Author of Crime and Punishment, Feodor Dostoevsky, uses the text to subtly exhibit factors which aid in disproving the idea of scientific materialism. He aims to prove that there must be another explanation for our complexities, unlike the opposing one in which everything is believed to be made or conducted by matter. Regardless of extensive scientific experimentation, there are still many aspects of the human mind and body that remain unclear. Crime and Punishment relays some extreme qualities possessed by humans which are argued by many to be valid proof of our creation by a higher power. The fact that humans are emotional beings and that emotions are not classified as matter creates the opportunity for philosophical debate. Dostoevsky feeds on this uncertainty and assists in the argument of refuting scientific materialism by providing examples of human emotions such as shame, pity, compassion, love, and guilt. He also attempts to refute scientific materialism by suggesting the existence of a human conscience, free will, self sacrifice, and pure evil.
Crime and Punishment revolves around main character, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, and the physical, mental, and spiritual repercussions he endures after he commits murder. In other words, “the whole novel is built around the unique process of disintegration in the hero's soul” (Bem 2). When we first meet Raskolnikov, we learn he is a relatively young ex-student who has fallen into the poverty stricken slums of St. Petersburg, Russia. He has become unhealthily anti-social and bitter towards humanity and is now trapped within and tortured by his own thoughts. It is revealed that he is struggling internally with the idea of murdering a pawnbroker, Alena Ivanovna, with...
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"Crime and Punishment." Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Jessica Bomarito and Russel Whitaker. Vol. 167. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resource Center. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.
Dostoevsky, Feodor. Crime and Punishment. Ed. George Gibian. Trans. Coulson. 3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1989. Print.
Leatherbarrow, William J. "Chapter 4: The Principle of Uncertainty: Crime and Punishment." Fedor Dostoevsky. William J. Leatherbarrow. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1981. Twayne's World Authors Series 636. The Twayne Authors Series. Web. 14 Apr. 2012.
Santangelo, Gennaro. "The Five Motives of Raskolnikov." Dalhousie Review 54.4 (Winter 1974): 710-719. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Jessica Bomarito and Russel Whitaker. Vol. 167. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resource Center. Web. 14 Apr. 2012.