Russian Thinkers Themes

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Monism vs. Pluralism

The most important theme in all these essays is the one explicitly addressed in Berlin's celebrated essay, "The Hedgehog and the Fox." The theme there is the tension between "monism" - the desire to explain everything according to one vision or doctrine, such as Marxism - and "pluralism," the ability to see life in its multiplicity without reducing it to a single explanation or cause. This tension assumes one form in political discourse, between doctrinaire political theorists and those who struggle for progress and equality without placing their hopes on any one Utopian scheme. In art, the tension assumes a different form, with those, such as Tolstoy and Turgenev, able to appreciate human experience in all its complexity clearly emerging as superior artists to the writers of didactic novels, such as Chernyshevsky and even Herzen (in his novels). In her Introduction, Aileen Douglas affirms that this...

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This section contains 883 words
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