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In the middle of the nineteenth century individuality, particularity, uniqueness take root as the fundamental meaning of personality due to the influence of Belinskij’s writings in which he transferred into Russian ideas from German idealism. However, an important factor in the development of the Soviet discourse was the fact that the two most influential non-official philosophers, Aleksej Losev and Mikhail Bakhtin, continued the traditional line with its semantical center in the ‘unique individuality’. For Losev personality is the point of intersection of concept and life, that is, a form of concrete existence, though no longer that of the human individual but of the Absolute (the article by G. Significant work in the philosophical semantics of personality is to be found in Russian theology and legal theory. The articles included in this double issue of were assembled in the context of the research project “Person und Subjekt im deutsch-russischen Kulturtransfer.
It is an analogous, and probably conscious, sense of discomfort that led Jacques Derrida to choose as a leitmotif for his book on friendship a sibylline motto, attributed to Aristotle by tradition, that negates friendship with the very same gesture by which it seems to invoke it: to the chapter dedicated to Aristotle’s biography (5.21), we do not find the phrase in question but rather one to all appearances almost identical, whose significance is nevertheless different and much less mysterious: , by Giorgio Agamben, tr.
The material under study will consist, correspondingly, of a body of texts in which the semantic field of the personality is the explicit subject of discussion.
These comprise, first, dictionaries and encyclopaedias, with relevant entries, second, philosophic and publicist texts bearing on themes connected to personality, and third, texts from the human sciences (psychology, theology, pedagogy, jurisprudence), in which the philosophical concepts acquire a variety of shadings proper to these disciplines.
These types delineate broad tendencies in the use of the concepts and occur in a variety of combinations in the works of individual writers.
Nevertheless, their distinction is primarily of heuristic value as they provide distinct groupings of characteristics in the comprehension of personality.
Belinskij’s opponents—the slavophiles Kireevskij, Konstantin Aksakov, and Khomjakov—were ready to accept this semantics, though among them ‘personality’ is individuality in a contrasting sense, that is, no longer separate, isolated, closed in itself, but rather that which is surpassed in the religious oneness of the national spirit (; cf. And it was a characteristic feature of these discussions that the other models of personality were regularly excluded, as is especially evident in the work of the populists’ foremost theoretician, Pëtr Lavrov. This conception is developed further by Nikolaj Mikhajlovskij whose articles, devoted to the “struggle for individuality,” time and again present the person as the critically thinking individual who, in the company of a select minority, creates history. The counter-positioning of personalism and antipersonalism was no less radical in the philosophical and artistic currents at the beginning of the twentieth century.