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As the century-old nation of Ukraine had re­gained its independence in 1991, adopted a new Constitution in 1996, and presently builds its state and civil society in a terrestrially largest European 48, 5 million country, the Ukrainian science has faced new challenges. The county’s political, eco­nomic, legal systems have been re­formed according to the new realities and visions of the life. Thus, scholars have been called upon to make their contri­bution to the process. Nowa­days, as the sci­ence has become free of the state ideological control, it has embarked upon re­viewing and determining its con­temporary foun­dation. Most notably, this has re­sulted in Ukrainian scholars applying pluralistic methodol­ogy, reviving traditions, taking on new di­rections in their research. This is how the Ukrainian phi­losophy of law, an interdisciplinary domain of jurists and philosophers, has come to play its role of a fundamental discipline with the entrusted impor­tance it has yet to justify.

The philosophy of law is not a new area in the Ukrainian science. In the end of the 19th and early 20th century’s Tsarist Russia, it had evolved mani­festing scholar’s’ philosophical interest in funda­mentals of state and law. These activities were greatly influenced and inspired by the Ger­man clas­sical philosophy and, partly, by the na­tional tradi­tion dating back to the times of the Kyivan Rus and the great Ukrainian philosopher H. S. Skovoroda. Many prominent domestic ju­rists* of that time – in the pursuit of the profes­sional career and according to the established tra­dition – had gone to continue studying and re­searching law and philosophy abroad, chiefly in Germany, and upon their return ap­plied their en­riched expertise to the array of is­sues of that tur­bulent time.

The figure of B. O. Kistyakivsky (Th. Kistia­kowski) (1868-1920) stands out among them. This prominent Ukrainian jurist and philosopher had earned his doc­toral degree in philosophy in Berlin (1899) under the supervision and direction of G. Zimmel and W. Win­delband, and thereafter studied with G. Jellinek in Hei­delberg, made a considerable contribution to the field. Those law professors who had not come to study abroad were still influenced by the foreign philosophi­cal thought, as taught, al­most entirely, by German ju­rists invited to enlighten the domestic jurispru­dence of the time. In fact, they trained the first generation of educated Russian ju­rists. Some of these jurists and philosophers wrote their works in German (consider, for example, works of P. Yur-kevych (P. Jurkevyc’) and many of these works remain unknown or little known to the sci­entific community in Ukraine for they have not been found or translated from foreign languages. So, the tradition or spirit of internationalism in the fields of law and philosophy has always been pre­sent in Ukraine.

Before the 1917 “socialist revolution” in Rus­sia, philosophy of law was not only an area of private in­quiry for many prominent jurists, but also a sub­ject taught at many institutions. It re­mains unknown how the tradition of philosophy of law would de­velop in this part of the world if not for the turn of the history. As the “dictator­ship of the proletariat” had been installed in the new Soviet State, with the science of law and state being subordinated to the needs of that state’s ide­ology, philosophy of law served the interests of the positivistic Soviet theory of state and law. It was not that philosophy of law seized to exist but rather that its critical function was not effective objectively (with the exception of its inimical use against the so-called “bourgeois law” opposing “socialist law”). As a result, philoso­phy of law lost its status of an independent sub­ject of academic study and research in the USSR, although some of philosophical issues of law and state were traditionally studied in the filed of the theory of state and law.

Presently, as the “wind of change” blows in Ukraine, there is a great interest to philosophy of law among jurists and philosophers. With hun­dreds of them declared their interests in the field, many already made their contributions. Several textbooks were pub­lished, most notably those ed­ited by M. V. Kostytsky and B. F. Chmil, O. G. Danliyan and S. I. Maximov, P. D. Bilenchuk, V. A. Bachinin and M. I. Panov as well as mono­graphs by L. V. Pet­rova, V. V. Shkoda, A. A. Kozlovsky, S. I. Maxi­mov, S. S. Slyvka, K. K. Jole, V. I. Kuznetsov ap­peared, to name a few. A bit more than half a decade has lapsed since the philosophy of law was desig­nated as an inde­pendent (separate) field of speciali­zation in both legal and philosophical sciences. Un­der the es­tablished tradition, providing that those pursuing their degrees should defend their dis­sertations in specialized councils and then have those coun­cils’ decision approved by a special governmental body, as of September 2003 twenty researchers were awarded the so-called “candi­date of juridi­cal/philosophical studies” degrees (an equivalent of a Western Ph.D.) and independ­ent research or full doctorate (so-called “doctor of juridi­cal/philosophical studies”) degrees. These full doctors are L. V. Petrova, A. A. Kozlovsky, S. I. Maximov, S. S. Slyvka, and O. O. Bandura. It should be noted, however, that there is a number of specialists who have researched in philosophy of law and some related areas, currently working and pub­lishing their research on philosophy of law is­sues (P. M. Rabinovych, M. I. Koziubra, Y. M. Oborotov are among most recognized).

