or interest and without vigorous institutions of higher learning independent of church control, the Enlightenment could not grow into a full-fledged movement. It is represented by a few individual thinkers, such as Yakiv Kozelsky, Petro Lodii, Ivan Rizhsky, and Johann Baptist Schad, and propagandists, such as Vasyl Karazyn, Hryhorii Vynsky, Oleksander Palytsyn, and Vasyl Kapnist. A conservative form of Enlightenment based on G. Leibniz's and C. Wolff's ideas was propagated by the higher schools; the more radical form articulated by Voltaire, J.-J. Rousseau, D. Diderot, C.-A. Helvétius, P.-H. Holbach, and Montesquieu was cultivated and propagated by small circles of educated nobles. Some Ukrainians (Hryhorii Kozytsky, Semen Desnytsky, Kozelsky, I. Vanslov, Ya. Kostensky, Hryhorii A. Poletyka, Vasyl H. Ruban, and I. Tumansky) belonged to a society in Saint Petersburg (1768–83) that translated and published books by several French thinkers. Kantianism was propagated by the German thinker L.H. von Jacob, who was a professor at Kharkiv University (1807–9), and by Rev V. Dovhovych, a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. Kant's moral theory made a strong impression on Schad.
Grounding a doctrine of natural rights in an ahistorical concept of human nature, the enlightened thinkers proposed to realize these rights (to individual freedom, equality before the law, and enjoyment of property) by restructuring society. All of them were opposed to serfdom, but apart from Yakiv Kozelsky and Vasyl Karazyn they urged the restriction of landowners' rights rather than abolition. Karazyn and Petro Lodii preferred constitutional monarchy while Kozelsky preferred a republic. Following Rousseau, Kozelsky advocated not merely equality before the law, but limits to economic disparity. All of them believed in peaceful social reform through education and the moral improvement of the monarch and small elite. Karazyn pointed also to the importance of scientific and technological development for social progress.
In its practical (moral and social) consequences the philosophy of Hryhorii Skovoroda is very close to the teachings of the Philosophes, although it has no direct tie with the Enlightenment. It is rooted not in the new natural sciences, but in the humanist tradition going back to the ancient philosophers and in Christian Neoplatonism. In his writings Skovoroda denounced the injustice and exploitation he observed around him, and in practice he renounced this society by turning down a career in the church. His ideal society, which can be realized only by individual moral rebirth, is based on the fulfillment of each member's inner nature. In this context equality is the full (hence equal) realization by all individuals of their unequal potentialities.
A number of Ukrainians played an important role in the growth of mysticism in the 18th-century Russian Empire. This trend of thought paved the way for the Romantic worldview and German idealism.
The development of Ukrainian culture, particularly literature and art, in the 19th century was influenced decisively by German romanticism. The Romantic outlook attained its fullest philosophical expression in the German idealists—J. Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, and G. Hegel—and it was those thinkers who had a determining influence on philosophical thought in Ukraine during the first half of the 19th century.
Fichte's ideas were introduced at Kharkiv University by Johann Baptist Schad (1804) and were spread to other educational institutions by his students. The first translation of Fichte was done at Kharkiv by one of Schad's students in 1813. Schad also acquainted his students with some of Schelling's doctrines, and his successor to the university's chair of philosophy, A. Dudrovych (1818–30), absorbed Schelling's mystical spirit and taught Schellingian psychology. J. Kroneberg, who taught classical philosophy at Kharkiv University (1819–37), attempted to construct his own esthetic theory using Schelling's ideas. Mykhailo Maksymovych, the first rector of Kyiv University, formulated his ideas on nature under the impact of Schelling's and L. Oken's doctrines and was inspired in his later ethnographic work by Schelling's views. K. Zelenetsky, who tried to reconcile Schelling and Kant, N. Kurliandtsev, who translated Schelling, and H. Steffens taught at the Richelieu Lyceum in Odesa in the first half of the century. P. Avsenev followed C. Carus in his psychology lectures at the Kyiv Theological Academy and Kyiv University in the 1840s and probably had some influence on the Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood. But the most influential German thinker was Hegel, whose system encompassed all the diverse trends within romanticism (moral, religious, esthetic) and subsumed them all under reason. Hegel's historicism and dialectic made a strong impression on Orest Novytsky, Osyp Mykhnevych, and Sylvestr Hohotsky. They not only adopted some of his ideas but also tried to apply his methods of interpretation. Hegel's theory of history influenced a number of historians, such as M. Lunin, who in turn influenced Mykola Kostomarov, and P. Pavlov, some literary historians such as Amvrosii Metlynsky and M. Kostyr, and the philosopher of law Petro Redkyn (see Hegelianism).
