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Introduction


To begin with, I will say a few words about the sense and conception of this Introduction.

It is a philosophical book in front of the reader. Meanwhile nowadays, in the 20th century we often forget that reading philosophical works requires of a reader some special and very difficult preparation and attitude. It requires – before reading of the main text - relieving from usual expectations and habitual mental matrixes in which the text willy-nilly must fit so that the text and its author could be understood. It is squeezing of the new text into the already existing in the reader’s mind mental “matrix” and “mould” that is usually called understanding of the text. To insert the new text into the known matrix, into some given hole, into the given slot next to such-and-such filled slots, in correlation with such-and-such compartments, away from such-and-such slots and compartments (such and such types of research), to acquire the whole system of relationships, of “propinquities” and “remotenesses” – that is what the understanding of the text means, especially for a modern mind.

So, the reader should get rid of all these demands and cramming into, of these expectations that emerge, involuntarily, in the very sound of the known word combinations – should get rid of them before starting to read my text in order to read and understand it. To read and understand it as it was conceived…

This negative task turns into a positive one. I need to preliminary outline the context, in which this research can be understood correctly – the context of philosophy and general logic. The context of my thinking, of my wholesome setting. In other words, it is necessary to replace the habitual matrix by a different, uncommon new matrix, by different forms and energies of “inscription into slot”. You know, without such a matrix and without such a context, which might emerge, even as fragmentary guesses, in the mind of the reader, no real understanding is possible.

Generally speaking, the reader of any serious book faces this one-in-two task, to some extent... Yet for a philosophical book this problem becomes very special and crucial.

For a philosophical book, the greatest danger is not “non-understanding” or “disagreement” (these are just necessary), but “not-there-understanding”, “not-that-understanding”, cramming of the text into a wrong matrix, into not its own context.

Why is such a “not-there-understanding” specifically dangerous for a philosophical book? The matter is that the context of a scientific book or (another extreme) religious book is always relatively fixed and non-disputable. In a scientific or another non-philosophical work, the “own” and “unique” are just details, just some (although very important) findings and turns of thought, while the context being universal and anonymous. Even in a fiction book, the author allures readers by inclusion of the book in the literary line, in the literature evolution, in the opposition of styles etc. (I deliberately refer to the concepts developed in the papers by Yu.Tynianov and generally by authors of Russian OPOYAZ from the 1920ties). Innovations and the author’s uniqueness are felt and act more sharply and tensely on a certain background, in argument with this background.

A philosophical book is a philosophical one if only it creates anew not only the given “text”, but also its own context, the matrix in which that text – that research – inscribes; creates its own background. Ultimately, every philosophical books makes a new, unique author’s worldview, a new system of logic and a new, unique actualization of the universal being (ontology). Suffice it to inscribe Plato into the logic and ontology of Aristotle, or Fichte into the logic and ontology of Kant, suffice it to not find his own, specific universal in the works by Heidegger, and here you are, understanding failed.

Things become even more difficult for this necessity of the “own universal” immediately turns into something morbid, mania grandiose, if at the same time this philosophical study does not contain some strange juxtaposition of many “universals”, if there is no possibility to correlate the ontology and logic of Kant with the ontology and logic of Fichte, the “universal” of Heidegger with the “universal” of Hegel...

In the 20th century, this connection is understood as a dialogue, as a polyphony of philosophical worlds, of philosophical cultures (see particularly works by M.M. Bakhtin).

But even this, belonging to the general culture, context of the dialogue with the other “universals”, with different logical worlds is conditioned by the logic of this author’s specific philosophical work, which cannot speak too much of its own context and presents this text-created context through ambages, hints, atmosphere or by getting far ahead and broadways in those inflated Prefaces and Second Prefaces that were so characteristic of Kant or Hegel.

That is why for philosophical books, the “not-there-understanding” and “not-there-inscription” are much more fatal than the complete lack of understanding or dissent.

In our time, this difficulty of reading philosophical books often results in just annihilation of the philosophical culture. After all philosophical books nowadays are being read, a priori, not as philosophical, being attributed in advance to a different category. They are being read either as scientific books, with an obstinate expectation of the “scientific anonymous context”, with persistent asking: what did this so-and-so philosopher added to the accumulated clot of human knowledge? Or they are being read as quasi-religious books, with no less persistent looking for a singular “credo” (“what do you believe in? what do you profess?” – meaning “what known before you and beside you do you believe in, what confession do you join?” – and with annoyed skipping over logical clarifications as unnecessary and boring reasoning...

Yet, even more dangerous way of understanding philosophy is the method of philosophical classification, i.e. attribution of the studied author to a certain philosophical “school”: whether one is a Kantian (or neo-Kantian), positivist or existentialist? Meanwhile, there are no schools in philosophy, there are just unique and inimitable authors of logical universes.

Here is just one example: understanding Hermann Cohen as a neo-Kantian means not understanding his philosophy. Though he certainly was a neo-Kantian (in some other, Ghelerter reckoning) and could consider himself as such.

