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No study of Rand’s Objectivism would be complete without a consideration of the life and thought of N. O. Lossky, her philosophy professor at Petrograd University. The relationship between these two is of paramount historical importance because it was probably Lossky who introduced Rand to dialectical methods of analysis. It has been said that Rand read little philosophy in her mature years. But as a student at the university, she would have been required to study many philosophic texts in depth. It is very likely that at no time in her life did Rand read as much philosophy and literature as she did while being educated in Russia. Hence, one cannot discount Lossky’s impact: as Rand’s first philosophy teacher, he laid the basis for a highly integrated view of the philosophic disciplines. In his lectures, Lossky presented broad methodological tools with which to analyze the contributions of important thinkers in intellectual history. According to Rand, Lossky introduced her to the thought of Plato and Aristotle . Since Rand paid homage to Aristotle as her philosophical forefather, this first encounter with his work was of prime significance to her intellectual development. It is quite possible too that Rand’s interpretation of Aristotle may have taken root in Lossky’s. It is nearly impossible to establish with certainty that Rand actually studied Lossky’s writings. But Lossky’s conception of the history and method of philosophy—his intuitivist epistemology and organicist ontology— permeated his lectures and seminars. He was famous for teaching several Petrograd courses that explicitly reflected his antimaterialist and lossky, the teacher 39 40 ayn rand anti-Marxist orientation. And in the years before Rand entered the university , he published two of the most important works of his career, The Intuitive Basis of Knowledge and The World as an Organic Whole. It is very likely that she would have been presented with significant Losskyian themes within the context of the course she attended. an extraordinary life Nicholas Onufrievich Lossky was born in the village of Kreslavka in Vitebsk, a province west of Moscow, on 6 December 1870. He was educated at the classical gymnasium in Vitebsk, but was expelled for his socialistic and atheistic beliefs.1 Continuing his studies in Switzerland, Lossky returned to Russia in 1889 and entered St. Petersburg University two years later. Lossky graduated from the college of History and Philology and the college of ­ Natural Science. His mentor at the university was the distinguished­ Kantian philosopher, Aleksandr Ivanovich Vvedensky. It was through his interactions with Vvedensky that Lossky developed a passion for philosophy . Eventually, Lossky became privatdocent of philosophy and delved deeply into the thought of Vladimir Solovyov.2 In 1899, Lossky went abroad to study with Wundt, Muller, and Windelband . These three helped Lossky to prepare for a full-time professorship, while also influencing his emerging religious idealist perspective. Wilhelm Wundt, who occupied the Chair of Philosophy at Leipzig from 1875 to 1918, shared Lossky’s view of the world as a totality of individual agents. Wilhelm Windelband, who occupied the chairs of Philosophy at Zurich, Strasbourg, and Heidelberg, was a post-Hegelian, neo-Kantian thinker of the Baden school. It was from thinkers such as Windelband that Lossky further developed his mastery of philosophic integration. Rand’s protégé, Leonard Peikoff, reviewing Windelband’s classic History of Philosophy, praises its structure, coherence, and logic. Windelband was known for his uncanny ability to trace interrelationships between seemingly disconnected topics3 and must have marveled at his student, Nicholas Lossky, who was learning to do the same. Lossky received his master’s in 1903 and completed his doctorate in 1907 with a dissertation titled “The Foundations of Intuitivism” (Obosnovanie intuitivizma ), which was later published.4 During this period, Lossky contributed to several Russian journals, including Novaia zhizn’ in 1905, Poliarnaia zvezda in 1906, and Russkaia mysl’ in 1909 (Kline, 18 August 1993C). In that same year, 1909, many Russian intellectuals, including Berdyaev, Bulgakov, Gershenzon, Struve, and Frank, contributed to the publication lossky, the teacher  41 of a famous symposium, Vekhi (Signposts). As ex-Marxists, these thinkers warned prophetically of revolutionary excesses and proclaimed a manifesto for Russia’s spiritual reawakening. (Rosenthal and Bohachevsky-Chomiak 1990, 4, 22–23). Like several of his contemporaries, Lossky was moving toward a synthesis of neo-Idealism and religion. But Lossky also owed a debt to German scholarship and philosophy, which was reflected in his sustained efforts to bring German works to a Russian audience (Kline 1985, 265–66). He...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780271061214
Related ISBN
9780271062273
MARC Record
OCLC
860712160
Pages
496
Launched on MUSE
2013-11-04
Language
English
Open Access
No
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