Creation and Creativity: A Conceptual and Contextual Study of Russian Philosophy

Project leader

Kåre Johan Mjør

Project period


Project description

This project accounts for the multifaceted meanings of one of the most important concepts in Russian philosophy: tvorchestvo, which in English can mean both “creation,” “creativity,” and “creative act.” In Russian philosophical writings of the late nineteenth and in particular the early twentieth century, the concept of tvorchestvo is key both to Russian philosophers’ thematic interest in the human being and to their meta-reflection on their own activity and self-assigned tasks in a context understood as different from the “West.” It was used across ideological borders for various purposes, ranging from the promotion of a secular, “European” philosophy, to the endorsement of a religious Orthodox one as the only proper philosophy for Russia.

The project analyses the uses and meanings of the concept of tvorchestvo in both Russian religious idealism and Russian (secular) neo-Kantianism and phenomenology. By investigating a concept that was used by very different thinkers for conflicting purposes, it will make a critical contribution to our understanding of identity formation and nationalism as such processes appear in philosophical texts. The project is therefore also of great relevance to the contemporary world, where philosophy, especially outside the West, is widely used for identity-related purposes. Since tvorchestvo in the early twentieth century involved also the question of Russia’s civilisational orientation, furthermore, the project aims to clarify the concept(s) of modernity in relation to Russia, as well as the significance of the East-European context to secularisation processes. Finally, the project will develop a multidisciplinary combination of conceptual history and contextual method on the one hand with theories on secularism, modernity and nationalism on the other, paving thereby the way for a more historical and situational approach to Russian philosophy itself, as well as to the complex relationship of Russia to Europe.


Swedish Research Council