The Christian Romantic ideology of the Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood is the finest example of a creative response by young Ukrainian intellectuals to new ideas from the West. As expressed in the Knyhy bytiia ukraïns’koho narodu (The Books of the Genesis of the Ukrainian People), their theory was a mixture of Enlightenment political ideals (equality, democracy, parliamentarism), pietist sentiment, and Romantic notions of historical providentialism and national messianism. A religiously colored faith in Ukraine's mission to unite the Slavs in a federation of free national republics inspired the writings of the leading Ukrainian writers of the mid-century and stimulated the growth of national consciousness.
As the prestige of the natural sciences rose, the Romantic Weltanschauung lost its credibility. But the ambition to unify all human experience in one all-embracing philosophical system remained strong throughout the second half of the century. Pamfil Yurkevych, probably the sharpest philosophical mind in Ukraine at the time, set out to reconcile idealism and materialism. Although he did not complete this project, his critique of materialism, interpretation of Platonism, and suggestions for an integrated concept of human nature were promising beginnings. A unified metaphysical system was worked out by A. Kozlov, who taught at Kyiv University from 1876. Influenced by Leibniz, Immanuel Kant, and A. Schopenhauer, he proposed a theory of critical spiritualism that admitted a multiplicity of spirits and denied the reality of matter. A similar system of ‘synechiological spiritualism’ was proposed later by Aleksei Giliarov, who viewed the universe as an infinite hierarchy of organisms.
Positivism was more popular among scientists than among philosophers in Ukraine. A Ukrainian positivist of particular note was Volodymyr Lesevych. He accepted A. Comte's teachings at first, but later rejected them in favor of a stricter empiricism and worked out his own theory of knowledge, which was close to empiriocriticism. Some positivist ideas can be found in G. Chelpanov, who taught philosophy at Kyiv University (1892–1906), Petro Linytsky, and N. Grot, who began his academic career at the Nizhyn Lyceum and Odesa University (1883–6). All of them tried to make room for religious faith without weakening the authority of science. Following Kant they drew a clear line between knowledge and faith; they restricted the first to the realm of phenomena and accounted for it in empiriocritical terms. Mykhailo Drahomanov developed his political and social theory in a positivist framework. The sociologist Maksym Kovalevsky was influenced strongly by A. Comte, while Bohdan Kistiakovsky worked out a neo-Kantian foundation for the social sciences. Fedir Zelenohorsky of Kharkiv University emphasized the importance of the inductive method without denying the role of deduction and imagination in scientific knowledge. Oleksander Potebnia's and Dmitrii Ovsianiko-Kulikovsky's philosophy of language was based on associationist psychology.
After the First World War philosophy developed very differently in Western Ukraine under Polish rule, in Soviet Ukraine under the stifling restrictions of official ideology, and among Ukrainian émigrés. Denied their own university by the Polish authorities, Galicia's Ukrainians were unable to compete with the Poles in the quality of philosophical education and writing. Some philosophy was taught at the Lviv (Underground) Ukrainian University (eg, by Stepan Balei) and at the Greek Catholic Theological Academy by Rev Yosyf Slipy (scholasticism), Mykola Konrad (ancient philosophy), and Havryil Kostelnyk (epistemology). The Western Ukrainian and émigré proponents of different political ideologies, such as conservatism, integral nationalism, socialism, and Marxism, discussed, with varying sophistication and objectivity, the philosophical grounds of their outlook.
