Nicolas Berdyaev and Russian Philosophy in the West
Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, Poland, June 12–14, 2024
2024 will mark the 150th year since Nicolas Berdyaev’s birth. On 12–14 June 2024 the Krakow Meetings on Russian Philosophy and the Northwestern University Research Initiative for the Study of Russian Philosophy and Religious Thought will sponsor a conference commemorating Berdyaev and assessing his philosophical legacy in Russia and the West. The conference will be held at the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, Poland.
Among the most influential of Russian philosophers, Berdyaev had an exceptional role in promoting the development of Russian philosophy, both in Russia and in the West after his exile in 1922. In Russia, having travelled the path “from Marxism to idealism,” he became one of the main organizers of the Russian religious renaissance. In 1916, he published The Meaning of the Creative Act, which he regarded as his most important work. In European exile, he led the “Paris school” of Russian émigré religious thought and edited its journal, The Way (1925–1940). His international fame spread with a whole series of books, beginning with The New Middle Ages (1924). Subsequent works, such as The Destiny of Man (1931) and Slavery and Freedom (1939), established Berdyaev as a leading European philosopher of Christian existentialism and personalism. In works like The Origin of Russian Communism (1937) and The Russian Idea (1946), he deepened Western understanding of Russian culture and intellectual history. Through his friendship with Jacques Maritain, he played a part in the twentieth-century history of human rights.
This conference will explore Berdyaev’s multifaceted importance as one of the major philosophical thinkers of the twentieth century. Papers are invited on all aspects of his work and legacy.