The contemporary Ukrainian philosophy of law is­sues relate to such already established do­mesti­cally sub-areas of the field as legal onthol­ogy, legal gnoseol­ogy (epistemology), legal axi­ology, and le­gal anthro­pology. They also deal with those issues in legal phe­nomenology and hermeneutics, legal ethics and logic, other areas as well as legal sociol­ogy that develops within this field. In general, the variety of philosophy of law issues mirror the con­temporary discourses in the field internationally.

Philosophy of law has regained its status of an aca­demic discipline. It is read at several institu­tions of higher legal education in Ukraine (e.g. the Y. Mudry National Law Academy, the Na­tional Acad­emy of Inte­rior of Ukraine, T. Shev-chenko Kyiv National Univer­sity, I. Franko Lviv National Uni­versity, Kyiv Univer­sity of Law, to name a few). The subject, either com­pulsory or optional, is pri­marily read to graduat­ing law students or those pur­suing their master degree.

March 15, 2003 became a historical date in the de­velopment of the Ukrainian philosophy of law for at least three reasons. First of all, that day saw a first spe­cialized “round table” entitled “Contempo­rary Philoso­phy of Law Issues”, or­ganized by the Ukrainian Na­tional Academy of Sciences’ Institute of State and Law and Institute of Philosophy, which brought together for a dis­cussion more than hundred domestic jurists and philoso­phers. It proved to be a successful event that gave an impetus to the devel­opment of the field in Ukraine. Sec­ondly, that day there was a presentation of the first vol­ume of the “Anthol­ogy of the Ukrainian Legal Thought”, edited by Y. S. Shemchuchenko, V. D. Babkin, and I. B. Usenko, including the works of eighteen native scholars of the 18th through early 20th century and dedicated to the issues on the encyclope­dia, phi­losophy and general the­ory of law. As noted by one of its compliers, Professor V. D. Babkin, the vol­ume is a sort of “memoirs of the future” for it will pro­mote the comprehension of unuti­lized ideas ex­pressed by the prominent Ukrainian ju­rists that were left unat­tended and are so worth­while in the pursuit of contem­porary research. Thirdly, it was that day when the idea of founding a philosophy of law jour­nal, expressed by Profes­sor A. A. Kozlovsky, found a universal approval by the members of the aca­demic community at­tending the “round table”, which is now realized with the pub­lication of this volume of the “Phi­losophy of Law Is­sues”.

The Journal “Philosophy of Law Issues” is coun­try’s first specialized periodic publication in the field. Its first volume primarily publishes theses submitted by the participants of the “round table” (therefore, they are short) as well as some relatively more extensive au­thor’s compositions. As publica­tions’ headings indi­cate, it presents an array of phi­losophy of law issues and thus invites a more exten­sive discourse in the field. The Journal, collegially represented by reverenced members of its editorial board and international edito­rial council, positions itself as an interna­tional journal in the field of phi­losophy of law, inviting and publish­ing composi­tions in six lan­guages (Ukrainian, Russian, English, German, French, and Spanish) in order to promote the in­ternational discourse in the philosophy of law, that know no borders. The recent formation of the Ukrainian Association of the Philosophy of Law and Legal Philosophy and its endorsement as a part of the IVR is another attestation of the said thesis.

In sum, the establishment of this Journal is an­other piece of evidence affirming the revival and further de­velopment of the philosophy of law in Ukraine, ex­tending its effect not only domesti­cally but also inter­nationally.

В. С. Бигун


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