After passing through atheism, nihilism, and sundry visions of life offered by Continental philosophy, Vladimir Solovyov emerged from adolescence 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 active presence of God's goodness in the world.
According to Solovyov, ethical behavior springs internally from three moral sentiments: shame, pity, and reverence. This transcendent law, written on the heart of each person, both reveals the connection between creation and Creator and acts as a guide for ethical conduct. For Solovyov, human life is a labor to attain the Good -- in the cultural, political, and religious forms of society -- a labor that ultimately leads to the kingdom of God and the divinization of humanity.
In the first part of the book Solovyov explores these inner moral virtues, weaving his moral philosophy with threads drawn from Orthodox theology, particularly Chalcedonian Christology, and references to the divine Sophia. In the second part of the book Solovyov discusses the practical implications of his argument, showing how Christianity ought to express itself both privately and publicly. His discussions range broadly over marriage, property, government, political economy (including capitalism), culture, and other areas of life, and each displays penetrating insight.
This edition of The Justification of the Good reproduces the English edition of 1918 and is the only new publication of Solovyov's work since that date. The text was scrupulously edited by Boris Jakim, who has also provides explanatory footnotes as well as a bibliography of Solovyov's major philosophical and religious works.