Though Solovyov once confessed in a letter ''his inability to write a system of ethics in abstraction from theological commitments,'' The Justification of the Good
is very nearly such a system. One of Solovyov's latest and most mature works, this extensive essay on moral philosophy was undertaken between 1894-97 and completed just three years before Solovyov's death in 1900. In keeping with his prodigious writings on the nature of Sophia, Solovyov believed that any ethics worthy of Christian culture ought to be total in nature, serving the entire cosmos through human action and thereby revealing the Glory of God. Rather than beginning with explicitly theological claims, Solovyov grounds his argument in a set of primary moral feelings: shame, pity, and reverence. He reasons that the very presence of these moral sentiments proves the existence of a transcendent law (the Good) that does not accommodate itself to need, evolution, or survival. Furthermore, all paths we may take to elude the claim of the Good upon us invariably lead to disorder and confusion. But though this Good governs us, Solovyov advances that it can only be justified from our consciousness of it. Mere submission to authority--the worst kind of voluntarism in Solovyov's mind--will not do. The Good is an ethic of reason, and only through an understanding of its internal order can we authentically respond to its authority.
An Eighth Day View:
After passing through deism, pantheism, and sundry atheistic visions of life, Vladimir Solovyov emerged as a Christian thinker of irrepressible conviction and uncommon genius. The Justification of the Good, one of Solovyov's last and most mature works, presents a profound argument for human morality based on the world's longing for and participation in God's goodness. In the first part of the book Solovyov explores humanity's inner virtues and their full reality in Christ, weaving his moral philosophy with threads drawn from Orthodox theology. In the second part Solovyov discusses the practical implications of Christian goodness for such areas as nationalism, war, economics, legal justice, and family. This edition of The Justification of the Good reproduces the English edition of 1918 and is the only new publication of this work since that date. The book includes explanatory footnotes by esteemed scholar Boris Jakim and a bibliography, compiled by Jakim, of Solovyov's major philosophical and religious works.