AUA Public Events
19th-century Ottoman Armenian Philosophers
February 26 @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm +04
About the Event:
In the late 19th century, particularly during the 1870s and 1880s, Armenian intellectuals were deeply influenced by positivism, materialism, and evolutionism. Notably, positivist thought, predominantly originating in France, gained prominence among thinkers like Yeghia Demirdjibashian, Kalousd Gosdantian, and Krikor Mserian. This philosophical transformation emerged as a defense of scientific thinking and critique of metaphysics and religion. Gosdantian ardently championed positivist thinking with an atheist perspective in his 1878 Armenian work Մէթոտի Վրայ (On the Method). Similarly, the prominent writer
Demirdjibashian began publishing the periodical Գրական եւ Իմաստասիրական Շարժում (Literary and Philosophical Movement) in 1883, aiming to propagate positivism. During 1880-1881, Krikor Mserian’s journal Մէտէօրա (Meteora) featured translated positivist articles alongside literary and political content, significantly contributing to the dissemination of European scientific developments. In addition to these figures, Andon Madatya Karakashian contributed to the spread of Western philosophy among Armenians through philosophy textbooks.
Ottoman Armenian philosophers made significant contributions to the dissemination of positivist thought and Western philosophy in the Ottoman Empire. Despite their crucial role in Ottoman intellectual history, nationalist historiography in Turkey overlooks their works, as they were not published in Ottoman Turkish, thus excluding their contributions from studies in intellectual history.
About the Speaker:
Can Erzurumluoglu was born in Istanbul in 1980. In 2001, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the Mathematics Department of Mimar Sinan University and worked as a mathematics teacher for a while. In 2017, he obtained a master’s degree from the Philosophy Department of Galatasaray University, with a thesis titled “Une comparaison critique de la conception de l`espace chez Leibniz et chez Kant” (A Critical Comparison of the Conception of Space in Leibniz and Kant). He is currently engaged in doctoral studies in the History Department at Caen University, researching Armenian positivists in the Ottoman Empire.
Since 2018, his research has focused on Armenian positivists and philosophers within the Ottoman Empire. Can has academic publications in both Armenian and Turkish. In 2019, he authored a 60-page research paper on Demirdjibashian as part of a project at Istanbul Bilgi University titled “Strengthening Civil Society Actors of Cultural Diversity and Capacity Building Project in Istanbul” and conducted by the Cultures Research Group of Istanbul Bilgi University. He has published three research articles in Armenian, featured in the Haygazian Armenological Review, with a fourth one scheduled for publication in January. In 2021, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation awarded him a two-month scholarship to conduct research in the archives of Armenia.