Soviet period. In Soviet Ukraine, for the first few years philosophical activity developed in a normal way: philosophers expressed their views freely, formed associations, and published their own journals. In 1922 the government dismissed some of its ideological opponents from their academic posts and banished them from the Ukrainian SSR, thus warning intellectual circles that it would no longer tolerate criticism of the official ideology. Gradually the regime imposed its control over ideas by dissolving all independent associations and publications and by establishing its own institutions for defining and propagating the approved ideology, Marxism-Leninism. As political interference increased, philosophical debate degenerated quickly into servile dogmatism, invective, and denunciation. By 1931 all creative thinking on philosophical issues had been stifled.
The first philosophical institution in Ukraine set up by the Soviet regime was the Department of Marxism and Marxology in Kharkiv. It was established in the fall of 1921, and a year later it was reorganized into the Ukrainian Institute of Marxism, renamed the Ukrainian Institute of Marxism-Leninism (UIML) in 1927. The institute had three divisions, each with three departments. The Philosophy-Sociology Division (chaired by Semen Semkovsky) consisted of the departments of Philosophy (headed by Semkovsky), Sociology (headed by Volodymyr Yurynets), and, from 1928, Law (headed by Yurii Mazurenko). Members of the philosophy department included Ya. Bilyk, Z. Luzina, Petro Demchuk, and T. Stepovy, who also lectured at other institutions in Kharkiv. Philosophical research was published in the institute's journal Prapor marksyzmu (1927–30). In 1927 the Ukrainian Society of Militant Materialists (later of Militant Materialists-Dialecticians) was organized at the institute. At the same time (from 1921) two departments of the Social-Economic Division of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (VUAN)—those of the History of Philosophy and Law (headed by Aleksei Giliarov) and Sociology (headed by Semkovsky)—functioned in Kyiv. In 1931 they were replaced by the VUAN Philosophical Commission in Kharkiv, which was to prepare a philosophical dictionary. In 1926 the Kyiv Scientific Research Department of Marxism-Leninism (headed by R. Levik and then O. Kamyshan) was set up under the VUAN. Its philosophical-sociological section (chaired by Semkovsky) formed special commissions devoted to scientific methodology, historical materialism, the sociology of law, the sociology of art, the methodology of the history of technology, and atheism. Leading associates of the department were V. Asmus, Ya. Rozanov, M. Perlin, O. Zahorulko, M. Nyrchuk, and Yurynets. In 1930 the department was turned into the Kyiv branch of the UIML.
The Ukrainian Institute of Marxism-Leninism (UIML) and the VUAN departments had two chief tasks: to articulate and propagate Marxism-Leninism and to train political specialists and propagandists for work in higher educational institutions. Besides translating the basic works of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin and preparing anthologies and textbooks, their associates conducted prolonged discussions on the nature of philosophy, the place of the Hegelian dialectic in the physical world and the natural sciences, and the weight of Lenin's contribution to philosophy. Since dialectical materialism claimed to be both a scientific theory and a method of studying reality, its relation to the natural sciences and, particularly, the new theories of relativity and quantum mechanics aroused much interest (see Philosophy of science). The third branch of philosophy to receive some attention was the history of philosophy, which was limited to the philosophical traditions from which Marxism-Leninism had sprung: B. Spinoza and the French materialists, Hegel and L. Feuerbach among the German philosophers, and Nikolai Chernyshevsky, Leo Tolstoy, and G. Plekhanov among the Russians. In 1930 Petro Demchuk's book on Spinoza and V. Bon's book on 18th-century French materialism came out. Hegel's Science of Logic was translated in 1929. Although the philosophy department at the UIML had a special commission for the history of philosophy in Ukraine (chaired by Semen Semkovsky), little was accomplished in this area. Only a collection of articles on Hryhorii Skovoroda (1923), some booklets, and a solid monograph on him by Dmytro Bahalii (1926) were published.
