The historical and philosophical development of the theory of civil society
In the article it has been mentioned that the modern understanding of civil society is the result of their long evolution in the history of socio-philosophical and political thought. We are talking about the philosophers from different times and their views about the concept of «civil society»; it has been analyzed the development process of the term «civil society», it has been researched the basic strategy of its interpretation; it has been distinguished the features, which characterize the trends in the development of the civil society. It is proved that the development of the civil society is the process by which the citizen is civilized simultaneously, and also the social relations between the members of the society, the society, the state and the relationship between it, individual and society. Historical experience shows that such development is equivalent development, mutual equality of rights, freedoms and responsibilities of all three components of the civil society – a human, the society and the state. It has been identified the following main stages of the development of the civil society’s theory: syncretic period is the ancient and medieval period which is characterized by the absence of a clear distinction between the state and society; therefore, the civil society was synonymous with political. Thus, ancient Greek, ancient Roman and medieval epoch are estimated as the period of the origin of the sources and the beginning of the evolution of the classical understanding of the concept «civil society»; social-class period is the development of the theory of the civil society in the period of the XVII – XVIII centuries that is a part of the concept of natural rights and social contract and is characterized by the formation of the idea of individual freedom. The period of the XIX and beginning of XX centuries is characterized by the interpretation of the concept «civil society» as a special non-state sphere of the social organism; civil (democratic) period is the modern period of the civil society’s research that is characterized by a new approach to the interpretation of its nature as a society of equal citizens, which forms the state for the common good.