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Russia's Path Toward EnlightenmentFaith, Politics, and Reason, 1500-1801$
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G. M. Hamburg

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300113136

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300113136.001.0001

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Law and Enlightenment: Ivan Tret’iakov and Semen Desnitskii

Law and Enlightenment: Ivan Tret’iakov and Semen Desnitskii

(p.566) 13 Law and Enlightenment: Ivan Tret’iakov and Semen Desnitskii
Russia's Path Toward Enlightenment

G. M. Hamburg

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the place of law in Russian Enlightenment thought by focusing on the views of Ivan Andreevich Tret’iakov (1735–1776) and Semen Efimovich Desnitskii. Outside of the government and the Church, the most important institutional venue for the propagation of Enlightenment ideas in Russia was probably Moscow University, where Tret’iakov and Desnitskii taught courses on Roman law, Russian law, and comparative jurisprudence. Tret’iakov and Desnitskii studied at Glasgow University from 1761 to 1767, listening to lectures from leading figures of the Scottish intellectual scene, including Adam Smith. This chapter considers the influence of William Blackstone, John Millar, and Adam Smith on Desnitskii. In particular, it discusses the ways that Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments, especially its exploration of moral philosophy and social psychology, impressed Desnitskii. It also looks at Desnitskii’s “Proposal on the Establishment of Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Authority in the Russian Empire” and “A Lecture on a Direct and Most Sensible Method of Studying Jurisprudence.”

Keywords:   law, Enlightenment, Ivan Andreevich Tret’iakov, Semen Efimovich Desnitskii, jurisprudence, Adam Smith, William Blackstone, John Millar, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, moral philosophy

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