Keywords: Ivan Goncharov, Vladimir Solovyov, Camille Flammarion, astronomy, philosophy of science, positivism, religion, trilogy.
For citation:

Melnik, V. I. “Ivan Goncharov and the Philosophy of Science of His Time (Issue of Science and Religion).” Dva veka russkoi klassiki, vol. 3, no. 1, 2021, pp. 134–159. (In Russ.)

Author: Vladimir I. Melnik
Information about the author:

Vladimir I. Melnik, DSc in Philology, Professor, Pererva Theological Seminary, Shosseynaya st., 82 g, 109383 Moscow, Russia.


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Received: November 15, 2020
Approved after reviewing: January 17, 2021
Published: March 22, 2021
Issue: 2021 Volume 3 No. 1
Department: Russian Literature XVIII and XIX Centuries
Pages: 134-159
UDK: 821.161.1.0

Abstract: During the period of rapid development of science and technology among the main representatives of Russian classical literature, only Alexander Herzen and Ivan Goncharov experienced a deep and substantive interest in the philosophy of science. For the author of “The Precipice,” this interest was associated with the main issue around which the dominant problematics of his work is concentrated: this is the question of the compatibility of scientific thinking and traditional faith. This work examines mainly one aspect of the topic: the writer's interest in natural science and, above all, in astronomy. Darwinism, with its thesis on the origin of man from ape, and astronomical discoveries that activated thoughts about life on other planets, gave rise to doubts in the mass consciousness about the established religious picture of the world. Goncharov defined his attitude to these changes long before the outbreak of the crisis of religious consciousness in the 1860s. As a conservative and deeply religious person, he took scientific progress seriously, not opposing it to religion and considering it an instrument of God's Providence for humanity. The crisis of religious consciousness in Russian society of the 19th century is regarded as the main subject of Goncharov's artistic research, which binds “A Common Story,” “Oblomov” and “The Precipice” into a trilogy.


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