History of ideas
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Formation and development of Latvian professional philosophical thought, the contiguity of national identity with intellectual tradition, history of ideas in Latvia

History of ideas research in Latvia is a fairly recent phenomenon, actually its „pure” implementation can be associated with the year of 1995 and the appearance of History of Ideas in Latvia (from the very beginning till the 90ies of the XIX century). Anthology (607 pp.) prepared for publication by a group of the FSI researchers. It is a fundamental publication that originated systematic research of ideas in Latvia employing a philosophical approach. Two more books on the history of ideas in Latvia appear in 2005 and 2006 concerning the period since the New Current till the 20ies of the XX century. The publication of the books received wide-spread critical acclaim both in numerous Latvian scholarly and cultural editions as well as abroad (the first book – in the Institute of Slavonic studies in London). At present the work goes on assessing the following period of ideas, the principal idea being – formation of intellectual identity in Latvia from the 1920s to the 1940s. Although this stage of research is a continuation of the previous one, it is at the same time a new beginning for the situation and the context for the formation of new ideas is quite different. The expected significance of the results is in the first place connected with the formation of a panorama of tendencies in idea formation and search for intellectual identity in the above-mentioned period of time. From the point of view of comprehensiveness, novelty and systematic character the kind of research is unique. The research will result in the assimilation of archive materials and manuscripts. The research output will be available for writing masters’ and bachelors’ papers in philosophy, philology, history, etc., and also as study material at schools and higher educational establishments, that has proved to be the case with the three books already published.

Most essential is the work at editing series of books Philosophical Library: Letonica. Material is being prepared for publishing works on the most prominent Latvian thinkers. The works already published are about Pēteris Zālīte (the first Latvian philosopher who returned to Latvia after academic studies in Western Europe with a much freer, westernized way of thinking), Teodors Celms (phenomenologist known also outside Latvia, brilliantly representing Latvian intellectuals in the realm of European philosophical thought), Kārlis Zariņš and Alberts Freijs. In preparation are works on Pauls Jurevičs, Pauls Dāle, Nikolajs Hartmanis, Johans Georgs Hāmanis, Staņislavs Ladusāns, Latvian philosophers in exile and other thinkers whose contribution to the formation and development of Latvian professional philosophical thought was essential.

Significant is the multimedial project in the DVD format worked out by the LU FSI young researchers Latvian Philosopher – a Virtual Model. The summarized information is available audially and visually, it is of help in better understanding the content of the work and getting quicker access to the themes one is interested in. At the start of the work it was clear that we needed a format that could offer in compatibility with the times most many-sided information on the question of interest and still retain the wholeness of the work. While the task of the first disc was to actualize the philosophical discourse of the first Latvian sovereign state and the importance of the themes at present, the second disc being prepared now will be devoted to the Soviet period. 

At present the LU FSI is taking part in the project Virtual Encyclopedia of the Humanities: personalia, sources, terms that is the largest part of the project together with the LU humanitarian institutes and faculties. The digital encyclopedia of the humanities is to contain entries on personalia, sources, terms on the basis of Latvian literature, history, linguistics, philosophy, theology, art. The LU FSI is responsible for the preparation of entries on the subjects of philosophy, religious philosophy, history of ideas, history of intellectual thought. The work is to be finished and published by 2013.

 

Added: 21.11.2012     Last changes: 08.01.2013