Audacity of the Spirit by A.F. Losev (1893-1988) dares us to think holistically, dialectically. Translated from the Russian original Дерзание духа (Politizdat Moskva, 1988) by Peter R. Weisensel and Vitali I. Betaneli, the book falls into three parts: the dialectical method; Losev’s application of dialectics to history and culture; and his personal reflections on studying philosophy. Losev’s insatiable intellectual curiosity probes a remarkable variety of areas. Positions he considers, though, are not always easily reconcilable, as with Marxism-Leninism and Orthodox Christianity. In Losev’s conception of culture, however, culture and the intrinsic unity of any given cultural order is the common element that underlies everything living, even the order’s incompatibles. The given culture cannot be reduced to any single position nor to all of them taken together. Audacity of the Spirit is an introduction to dialectics for beginners, but it is also a major philosopher’s summing-up of his reflections to a non-specialized audience.
Vitali I. Betaneli, Ph.D. (1977), from the USSR Academy of Sciences, is a retired senior research chemist and educator. He is co-author of three patents, 39 papers, one book, and is the translator and editor of two monographs from English to Russian.
Peter R. Weisensel, Ph.D. (1973) is an emeritus professor of European history, Macalester College (Minnesota, USA). He has published monographs and articles on imperial Russia, and has translated two other books on Russian history from Russian to English.
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