Nikolai Debolskii

Debol’skii, Nikolai Grigor’evich


Born Nov. 16 (28), 1842, in St. Petersburg; died there Feb. 26, 1918. Russian idealist philosopher and the translator into Russian of Hegel’s Science of Logic (parts 1-2, 1916).

Debol’skii graduated from the Institute of Mining. From 1882 to 1887 he taught metaphysics, logic, and psychology at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. He was one of the founders of the Philosophical Society in St. Petersburg (1897). Debol’skii’s philosophy evolved in three stages. From materialist views he passed to positivism, later to Kantianism, and then to a system of objective-idealist philosophy created under the strong influence of Hegel. In his main work, Philosophy of Phenomenal Formalism (parts 1-2; 1892-95), Debol’skii, unlike Hegel, emphasizes the sharp distinction between the absolute spirit (which in Debol’skii’s philosophy takes on distinctly theistic overtones), to which the essence of being is accessible, and the limited mind of man, grasping only the formal aspect of the absolute spirit, that is, only phenomena. In this way Debol’skii combines Hegelianism with the Kantian dualism of things in themselves and the phenomenal world.


Filosofiia budushchego: Soobrazheniia o ee nachale, predmete, metode i sisteme. St. Petersburg, 1882.
O vysshem blage ili o verkhovnoi tseli nravstvennoi deiatel’ nosti. St. Petersburg, 1886.


Lange, N. N. “Filosofiia fenomenal’nogo formalizma N. G. Debol’skogo” (article 1). Zhurnal Ministerstva narodnogo prosveshcheniia, 1900, 7th decade, part 328, April.
Istoriia Filosofii v SSSR, vol. 3. Moscow, 1969.