Tolstoy, Lev (Leo) Nikolaevich (1828-1910) - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Philosophy of History

Tolstoy conceived War and Peace as a grand historical narrative embodying conclusions he had reached, partly under the influence of Schopenhauer, concerning causality in history and especially the interplay of freedom, chance, and necessity; the novel's two epilogues address these themes explicitly. It is in the nature of human consciousness, Tolstoy argued, to conceive of oneself and others as free agents whose actions may have a significant impact on the world—in the case of so-called great figures like Napoleon, a determining impact. Yet no individual is more than one node in a vast and unpredictable web of interacting forces, conscious and unconscious, contingent and necessary. Hence individuals cannot with any assurance foresee the effects of their own or others' actions (a point to which Tolstoy returned in his case against violence), and great men do not make history. He delights...

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This section contains 2,326 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Tolstoy, Lev (Leo) Nikolaevich (1828-1910) Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Tolstoy, Lev (Leo) Nikolaevich (1828-1910) from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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