Department of Philosophy

Since its establishment more than half a century ago, the Department of Philosophy at MGIMO has come a long way. The founding Head of the Department was Alexander Shishkin, an outstanding philosopher specializing in ethics, whose name the Department currently bears. Among its first members the Department counted Academician Yury Frantsov, who served also as MGIMO first Rector. Professor Shishkin was succeeded by the founder of Russian elitology Gennady Ashin, followed by Vitaly Volodin, famous for his studies in existentialist philosophy, first-hand knowledge of which he had acquired during his training in Paris under the guidance of Jean-Paul Sartre.

From the 1990s till 2010s under the leadership of Alexei Shestopal, a regional scholar recognized for his research in philosophy of Latin America, the Department significantly expanded the range of its courses. Many new disciplines, including Logic, Rhetoric, Russian Philosophy, Eastern Philosophy, Philosophy of Culture, Cultural Anthropology, History of Christianity, were introduced.

Currently the Department has three programs overarching teaching courses and individual research projects.

Philosophy of Culture and Cultural Studies. Having started as a research project supported by the UNESCO World Cultures’ program, investigations in this field have formed the basis for post-graduate programs in «Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture» and «Theory and History of Culture». Members of the Department together with graduate students investigate a wide range of topics suited for a culture-based approach.

Philosophical Anthropology. Initially administered by Sector for Anthropology and Psychology of the Department established in the mid-1990s, investigations in this field involve such topics as post-industrial societies, ethnic studies, media studies, film studies and other.

Philosophy of Science and Science Policy. Starting in the mid-2000s a group of the Department members have been exploring connections between value bases of knowledge and priority research topics relevant to science policy, as well as theory and practice of self-governance in the scientific community.

Over the years the Department’s research projects have been successful in securing steady support from such institutions as the Russian Science Foundation, the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, the program of Presidential grants in support of young scholars.

Since 2017 the Department has been headed by Professor Margarita Silantieva. The Department aims to find and maintain a balanced combination of tradition and innovation intended to provide the Department’s members and students with both a solid intellectual basis to ground their individual projects on and opportunities to develop new skills and acquire knowledge needed to meet challenges of new complex societies. As introduction of a wider range of English courses remains a priorityю Currently the Department offers Philosophy in English, read by Associate Professor Nikolai Biryukov.