The Ontology of Symbolic Reality in the Philosophy of F.T. Mikhailov



This paper addresses one of the main topics of the works of the famous Russian philosopher F.T. Mikhailov aimed at overcoming the oversimplified conception of the relation between the biological and the social origins of human being, in the context of the methodological problems in the social sciences that have characteristic representations of the transcendence of society over individual. It is shown that the solution proposed by the philosopher was related to the revision of the dominant notions about the ground of the subject-subject unity and the ontology of the symbolic objects that provide this unity. In particular, the disintegration of the ‘activity approach’ in psychology into the concepts of A.N. Leontyev and S.L. Rubinstein, that are called by Mikhailov ‘antinomical’, is associated with the limited reliance on the methodological traditions of Spinozism, in which there was no idea about the reflexive type of subject-subject relation as opposed to the methodology of "late Fichte", with his characteristic position on the initial identity based on multiple selves. It is argued that the most adequate categories for description of the ontological connections between the ideal content and the material form in symbolic objects that provide such an identity can be found in Hegel's aesthetic works.

General Information

Keywords: self-consciousness, symbol, Spinoza, Fichte, Hegel, Vygotsky, Mikhailov, methodology, ontology, substance, aesthetic, social

Journal rubric: Memorable Dates


For citation: Sorvin K.V., Mert A. The Ontology of Symbolic Reality in the Philosophy of F.T. Mikhailov. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2021. Vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 28–36. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2021170105. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Kirill V. Sorvin, PhD in Philosophy, Associate Professor, Department of General Sociology, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Ahmet Mert, PhD Student in Sociology, Lecturer, Department for Social Institutions Analysis, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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