The so-called philosophical discussion in Ukraine culminated at a conference in Kharkiv in January 1931, where accusations of nationalism, mechanism, and Menshevik idealism were directed at the leading figures of the philosophical establishment. Despite the absurdity of the charges, everyone admitted his ‘errors’ in a published self-criticism. The Communist Party was thus able to call for a reorganization of the institutional system of research and the eradication of the vestiges of ‘bourgeois science.’ In June 1931 the Ukrainian Institute of Marxism-Leninism (UIML) was converted by Party decree into the All-Ukrainian Association of Marxist-Leninist Scientific Research Institutes (VUAMLIN). The UIML's three divisions were turned into three VUAMLIN institutes—Philosophy and Natural Science, Economics, and History—of the six that were created. Each institute had a three-year graduate program. The Institute of Philosophy and Natural Science (directed by R. Levik and then O. Vasileva, and A. Saradzhev) was divided into four sectors: dialectical materialism (including a section on the history of philosophy in Ukraine), historical materialism, natural science (with the Association of Natural Science), and antireligion. It published the journals Prapor marksyzmu-leninizmu (1931–3), Pid markso-lenins’kym praporom (1934–6), and Za marksysts’ko-lenins’ke pryrodoznavstvo (1932–3). Among its leading associates were Semen Semkovsky, Volodymyr Yurynets, T. Stepovy, O. Bervytsky, Ya. Bilyk, and V. Bon. So-called Red Professors institutes (est 1932) assumed the responsibility of training research and teaching cadres within each of the VUAMLIN institutes. At the Philosophy Institute of Red Professors (directed by Ya. Bludov and then O. Andrianov), Yurynets held the chair of dialectical materialism, T. Stepovy the chair of historical materialism, and O. Bervytsky the chair of the history of philosophy. In 1936 the separate institutes were merged into one Institute of Red Professors, with six departments. The philosophy department was chaired by A. Saradzhev and then Yu. Olman and M. Yushmanov. Philosophical research at the VUAMLIN had been long extinct by the time it was abolished in 1937. Many of the aforementioned leading thinkers perished in the terror of the 1930s.
After the Second World War research and teaching continued to be assigned to two distinct types of institution: research to institutes, and teaching to higher educational institutions, including universities. In 1946 the Institute of Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR was established in Kyiv. It published Naukovi zapysky Instytutu filosofiï (1951–61, 7 vols) and the bimonthly Filosofs’ka dumka (est 1969), which in 1989 became the monthly Filosofs’ka i sotsiolohichna dumka. Another research body—the Department of Philosophy of the AN URSR Presidium—was established in early 1950. It was headed by Mykhailo Omelianovsky and then M. Ovander, and I. Holovakha. Since any new work in dialectical and historical materialism was ruled out by Joseph Stalin's treatment of the topic in the offical short course on the history of the Bolshevik party (1938), and since the methodology of the natural and social sciences remained an uncharted mine field, the history of philosophy in Ukraine became the most promising area in philosophy. A few monographs and numerous articles on the philosophical ideas of 19th-century scientists (Mykhailo Maksymovych, Vasyl Danylevsky, and Illia Mechnikov) and the so-called Russian and Ukrainian revolutionary democrats (Aleksandr Herzen, Nikolai Chernyshevsky, Nikolai Dobroliubov, D. Pisarev, Taras Shevchenko, Panas Myrny, Ivan Franko, Mykhailo Pavlyk, Ostap Terletsky, Pavlo Hrabovsky, Lesia Ukrainka, and Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky) appeared. In a crude and obvious manner their authors imposed a predictable interpretation on their subject: materialist, atheist, or social revolutionary. In the 1950s some work, which was equally tendentious, was done also on 17th- and 18th-century writers, such as Ivan Vyshensky, Lazar Baranovych, Hryhorii Skovoroda, and Yakiv Kozelsky. Such studies proliferated in the 1960s; a collection of articles on the history of Ukrainian philosophy came out almost every year. The most important accomplishment of the period was the publication in 1961 of the first full and scholarly collection of Skovoroda's work. The Latin transcripts of philosophy courses taught at the Kyivan Mohyla Academy began to be studied and translated, and excerpts appeared regularly in Filosofs’ka dumka. A Ukrainian translation of Teofan Prokopovych's courses was readied for publication, but appeared more than a decade later, in 1979–81. On the 250th anniversary of Skovoroda's birth a second, improved edition of his works (2 vols, 1973), a new biography by Leonid Makhnovets (1972), and several collections of articles on Skovoroda came out. The more important contributors in the field of Ukrainian philosophy were I. Ivano, Danylo Ostrianyn, V. Dmytrychenko, Andrii Brahinets, I. Tabachnikov, V. Horsky, P. Manzenko, M. Rohovych, V. Yevdokymenko, and Volodymyr Shynkaruk.
