Hryhorii Skovoroda: founding father of Ukrainian philosophy

Hryhorii Skovoroda is a major figure in Ukrainian philosophy whose impact on the country’s culture and identity cannot be overestimated. He was also a theologian, poet, teacher, and and composer of liturgical music, whose way of life was universally regarded as Socratic and who himself was often called a “Socrates”.

Not only did Skovoroda impact Ukrainian philosophical thought – he gave intellectual impulses for what later took shape in Freud’s psychoanalysis and in Jung’s analytical psychology, Doctor of Philosophy Ihor Derzhko claims. He argues that plenty of the 20th century authors, who tried to cognize our Self, relied on Hryhorii Skovoroda’s ideas, which he expressed back in the 18th century.

Skovoroda’s ideas are still relevant and universal now, for instance, his teaching of “personalized nature” suggesting every person has an intrinsic, unique nature or asset that one has to find within themselves. 300 years since Skovoroda’s birthday, UCMC talks to key Ukrainian philosophers of nowadays to look back on such a remarkable thinker and how he can help the modern people to navigate this world.

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