Genesis and Development of Plekhanov's Theory of Knowledge

Genesis and Development of Plekhanov's Theory of Knowledge : A Marxist Between Anthropological Materialism and Physiology

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1. One of the most outstanding leaders within Second International Marxism, George Plekhanov has interested Western scholars primarily as a historical and political figure, specifically as the first full-fledged Marxist among the Russian intelligentsia. At the end of the nineteenth century he was the leader in putting Russian progressive culture in touch with Western Marxism, breaking away from Populism and, at the same time, resuming materialistic tradition within Russian progressive thought. Among Russian revolutionaries, a few others to be sure had been interested in Marx before Plekhanov. The translations of some of Marx' works into Russian show this clearly. In 1869 Mikhail Bakunin translated The Communist Manifesto. Three years later Nikolaj Daniel'son, a populist, completed the first foreign-language version of the first book of Marx' Capital and within six months about a thousand copies had been sold. In the middle of the 1870's, an 'academic' economist, N. !. Ziber, helped to spread Marx' economic ideas by teaching them in Kiev and writing articles in the journal Slovo, which to some extent influenced Plekhanov's later choices. But it was Plekhanov who first analyzed the Russian situation as a whole in Marxist terms, thereby earning renown as the "Father of Russian Marxism". 1 His writings became the school for a whole generation of revolutionaries. At the beginning respected and venerated, then rejected and criticized, Plekhanov for long held the leadership of Russian Marxism, as its best-known 'Master'.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 246 pages
  • 157.48 x 233.68 x 22.86mm | 498.95g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1991 ed.
  • IX, 246 p.
  • 0792310675
  • 9780792310679

Table of contents

ONE George Plekhanov's Theory of Knowledge.- I. The Formative Years.- A. A Biographical Account.- B. The Theory of Hieroglyphics.- C. `Human Nature'.- II. Against Revisionism.- A. A Biographical Account.- B. Against Eduard Bernstein and Jacob Stem.- C. Against Konrad Schmidt.- D. Russian Opponents in the German Debate: Aleksej Voden and Chajm Schitlowsky.- E. Against Russian Revisionism: Peter Struve.- III. Deba'tes And Other Developments.- A. Russian Marxism at the Beginning of the Century.- B. Giving Up Hieroglyphics.- C. The Theoretical Debate After 1905.- D. A Decade of Scholarship.- TWO Philosophical Influences on Plekhanov's Theory of Knowledge.- I. The History Of Ma l'erialism.- II. Spinoza.- III. The Eighteenth- Century Materialists.- IV. The Non-Materialists' Contribution: Kant And The German Idealists.- V. Ludwig Feuerbach.- VI. Feuerbach In Russia: Nikolaj Chernyshevsky.- THREE The Scientific Referents of Plekhanov's Theory of Knowledge.- I. Physiology In Russian Culture At The End Of The Nineteenth Century.- II. Ivan M. Secenov.- A. Secenov and Nikolaj Chernyshevsky.- B. Secenov and Hermann von Helmholtz.- C. Secenov and Herbert Spencer.- III. Plekhanov And The Natural Sciences.- A. Plekhanov and Physiology.- B. Plekhanov and the Biological Theory of Evolution.- Conclusion.- Notes.- Appendix: Plekhanov's Theory of Knowledge in Soviet Studies.
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