Lenin: the philosophical idealists – part eight

Porträt des Philosphen Arthur Schopenhauer, 1852

A.Bogdanov’s “Empirio-monism” (continued)

And this precisely is idealism; for the psychical, i.e., consciousness, idea, sensation, etc., is taken as the immediate and the physical is deduced from it, substituted for it. The world is the non-ego created by the ego, said Fichte. The world is Absolute Idea, said Hegel. The world is will, said Schopenhauer. The world is concept and idea, says the immanentist Rehmke. Being is consciousness, says the immanentist Schuppe. The physical is a substitution for the psychical, says Bogdanov. One must be blind not to perceive the identical idealist essence under these various verbal cloaks.

V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 209


Part eight/to be continued…

Full text at Marxists Internet Archive

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3 thoughts on “Lenin: the philosophical idealists – part eight

  1. This is fascinating. Unfortunately I’m just a little behind you on the learning curve. Okay, I admit it, I’m way, way behind you. But I am learning. I’m that student in the back row, the interested one sliding by with a C-average, who always comes to class hoping this will be the session during which everything clicks. You keep writing, I’ll keep trying to keep up!


    • Hello Robert, thank you very much for your most generous words and I’m really appreciative that you like these posts from Lenin so much. When I first read Materialism and Empirio-criticism it was not so much a breath of fresh air as a blast of pure oxygen! It is one of my most valued texts. Thank you for being keen to read and think about what Lenin wrote in order to develop your own perspective on materialism. I highly recommend to you two books by Engels – Dialectics of Nature and Anti-Dühring – both of which brilliantly present the materialist perspective. Again, The German Ideology (co-authored by Marx and Engels) is an excellent resource. All of this material should be accessible at the Marxists Internet Archive – a vast Marxist database.

      Then there are the geniuses of mysticism – in particular Plotinus, Nicholas of Cusa (his best known work – On Learned Ignorance – together with most of his writing, can be found at Jasper Hopkins’ website) and Hegel, whose philosophy was turned ‘right-way up’ by Marx.

      William Franke produced a two-volume anthology you may know – On What Cannot Be Said – which exemplifies through selections the impact that mysticism has had and continues to have on Western culture.

      A crucial point is that the profound relationship between mysticism and materialism and the implications of this be recognised and explored. Best wishes, Phil

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re certainly welcome — the pleasure is mine. I will read Franke for sure. I’m reminded of Underhill’s definition of mysticism as “the art of union with reality.” Reality, when apprehended, is just too large to describe, leading to “what cannot be said.”


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