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 Nikolai Berdyaev

Russian religious and political philosopher, a representative of existentialism.


Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev was born into a noble family in Kiev. He studied in a cadet corps, but then left it and entered the natural faculty of Kiev university. In 1901 his first philosophical book was published. Under the Soviet power the philosopher was taken prisoner two times. In 1922 he was deported from Russia to Germany together with other representatives of Russian intelligentsia.

Till 1924 he lived in Berlin, then in Klamara near Paris. Nikolai Berdyaev died on March 24, 1948 not far from Paris.

One of the key notions in Nikolai Berdyaev’s philosophy is the category of freedom. Freedom, in his opinion, was not created by God. Following the German philosopher mystic Jakob Bohme (17th century) Berdyaev considers that its source is primary chaos, nothingness. Therefore God has no power over freedom, dominating only over the created world, existence. Accepting the principle of theodicy, Berdyaev states that God is consequently not responsible for the evil in the world, since God cannot expect actions of people having free will and only promotes the free will to become good.

Tags: Russian Writers Russian Philosophers Nikolai Berdyaev   

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