Chaadayev, Piotr Yakovlevich
Chaadayev, Piotr Yakovlevich(pyô`tər yä`kəvlyĭvĭch chädä`yĕv), 1794–1856, Russian philosopher. An aristocrat by birth, he was converted to Roman Catholicism. In 1836 the first of his Philosophical Letters appeared in a Moscow journal. Its devastating attack on Russian institutions, such as autocracy, the church, and serfdom, created a sensation. Chaadayev was declared insane and was confined to his home. His vigorous writings helped clarify the basic differences between the Slavophiles and WesternizersSlavophiles and Westernizers,
designation for two groups of intellectuals in mid-19th-century Russia that represented opposing schools of thought concerning the nature of Russian civilization. The differences between them, however, were not always clear cut.
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See his major works, ed. by R. T. McNally (1969); study by R. T. McNally (1971).