Volume 18, Issue 1, 2018
Faith, Science and the Question of Death
Retrieving the Philosophical Vision of Nikolai F. Fyodorov
In this study I critically discuss the religious philosophy of Nikolai F. Fyodorov. Beforehand I will offer a synoptic overview of its key components. The thought of Fyodorov may serve as a model for case study work in regard to two crucial questions: (1) What is the relation between the past and the future? and (2) What is the relation between faith and science? These questions receive their spiritual, theological and philosophical answers through Fyodorov’s reflection on the (3) overcoming of death. In offering his answers Fyodorov taps into the innermost depths of Christian spirituality which is interpreted in ways which are not always ‘Orthodox’ in the conventional sense. On one hand he offers a vision which prophetically yet idiosyncratically anticipates the “resurrection of all by all” (viz. Philosophy of the Common Task): this in itself calls for a radical revision of humanity’s guiding ethical, political and cultural principles (viz. Supramoralism). On the other hand, he expounds visionary proposals for the role science has to play precisely within the project of resurrecting the deceased and restoring free conscious life to all being (viz. Regulation). Fyodorov is acclaimed as one of the pioneering anticipators of climatology, rocket and space astronautics, cryonics, genetic engineering, cloning and body re-design; also, he is endorsed as the forerunner of Russian cosmism and influencer of transhumanism. His thought is radical, maximalist and limital. As well, it is informed by the purity of a moral saintliness. Inasmuch his philosophical vision may help us re-examine our own understanding of the relation of the past to the future, as well as the relation of faith to science, and, to re-address the predicament of dying. For the same reason it allows us to metacritically examine the neuralgic points of Fyodorov’s proposals. Lastly, I strive to reflect the mentioned problematic within a historical perspective, hermeneutically, hoping to provide orientation points for further discussion.