A wave of arrests throughout Ukraine in January 1972 launched a concerted campaign to suppress Ukrainian culture and language. At mid-year the Institute of Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR was purged: two of its associates, Vasyl Lisovy and Yevhen Proniuk, were imprisoned for criticizing the Party's policy, and a number of junior researchers and graduate students were expelled. The number and quality of the institute's publications declined: hardly anything was printed in Ukrainian, and the Ukrainian accomplishments had to be described as accomplishments of the three ‘fraternal’ (Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian) peoples. The pace of publication picked up only in the 1980s. Valeriia Nichyk's monograph on the philosophical tradition at the Kyivan Mohyla Academy (1978) was followed by a series of related studies by Yaroslava Stratii (1981), Ihor Zakhara (1982), I. Paslavsky (1984), and Volodymyr Lytvynov (1984), and a catalogue of surviving transcripts of the rhetoric and philosophy courses at the academy (1982). The scope of research was broadened to include the medieval era, on which several collections of articles appeared (1983, 1987, 1988, 1990). Before his untimely death, I. Ivano finished his survey history of esthetics in Ukraine (1981) and his notable study of Hryhorii Skovoroda's thought (1983). Volumes 1 and 2 of the ANU multiauthor three-volume history of philosophy in Ukraine were published in 1987. The most significant recent achievement has been the publication of primary sources of Ukrainian thought of the 16th to 18th centuries in Standard Ukrainian translation: ethics courses at the Kyivan Mohyla Academy (1987), the works of professors of brotherhood schools (1988), and Heorhii Konysky's (1990) and Stefan Yavorsky's (1992) philosophy courses at the academy. Among the leading scholars in the field today are Nichyk, M. Kashuba, V. Horsky, Stratii, Zakhara, Lytvynov, I. Paslavsky, M. Luk, and Andrii Pashuk.
Since 1972 the Ukrainian Philosophical Society has promoted and co-ordinated philosophical studies in Ukraine.
Outside Ukraine. In the interwar period philosophy was taught in Prague at the Ukrainian Higher Pedagogical Institute, at which the Skovoroda Philosophical Society (1925–30) was active, and at the Ukrainian Free University (UVU) by Dmytro Chyzhevsky, who established himself as the leading authority on the history of Ukrainian philosophy with his two monographs on philosophy in Ukraine, two books on Hryhorii Skovoroda, and a study of Hegel's influence in the Russian Empire. Ivan Mirchuk, a historian of Ukrainian culture and philosophy, began his academic career at the UVU. Mykola Shlemkevych, who completed his PH D under M. Schlick in Vienna, developed a philosophical genre of journalism dealing with fundamental psychological-cultural problems of Ukrainian society. After the Second World War Mirchuk continued his work on the history of philosophy. Some contributions were made by his colleagues at the UVU in Munich Oleksander Kulchytsky and Volodymyr Yaniv. Kyrylo Mytrovych, a specialist in contemporary existentialism, has done some work on Skovoroda. Yevhen Lashchyk, a professor of philosophy in the United States, has worked on Volodymyr Vynnychenko's ‘concordism.’ Among Ukrainian émigré scholars who have gained a world reputation are Gregor Malantschuk, for his work on S. Kierkegaard's thought, and Roman Rozdolsky, for his interpretation of Marx's Das Kapital.
(For recent work in other fields of philosophy, see Logic, Marxism-Leninism, and Philosophy of Science).
