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Russian Phenomenology, or The Interrupted Flight



In this article the author notes that Russian phenomenology has a long history that has contributed to European progress in philosophy. He presents the main ideas of Gustav Shpet, a well-known Russian thinker and original follower of Husserl. The heart of Shpet's positive philosophy is a special, skeptical state of mind—hermeneutic phenomenology. This positive philosophy, with its synthesis of hermeneutics and phenomenology, opposes Kant's negative, relativistic thought. In his work, Shpet focuses on the concept of a text. A text's meaning is objective and grasped via the nonpsychological methods of hermeneutics. Language largely determines the development of the human spiritual world, and so the problematics of language merge with the problematics of consciousness. Because texts are human products that express the influence of linguistic consciousness, our understanding of texts should be based on the analysis of language consciousness. Shpet characterizes the whole culture as a sign-symbolical, objectified expression of the human spirit.