Now, back to the tasks of my Introduction. I would like – not to avoid, as it is impossible to avoid – but just reduce the aforementioned jeopardy of the “not-there... and not-that-understanding”. Taking into account the risk of such a “delimitation” of the infinity, I would like to render, in advance, my own universal context of everything I will touch upon in this book.

The subject of the book is paradoxes of self-substantiation of the Reason of the New Time*, how these paradoxes uncover themselves in the double juxtaposition – of Kant and Galileo, Galileo and Kant. So, for understanding the sense of such a research, we have to begin with defining of the notion of paradox as it is formulated in the context of my work. In my view, through the notion of paradox I link up to the most acute and, at the same time, most integral (potentially) modern logical collision, which affects and afflicts every reader, straining all his thinking even in everyday situations, whether he knows of it or not… On the other hand, rewording of standard and ordinary meanings of the notion of paradox, its shift towards totally different logical sphere makes the source of the universal context that I would like to reconstruct in my Introduction.

Therefore I suppose that there is a possibility to fulfill, taking stand on this notion, the complete restructuring of logical settings in my readers’ minds, and provide for creation of the matrix, in which this text should be inscribed.

Of course, the distance between the fundamental possibility of such restructuring and its actual implementation is very large, but that is quite different question.

While rendering this context, I will try – from the primary, phenomenologically given collision – not to miss a single logical link which is necessary for creation of some special “universal logic and philosophy of culture” developed in my other works and in studies by group of Moscow philosophers and culturologists: A.V.Akhutin, L.M.Batkin, L.B.Tumanova, M.S.Glazman, T.B.Dlugach, Ya.A.Liatker, S.S.Neretina… But first, all these logical passages will be compressed to the limit, and secondly, they will be turned in such a way so that to serve as the introduction into this particular research, with all its peculiarities and limitations.

As I suppose, this rendered context can still, despite all its risky character, have worked in the consciousness of the reader, but in different ways, in different types of perception and reading:

1. The reader, who is not exceptionally prepared and refined, but who begins reading with tense and keen philosophical curiosity and amazement, i.e. from the very beginning indeed, can perceive this context (the text of Introduction) on the semi-intuitive level, not exactly understanding it, but feeling mentally, while the filling of logical links will be provided not by the system of passages (such reader might not be able to fulfill them on his own), but by certain vision of the density of “nodes” of the logical network.

In this case, the outlined context will kind of plunge as a whole into the consciousness of the reader and will be able to reflectively act and be realized only in the process of reading of the book, and more so after reading it.

2. In an expert reader, who is familiarized with philosophical, historical-philosophical and culturological studies (this is the most dangerous category of readers who demonstrate the greatest density of the preconceived, ready judgments) the text of my Introduction can – and I wish it did – incite the restructuring of the existing matrix (those settings “where the new text should be inscribed”), which has already took root in his mind. I am not too hopeful that this shaped matrix will suddenly change, I just hope that at the best, the doubt will emerge how this book should be understood, into what category it should be placed – in advance! In this (the best) case, my Introduction will cause some initial detachment from the ready matrices, thus complicating the process of reading. This would be wonderful.

3. Finally, this Introduction turns differently for the reader whose direction of thinking is the same and who is in difficulties with the same problems even before reading my book. I am optimistic in a sense that such readers are not few in the 80ies, as the question is not about agreement with my ideas or instant getting in my arguments, but only about preliminary, existing before reading my work, contemplation within the “logic of paradox and dialogue”, which is imposed, to some degree, by real problems of the 20th century…

For such a reader, totally effective can be those logical passages, which I fixed and preserved for purity of thought (though in a very concise form), because frankly speaking, most of all I worry that my paper will be seen as another Credo, while neglecting logical details that might seem intrusive, but actually are, in my view, the principal sense of a philosophical work giving it the power of suddenness and opportunity for transformation of its own primary ideas. As a result, it becomes possible to transform the new universal context (all at once), which I discussed here that much.

In this – sure ideal – case, my Introduction will be read and challenged, included into the logical dialogue exactly in the sense and maximum perspective as I intended.

Well, back to the point…

So, let me repeat that the conception of my Introduction is as follows.

To understand the meaning of the things discussed in this book more precisely, the reader must from the very beginning unfold in his mind exactly that (philosophical) meaning of the notion of paradox, which is so essential for the author and his problems. The Introduction has to provoke such swift “unfolding”, such a shift in the primary mind setting.

For this purpose, I will first of all describe the logical situation in the modern (of the 20th century) thinking, where the notion of paradox becomes objectively – in our minds, whether we want it or not, whether we know of it or not – especially excruciating, becomes the notion paradoxical and philosophical in a proper sense, which exceeds its primary common, phenomenological meaning.


*According to Russian tradition the period from European Renaissance to Enlightenment to the end of the 19thcentury. Bak to reading

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