Chyzhevs’kyi, D. Fil’osofiia na Ukraïni (sproba istoriografiï) (Prague 1926; rev edn 1928)
———. Narysy z istoriï filosofiï na Ukraïni (Prague 1931)
Ostrianyn, D.; et al (eds). Z istoriï suspil’no-politychnoï ta filosofs’koï dumky na Ukraïni (Kyiv 1956)
———. Z istoriï vitchyznianoï filosofs'koï ta suspil'no-politychnoï dumky (Kyiv 1959)
———. Z istoriï filosofs'koï dumky na Ukraïni (Kyiv 1963)
Ievdokymenko, V; et al (eds). Borot'ba mizh materializmom ta idealizmom na Ukraïni v XIX st. (Kyiv 1964)
———. Z istoriï filosofs'koï dumky na Ukraïni (Kyiv 1965)
Ostrianyn, D.; et al (eds). Narys istoriï filosofiï na Ukraïni (Kyiv 1966)
Ievdokymenko, V; et al (eds). Z istoriï filosofiï na Ukraïni (Kyiv 1967)
———. Rozvytok filosofiï v Ukraïns'kii RSR (Kyiv 1968)
———. Z istoriï filosofiï ta sotsiolohiï na Ukraïni (Kyiv 1968)
Korchyns’ka, T.; Lavrova, O.; Proniuk, Ie. (comps). Bibliohrafiia prats’ Instytutu filosofiï AN URSR (1946–1967) (Kyiv 1969)
Oleksiuk, M. Borot’ba filosofs’kykh techii na zakhidno-ukraïns’kykh zemliakh u 20–30-kh rokakh XX st. (Lviv 1970)
Ostrianyn, D. Rozvytok materialistychnoï filosofiï na Ukraïni (Kyiv 1971)
Ievdokymenko, V. (ed). Filosofs’ka dumka na Ukraïni (Kyiv 1972)
Nichyk, V. (ed). Vid Vyshens’koho do Skovorody (Kyiv 1972)
Nichik, V. Iz istorii otechestvennoi filosofii kontsa XVII–nachala XVIII v. (Kyiv 1978)
Stratii, Ia. Problemy naturfilosofii v filosofskoi mysli Ukrainy XVII v. (Kyiv 1981)
Shynkaruk, V.; et al (eds). Filosofskaia mysl’ v Kieve (Kyiv 1982)
Stratii, Ia.; Litvinov, V.; Andrushko, V. Opisanie kursov filosofii i ritoriki professorov Kievo-Mogilianskoi akademii (Kyiv 1982)
Zakhara, I. Bor’ba idei v filosofskoi mysli na Ukraine na rubezhe XVII–XVIII vv. (Stefan Iavorskii) (Kyiv 1982)
Gorskii, V. (ed). U istokov obshchnosti filosofskikh kul’tur russkogo, ukrainskogo i bolgarskogo narodov: Sbornik nauchnykh trudov (Kyiv 1983)
Lytvynov, V. Ideï rann’oho prosvitnytstva u filosofs’kii dumtsi Ukraïny (Kyiv 1984)
Paslavs’kyi, I. Z istoriï rozvytku filosofs’kykh idei na Ukraïni v kintsi XVI–pershii tretyni XVII st. (Kyiv 1984)
Gorskii, V. (ed). Chelovek i istoriia v srednevekovoi filosofskoi mysli russkogo, ukrainskogo i belorusskogo narodov: Sbornik nauchnykh trudov (Kyiv 1987)
Pamiatniki eticheskoi mysli na Ukraine XVII–pervoi poloviny XVIII st. Tr. M. Kashuba (Kyiv 1987)
Shynkaruk, V.; et al (eds). Istoriia filosofiï na Ukraïni u 3 tomakh, vols 1–2 (Kyiv 1987)
Gorskii, V. Filosofskie idei v kul’ture Kievskoi Rusi XI–nachala XII v. (Kyiv 1988)
Shynkaruk, V.; Nichyk, V.; Sukhov, A. (eds). Pam'iatky brats’kykh shkil na Ukraïni: Kinets’ XVI–pochatok XVII st.: Teksty i doslidzhennia (Kyiv 1988)
Gorskii, V. (ed). Slovo o polku Igoreve i mirovozrenie ego epokhi (Kyiv 1990)
Kashuba, M. (ed). Filosofiia Vidrodzhennia na Ukraïni (Kyiv 1990)
Luk, N. (ed). Filosofskaia kul’tura Ukrainy i otechestvennaia obshchestvennaia mysl’ XIX–XX vv. (Kyiv 1990)
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]
Encyclopedia of Ukraine