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Consciousness and Revolution in Soviet Philosophy

David Bakhurst

Consciousness and Revolution in Soviet Philosophy:
From the Bolsheviks to Evald Ilyenkov

Modern European Philosophy Series
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991



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Consciousness and Revolution in Soviet Philosophy

CONTENTS

Acknowledgments page
A note on translation, transliteration, and references ... xi

1. Introduction ... 1
Introducing Ilyenkov ... 5
Orthodoxy and history ... 11
Ilyenkov and the Anglo-American tradition ... 17
Ilyenkovs legacy in the age of glasnost and perestroika ... 21

2. Deborinites, Mechanists, and Bolshevizers ... 25
The beginnings of Soviet philosophy ... 27
The composition of the two camps ... 31
The substance of the debate ... 33
The defeat of the Mechanists ... 45
The aftermath of the debate: The defeat of the Deborinites ... 47
How were the Bolshevizers possible? ... 50
The philosophical significance of the controversy ... 52
Conclusion ... 56

3. Vygotsky ... 59
The critique of the prevailing climate ... 61
Vygotskys functionalism ... 66
Thought, speech, and unit analysis ... 68
The independence thesis ... 72
Internalization and the convergence of thought and speech ... 76
Internalization and the critique of Piaget ... 81
Inner speech and thought ... 84
Conclusion ... 86

4. Lenin and the Leninist stage in Soviet philosophy ... 91
The Leninist stage in Soviet philosophy ... 92
Lenins critique of Empiriocriticism ... 99
Lenins materialism ... 108
Ambiguity in Lenins materialism ... 111
Lenins philosophy as politics ... 123
Conclusion ... 134

5. Ilyenkov and dialectical method ... 135
The method of ascent from the abstract to the concrete: A synopsis ... 138
Ilyenkov versus the empiricist ... 144
Concrete totality and materialism ... 154
Concrete universals, historicism, and particularism ... 157
Ilyenkov on contradiction ... 167
Conclusion ... 172

6. The problem of the ideal ... 175
Ideality, moral properties, and the ban on anthropocentricity ... 176
The insight about artifacts ... 181
Agency and the humanization of nature ... 186
Alienation and objectification ... 189
Ideality and the possibility of thought and experience ... 195
Ilyenkov, radical realism, and the critique of two-worlds epistemology ... 200
Materialism and the final refutation of idealism ... 212
Conclusion ... 215

7. The socially constituted individual: Rethinking thought ... 217
Meshcheryakov and the blind-deaf ... 221
Brain and Mind: Dubrovsky versus Ilyenkov ... 227
Mind and Brain: Ilyenkovs reply to Dubrovsky ... 231
Ilyenkov on the ideal: The dismissal of Dubrovsky ... 236
The defence of the antireductionism and antiinnatism theses ... 244
Conclusion: The polemical and the political ... 253

8. In conclusion ... 259
References ... 267
Index ... 285



Synopsis
This is the first critical history of the philosophical culture of the USSR, and the first substantial treatment of a modern Soviet philosophers work by a Western author. The book identifies a significant tradition within Soviet Marxism that has produced powerful theories exploring the origins of meaning and value, the relation of thought and language, and the nature of the self. The tradition is presented through the work of Evald Ilyenkov (1924‑79), the thinker who did the most to rejuvenate Soviet philosophy after its suppression under Stalin. Professor Bakhurst sets Ilyenkovs contribution against the background of the bitter debates that divided Soviet philosophers in the 1920s, the "sociohistorical psychology" of Vygotsky, the controversies over Lenins legacy, and the philosophy of Stalinism. He traces Ilyenkovs tense relationship with the Soviet philosophical establishment and his passionate polemics with Soviet opponents. This book offers a unique insight into the world of Soviet philosophy, the place of politics within it, and its prospects in the age of glasnost and perestroika.

Bibliographic information

Title Consciousness and Revolution in Soviet Philosophy
Author(s) David Bakhurst
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Publication Date April 14, 2003
Subject Philosophy
Format Paperback
Pages 304
Dimensions 5.50 x 8.50 x 0.69 in
ISBN 0521407109