Sergei Nikolaevich Trubetskoy
- For other people named Trubetskoy, see: Trubetskoy
Prince Sergei Nikolaevich Trubetskoy (1862–1905) was a Russian religious philosopher. He was the son of Prince Nikolai Petrovitch Trubetskoy, co-founder of the Moscow Conservatory, and Sophia Alekseievna Lopouchina. His mother was a big influence on his religious thought. He and his brother, Evgenii Nikolaevitch Troubetzkoy (1863-1920), continued Vladimir Solovyov's work on developing a modern Christian philosophy of the world. He was a Professor of Philosophy at Moscow University.
As a teenager S. N. Trubetskoy was an adherent of the British Positivists, Herbert Spencer and John Stuart Mill. Later he became disappointed with both and turned to Schopenhauer. Study of his philosophy led Trubetskoy to a conclusion that Schopenhauer's pessimism was the result of denial of God. Trubetskoy himself described this dilemma the following way: "Either God exists or life is not worth living". He became an Orthodox Christian, and also an adherent of the Slavophiles: his beliefs at that time were influenced by the writings of Aleksey Khomyakov.
In 1885 Trubetskoy graduated from Moscow University; but he continued to work there until his death, lecturing in philosophy.
Sergey Trubetskoy was one of several philosophers who complained that there in practice was no real autocracy, as all the entanglement of government agencies made it unsure where the power truly lay; in 1900 he wrote: 'There is an autocracy of policemen and land captains, of governors department heads, and ministers, but a unitary Tsarist autocracy, in the proper sense of the word, does not and cannot exist'.
In 1904 the Professor of Philosophy at Moscow University wrote of the conflict with Japan, contending that Russia was defending the entire European civilisation from 'the yellow danger, the new hordes of Mongols armed with modern technology', being one of many Russian academics seeing the conflict as a 'crusade', a war between civilisation and barbarism; it led an 'educated liberal' to see the conflict as one against the hordes of Asia.
S. N. Trubetskoy's brother, Evgenii Nikolaevitch (1863-1920), was also a philosopher and a Professor at Moscow University, who largely shared S. N. Trubetskoy's beliefs. Evgenii Trubetskoy died of typhus in the Crimea while he was trying to emigrate.
Works and beliefs
Working in the same field as Solovyov, Trubetskoy sought to establish a philosophic foundation for an Orthodox Christian worldview, which would be equally rooted in faith and reason. In 1890 he defended his Master's thesis, "Metaphysics in Ancient Greece", in which he argued that the Holy Scripture and Christian theology largely stemmed directly from the idealistic philosophy of ancient Greece.
The religious beliefs of Trubetskoy are sometimes identified as Christocentrism, wherein the Church serves as a continuation of the Incarnation of Christ to convey divine precepts to society. These views are set forth in Trubetskoy's work, The Teaching on Logos. Trubetskoy believed that the personality of Jesus Christ, which united the human and divine wills, is crucial for understanding of all aspects and dimensions of Christianity. He viewed Christian teaching not solely as a set of ethical norms but as a system of truth which can be perceived and understood exclusively through special revelation (see fideism). His viewpoint differed both from the official doctrine of the Orthodox Church and from the beliefs of liberal intellectuals, who reduced the Christian faith to an egalitarian ethic.
- Figes, p. 168
- Figes, p. 38
- Figes, p. 169
- Trubetzkoy, N. S. , trans. Christiane A. M. Baltaxe. 1969. Appendix III: Autobiographical notes on N. S. Trubetzkoy as related by Roman Jakobson, in Principles of Phonology. Los Angeles: The Center for Research in Languages and Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles, p. 309.
- Figes, Orlando (2014). A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891–1924. London: The Bodley Head. ISBN 9781847922915.
- Trubetskoy, Sergei Nikolaevich (1906-1908) (in Russian). History of Ancient Philosophy (История древней философии) at Runivers.ru. In DjVu format
- Trubetskoy, Sergei Nikolaevich (1906-1912) (in Russian). Collected Works of Prince Sergei Nikolaevich Trubetskoy (Собрание сочинений Князя Сергея Николаевича Трубецкого) at Runivers.ru. In DjVu format
- Trubetskoy, Sergei Nikolaevich (1890) (in Russian). Metaphysics in Ancient Greece (Метафизика в Древней Греции) at Runivers.ru. In DjVu format
- Trubetskoy, Sergei Nikolaevich (1900) (in Russian) The doctrine of the Logos in its history (Учение о Логосе в его истории) at Runivers.ru. In DjVu format
- N. O. Lossky, 'Princes S. N. And E. N. Trubetskoy', in N. O. Lossky, History Of Russian Philosophy (1952), p. 150-157.