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Swiss Embassy Hosts Book Presentation of Frank–Binswanger Correspondence

On May 17, 2023, there was a presentation of a volume of correspondence between Semyon Frank and Ludwig Binswanger [ru], prepared for publication by members of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of STOU, at the residence of the Swiss Ambassador in Moscow.

The evening was devoted both to the book and to the personalities of Franck and Binswanger, with attention also being paid to the historical and philosophical context in which the two thinkers communicated.

On behalf of the host country, Stefan Klötzli, the Swiss Deputy Ambassador to Russia, welcomed the participants, who noted the key moments in the history of scientific and academic cooperation between Switzerland and Russia and emphasized the long-standing cooperation between STOU and the universities of Fribourg and Geneva and, in general, STOU’s participation in academic exchanges with Swiss colleagues and in projects of the Swiss Embassy, and expressed the hope that the book presented will help open new pages of our common history.

Archpriest Konstantin O. Polskov, STOU Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs, emphasized that the present presentation was part of the overall cause of preserving and disseminating philosophical and cultural heritage that STOU has been serving for more than 30 years, and he thanked his Swiss colleagues for their fruitful cooperation.

Prof. Konstantin M. Antonov, Head of STOU’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, spoke about the background to the book and the project that led to the publication of the correspondence, and presented the structure of the publication and its main topics and subjects, which allow us to trace how important communication with Binswanger was for Frank in the creative and personal sense and how strong the influence of the thinkers on each other was.

STOU Assistant Professor T. N. Rezvykh, a key editor of the text and the author of the comments and the preface to the edition, continued the logic of Prof. Antonov’s presentation and presented the history of the influence of Franck’s ideas on Binswanger when the latter was writing his “Grundformen und Erkenntnis menschlichen Daseins”, in particular, in the context of understanding Heidegger’s philosophy. In conclusion, Tatiana Nikolaevna showed the participants of the event a copy of Franck’s will in which Binswanger is mentioned (which once again testifies to the importance and significance in Franck’s life of his Swiss friend and correspondent).

Aleksei P. Kozyrev, Acting Dean of the Philosophy Faculty of Moscow State University, recalled the long-standing Russian–Swiss cooperation in philosophy (about the philosophers of the University of Geneva and Fribourg) and spoke about cooperation with Swiss colleagues in publishing Father Sergius Bulgakov’s works abroad. Dean Kozyrev emphasized the importance of publishing the correspondence of Franck and Binswanger and the demand for it among contemporary academic philosophers.

S. A. Konacheva, Dean of the Philosophy Faculty of the Russian State University of Humanities, touched upon the reception of German philosophy by Binswanger and Franck, and first of all, the reception of Heidegger by both thinkers. She outlined the context of Binswanger’s thought development through the influence on the concept of Dasein analysis by Heidegger and Franck, and Binswanger’s reinterpretation of Heidegger, which was largely influenced by Franck.

V. P. Vizgin, Lead Researcher in the Modern Western Philosophy Department at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, shared his thoughts on similarities and differences between Swiss and Russian philosophical thought.

Alexander Mikhailovskii, Associate Professor at the School of Philosophy and Cultural Studies of the Faculty of Humanities of the Higher School of Economics, drew the audience’s attention to the fact that this correspondence is especially valuable for historians of philosophy and represents “an outstanding example of deep communication between two philosophers”. In particular, Prof. Mikhailovskii highlighted the key aspects of the correspondence devoted to the problems of ontology and the transcendent, and noted the versatility of the key concept of ontology in the correspondence between Franck and Binswanger.

The presentation was attended by Y. P. Zinchenko, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology, Moscow State University; A. A. Krotov, Head of the Department of History and Theory of World Culture, Faculty of Philosophy, Moscow State University; A. A. Kostikova, Head of the Department of Language and the Philosophy of Communication, Faculty of Philosophy, Moscow State University; P. V. Rezvykh, Head of Curriculum  for the course “Germanica: History and Modernity”, Faculty of Humanities, Higher School of Economics; Tiziana Gualtieri, Head of STOU’s International Projects Department; Dariia A. Chentsova, Senior Instructor at STOU’s Department of Religious Studies; and other faculty members of institutes of philosophy in Moscow, as well as undergraduate and graduate students in Religious Aspects of 19th–early 20th Century Russian Culture from Moscow State University, the Russian State University for the Humanities, and the Higher School of Economics.

The correspondence between Frank and Binswanger was prepared for publication by members of the research group “The Creative Biography of S. L. Frank: A New Vision”, with financial support from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research for the project “Philosophical Dialogue between Russia and Europe in the Epistolary Heritage of S. L. Frank and L. Binswanger: Research, Translation, Publication”, and was published by STOU Press in 2022.