Consciousness and Revolution in Soviet Philosophy

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

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This 1991 book is a critical study of the philosophical culture of the USSR, and the first substantial treatment of a Soviet philosopher's work by a Western author. The book identifies a tradition within Soviet Marxism that has produced significant theories of the nature of the self and human activity, of the origins of value and meaning, and of the relation of thought and language. The tradition is presented through the work of Evald Ilyenkov (1924-1979), the man who did most to rejuvenate Soviet philosophy after its suppression under Stalin. Professor Bakhurst sets Ilyenkov's contribution against the background of the bitter debates that divided Soviet philosophers in the 1920s, of Vygotsky's 'socio-historical psychology', of the controversies over Lenin's legacy, and of the philosophy of Stalinism. He traces Ilyenkov's 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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 308 pages
  • 137 x 215 x 20mm | 352g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521407109
  • 9780521407106
  • 1,898,179

Table of contents

Acknowledgments; A note on translation, transliteration, and references; 1. Introduction; 2. Deborinites, mechanists and bolshevizers; 3. Vygotsky; 4. Lenin and the leninist stage in soviet philosophy; 5. Ilyenkov and dialectical method; 6. The problem of the ideal; 7. The socially constituted individual: rethinking thought; 8. In conclusion; References; Index.
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Review quote

"For all who see something of value in activity theory, this book is a MUST READ!...This book offers a highly readable yet critical and scholarly account of an important variant of this philosophy, and promises to enlighten us as to why activity theory appears so attractive against our backgrounds of frustrated empiricism." Charles W. Tolman, Multidisciplinary Newsletter for Activity Theory "Bakhurst succeeds in bringing Ilyenkov's philosophy to life in a way that [other] translations fail to do. He gives an outstandingly clear, vivid, and compelling account of Ilyenkov's ideas, and defends them persuasively against criticism." Canadian Slavonic Papers "David Bakhurst considers the possibility that we have witnessed the final chapter of Soviet philosophy a 'stark' one, but the chapter he has written, the first such substantial account of an individual, is none the less an important undertaking. Philosophical culture, however, has been far more widely alive in Russia than just among critical Marxists, and a new chapter in Russian philosophy is an exciting prospect." Robin Aizlewood, Times Higher Education Supplement "David Bakhurst has written a sympathetic and insightful elucidation of the philosophy of the late Evald Ilyenkov (1921-1979) and an engaging and thought-provoking discussion of his importance for both Soviet and Western philosophy." David G. Rowley, Russian Review
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