“If There is God, Everything is Lawful” (Dostoevsky’s Central Meta-theme in Contemporary European Psychoanalytic Philosophy)

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A well-known Ivan Karamazov’s saying “If there is no God, averything is law-ful” in reality signifies the central meta-theme of many Dostoevsky’s works. It was plenty of times reinterpreted by Western philosophers and writers. The most recent versions of this saying take place in the contemporary psychoanalytic and Freudo-Marxist philosophy. E.g. Jacques Lacan thought that “if there is no God, nothing is lawful”, and Slavoy Žižek attributed to Dostoevsky himself a conviction: “If there is a God, everything is lawful”. The article shows which versions of this saying are present in Dostoevsky’s novel “Brothers Karamazov” and in his short story “Bobok”, which meaning this meta-theme has in the whole structure of these literary works, and which of them express the author’s own position. The bright reinterpretations of Dostoevskу’s central meta-theme by some representatives of contemporary European psychoanalytic philosophy are explained in the article by their own characteristics and by the specificity of its usage in modern culture. They are regarded as the obvious transformations of Dostoevsky works’ meta-theme which, nevertheless, contribute to understanding the modernity.

Original languageRussian
Pages (from-to)87-97
Number of pages11
JournalVoprosy Filosofii
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2019

Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


  • Contemporary
  • Creative
  • Dostoevsky
  • European
  • God
  • Lacan
  • Meta-theme
  • Novel
  • Philosophy
  • Psychoanalitic
  • Reinterpretation
  • Russian
  • Transformation
  • Žižek

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