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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 17, 2001

Communication, Conflict, and Reconciliation

Juris Rozenvalds
Pages 275-285

The Role of Intellectuals in the Reconciliation Processes in Post-Communist Latvia

The role of intellectuals in the reconciliation between Latvians and Russians in postcommunist Latvia is analysed in the context of the traditional philosophical problem of the social role of philosophers and based on the ideas of Plato, Kant and Foucault. In accordance with Kant's understanding of the political role of philosophers, the main political functions of the intellectuals a repointed out. Despite the important role played by Latvian intellectuals in the so-called "singing revolution," they did not fullill their critical potential in opposition to the mass consciousness after the renewal of independence. Nowadays the establishment of dialogue between Latvian and Russian communities, based on mutual understanding and respect for otherness, is a crucial presupposition for the long-term stability of Latvian society. Whether this dialogue arises is to a great extent a question of moral choice made by intellectuals from both sides.

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