In contemporary academia, Philosophy has a twofold status. On the one hand, it is a specific science which draws on intellectual and cultural history, logic, and personal experience and theorizes the world, both social and natural, as a reflexive totality. On the other hand, philosophy is the matrix from which all special sciences once emerged, and so it preserves the memory of their unity. Hence, philosophy acts a medium for interdisciplinary communication, within which the totalizing theory evolves in a close and respectful dialogue with theoretical frameworks developing within special sciences, as well as within public discourse.
Since their opening in 2014, philosophy programs of the European University at St Petersburg have been vibrant and popular with students. . Program faculty publish in international academic journals. In addition to their academic career, they are active across various spheres of intellectual and public life, bringing their work to public conversation. Established in 2020, the Centre for Practical Philosophy STASIS is distinctively oriented towards understanding problems globally, while taking into account the Russian intellectual tradition.
Since Kant, “practical philosophy” represents understanding of free human activity (praxis), which can be both descriptive and normative. Traditionally it includes social thought and political philosophy, and aligns with aesthetics. For any method of obtaining knowledge is practical, for Kant, practical reason is primary in relation to theoretical reason. This is why the Centre for Practical Philosophy STASIS is not limited to social theory and ethics but also embraces ontology, epistemology and philosophy of nature, with the emphasis on practice-based interpretations.
Above all, the Centre deals with contemporary and topical philosophy. In this regard, it is sensitive to the recent intellectual developments in the history of philosophy, as well as to the Russian context. Unlike other practice-based approaches across disciplines, the Centre does not deal with “applied” knowledge sensu stricto. It regards thought as autonomous in its unity of theory and praxis: rather than being guided by ready-made answers, or problems derived from instrumental practices, it aims to formulate a precise question instead. By the same token, the Centre’s research interests in ethics and political theory are not limited by normative questions and it does not further any normative judgements as an “ethical commission” of sorts. The Centre is focused on the philosophical research which involves immanent understanding of praxis as a free process.
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