The Culture of the XVIIIth Century and the Return to the Human Being

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The essay analyses typological features of the culture of the XVIIIth century, revealing the radical refocusing of the whole cultural process from the cosmological idea to the anthropological one and the humanistic foundations of modern culture, defining the personalized form of culture and discovering the human being's self-comprehension as the subject of perception and creativity as exemplified in the philosophical works of Giambattista Vico, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johann Gottfried Herder and Immanuel Kant.

The essay explores typological features of culture of the XVIIIth century. The relevance of this exploration is determined by the author's study of the sources of modern culture and identification of its main value orientations. The author suggests a novel approach to the problem: to consider the examined cultural epoch as an establishment of a new, in comparison with Ancient Rome and the Renaissance, form of humanism. The writings of such quintessential representatives of the era as Giambattista Vico, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johann Gottfried Herder and Immanuel Kant reflect a significant intellectual revolution: the transition from the culture of reason to the modern personalized culture, the loss of culture’s traditional connection with the cosmological idea and the replacement of that idea with the anthropological one. The essay demonstrates the continuity of the above-mentioned authors' views and the reflection of a unified thinking strategy in the philosophical works of the Enlightenment.

The late XVIII and the early XIX centuries were characterized by the spread of the term ‘‘Bildung’’. Its emergence meant a new understanding of culture not just as the ‘‘second nature’’, the totality of everything created by mankind, but above all as the process of ‘‘a human being's elevation to the human within humankind.’’ The creation of the scientific worldview and the human being's self-understanding as the subject of perception and creativity became qualitatively new phenomena of the era, which significantly influenced the process of the self-liberation of the human spirit. The author emphasizes the typological difference of the XVIII century from the XVII century in the context of general cultural orientations peculiar to the Late Modern Era: the idea of culture is henceforth associated not with the mind itself, but with the human ability to use all the achievements of the activity of human reason for humankind's benefit and the human being's manifestation as a free individual who is able to set any goals. The paper employs a systematic approach to identify the main semantic content and value orientation of culture.

The author's conclusions are of importance for understanding of the underlying foundations of the modern European and Russian cultures, for its self-knowledge.

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Pondopulo Gleb K

Doctor of Philosophy, Professor

S.A.Gerasimov Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK)
, 3, Wilhelm Pik street, 129226 Moscow, Russia

Author for correspondence.


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Copyright (c) 2018 Pondopulo G.K.

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