Alexis de Tocqueville VS Astolphe de Custine:
Scientific Discovery or Trivial Aberration?

Gutorov V.A.,

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Professor, Head of Department of Theory and Philosophy of Politics, Faculty of Political Science, Saint Petersburg State University,

elibrary_id: 72442 | ORCID: 0000-0001-8063-2558 | RESEARCHER_ID: F-7724-2013

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2015.04.14

Rubric: Feedback

For citation:

Gutorov V.A. Alexis de Tocqueville VS Astolphe de Custine: Scientific Discovery or Trivial Aberration? – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No. 4. P. 170-175. (In Russ.).


The author of the retort critically analyses a new version of patriotic rhetoric, which is revolving around the conception of the “Russian idea” and based on quite arbitrary interpretation of the Alexis de Tocqueville’s philosophic heritage. A. Savoysky by opposing the Tocqueville’s political philosophy to various ‘vituperators of Russia’ of the kind of Astolphe de Custine tries in vain to persuade the Russian scientific community that both the reputation of the great French thinker is ‘rehabilitated’ and ‘all the Russian people’ is ‘delivered’ from the charge of its bent for slavery as a result of his own ‘reconstruction’ of the original meaning and ‘ideological orientation’ of the famous juxtaposition of the USA and the imperial Russia in the end of the first volume of the book “On the Democracy in America”. The author believes, on the contrary, the Savoysky’ s attempt to substitute the notion ‘servitude’ for the word ‘ministration’ in the corresponding passage of the book is at variance with both the philosophic sense of the dichotomy ‘liberty/slavery’ by which A. de Tocqueville characterizes the contradictions of the European political thought in the epoch of modern and the elementary linguistic and cultural norms of perception of the notion ‘servitude’ in French language and mentality.

Russia; Tocqueville; democracy; USA; rhetoric; patriotism; political philosophy; “Russian idea”; arbitrary interpretation; A. Savoysky.

Content No. 4, 2015

See also:

Linetsky A.I.,
Russian Idea by Alexander Yanov (Polemical Notes in the Margins of the Same Title Two-volume Monograph). – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No6

Kocherov O.S.,
А "Philosophy to Come" in International Relations: Fred Dallmayr's Apophatic Democracy. – Polis. Political Studies. 2020. No6

Lukin A.V.,
Chauvinism or chaos: Russia’s unpalatable choice. – Polis. Political Studies. 2014. No3

Malinova O.Yu.,
Rhetoric of Political Leaders as an Indicator of Significance of the Other: Comparative Analysis of References to the USA and PRC in the Context of Legitimization of Political Course of the Russian Presidents (2000-2015). – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No2

Savoysky A.G.,
USA and Russia: historical injustice from the times of Tocqueville. – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No1



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