By S.L. Frank
“As a volume, Man’s Soul (Dusha cheloveka) is a valuable work from several points of view. First and foremost, it is important precisely as a work in philosophy…[The translator] is to be congratulated for a very readable work, which is still scrupulously faithful to Frank as a philosopher and author.”
Symposium, A Journal of Russian Thought
"Seymon Lyudvigovich Frank, the author of the volume here made available for the first time in English translation, was one of the leading Russian philosophers of this century; some authorities consider him the most outstanding Russian philosopher of any age. ...
"Man's Soul is a book which perfectly exemplifies the generous conception of the mission and competence of philosophy characteristic of Frank and the other members of the Russian metaphysical movement. Frank's stated aim in the treatise is to reclaim for philosophy a field of investigation which, from the time of Plato and Aristotle to that of the Russian Idealists, philosophers had viewed as properly theirs, but which, since the mid-nineteenth century, they had allowed to fall into almost complete neglect: the study of the nature of the human soul (or psyche). ...
"The moral message of Man's Soul is well summed up by its epigraph, quoted from St. Augustine: 'Let man first of all return to his own self, so that once he has, as it were, stepped therein, he may rise from thence and be elevated to God.'"
-- from the foreword by Philip J. Swoboda
S.L. Frank (1877–1950) was a leading figure in the fascinating flowering of Russian philosophical thought that spanned roughly the first five decades of this century. Frank was expelled from Russia in 1922 and worked in European exile until his death in London. His most important works are The Object of Knowledge (1915), an examination of the limits of abstract knowledge; The Soul of Man (1917), a work of philosophical psychology; The Foundations of Social Being (1930), a work of social philosophy; The Unknowable (1939); The Light Shineth in Darkness (1949), an exploration of the nature of evil in the world; and Reality and Man (published posthumously in 1956), a metaphysics of human being.
—From the translator’s preface More info →
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The Unknowable is Frank’s most mature work and possibly the greatest work of Russian philosophy of the 20th century. It is a work in which epistemology, ontology, and religious philosophy are intertwined: the soul transcends outward to knowledge of other souls and thereby gains knowledge of itself, becomes itself for the first time; and the soul transcends inward to gain knowledge of God and acquires stable, certain being for the first time in this knowledge of God.