Polemics between V.S. Solovyov and B.N. Chicherin on the essence of law and the relationship between law and morality

Authors: Kryuchkova S.E. Published: 25.04.2023
Published in issue: #2(100)/2023  
DOI: 10.18698/2306-8477-2023-2-833  
Category: The Humanities in Technical University | Chapter: Philosophy Science  
Keywords: law, morality, good, freedom, justice, state, coercion

The paper analyzes the famous polemics between the Russian religious philosopher V.S. Solovyov and the jurisprudence lawyer B.N. Chicherin on the deep essence of law, the principles underlying it and the relationship between law and morality. It substantiates that the approaches of understanding law of V.S. Solovyov, who interpreted law as a kind of ethical “minimum” keeping society from turning life into hell, were contradicting those of B.N. Chicherin, who proceeded from the ideal of a free individual person and proved the autonomous existence and multi-directionality of law and morality. However, both their approaches are having common counterpoints that are being revealed over time in the course of their positions reception by the modern researchers. When analyzing main arguments and counterarguments presented by the parties, ideological foundations and methodological guidelines of the polemics participants were highlighted. On the example of interpreting such key categories as morality, law, freedom and conscience, conditionality was demonstrated of the conceptual contradictions inherent with the polemics participants due to their affiliation to different worldview types. Critical reactions of contemporaries to this dispute to a certain extent correlate with its assessments by the present-day researchers dealing with the problems of ethics and philosophy of law. It was concluded that in the domestic ethical literature today prevails (albeit in the “softened” version) V.S. Solovyov’s assessment of morality as a higher instance in comparison with the law. As a modern productive strategy in resolving the issue of relationship between law and morality, the paper proposes to consider the mutual complementarity model focused on harmonization using legal norms of the common good idea, on the one hand, and observance of rights of the individual person, on the other.

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