MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of People

German Philosophy

Authors: Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal;
Written: 1949-53;
First published: 1954 in A Short Philosophical Dictionary, fifth edition;
Source: https://filslov.ru/
Translated:by Anton P.

Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm (1646-1716)

Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (1646-1716) – German idealist philosopher, mathematician, predecessor of German idealism of the late 18th – early 19th centuries. Leibniz’s philosophy developed under the conditions of the feudal fragmentation of Germany. The weakness of the nascent German bourgeoisie determined the conciliatory character of its ideology, which was reflected in the philosophy of Leibniz. Leibniz sought to reconcile religion and science, to explain the calamities experienced by people, referring to the will of God. His philosophical concept is directly linked to the religious theory of God as a governing force. At the heart of nature, according to Leibniz, are independent spiritual (ideal) substances – monads.

These monads – a kind of “soul” – are the basis of all things, all life. Monads are active, their sphere of activity is representation; matter is only a manifestation of these independent spiritual entities. The supreme monad is a god who creates all the infinite variety of existing monads, establishes a hierarchy and a connection between them, forming a pre-established harmony. Therefore, Leibniz argued, everything is for the best in this best of worlds.

The inorganic world is a combination of the lower monads; man is a combination of the highest monads, which have a clear idea and understanding of reality. Thus, all nature is organic nature; there is no inanimate nature, according to Leibniz.

In Leibniz’s doctrine of monads, idealism and metaphysics (the supernatural emergence of monads) are intertwined with a dialectical guess about the internal movement of matter and about the relationship of all forms of manifestation of life (through monads). Lenin pointed out in this regard: Leibniz, through theology, approached the principle of an indissoluble (and universal, absolute) connection between matter and motion. “ At the same time, Leibniz developed the mechanistic principles of the continuity of development, denied leaps in development and subordinated the laws of physical movement to teleology. In the theory of knowledge, Leibniz tried to reconcile rationalism and empiricism. To the well-known thesis of sensationalism “there is nothing in the intellect, which would not be in the feeling,” he adds his own correction: “except the intellect itself.” Thus, Leibniz conducts this reconciliation on the basis of rationalism.

Leibniz has great services in the field of mathematics. Independently of Newton, he created differential and integral calculus (analysis of the infinitesimal), which is a powerful means of understanding the world, since it allows natural science to depict not only states, but also processes – motion. The modern reactionary philosophy of imperialism uses Leibniz’s mystical monad theory to defend and revive idealism.

The main works of Leibniz: “New method of maxima and minima” (1684), “A new system of nature and the relationship of substances” (1695), “New experiments on the human mind” (1700 – 1705), “Theodicy” (1710), “Monadology” (1714). In addition, he left a huge number of letters in which he sets out a number of his ideas.

Kant, Immanuel (1724-1804)

Kant Immanuel (1724-1804) – the founder of German idealism in the second half of the 18th – early 19th centuries. “The main feature of Kant’s philosophy is the reconciliation of materialism with idealism, a compromise between the one and the other, the combination in one system of heterogeneous, opposite philosophical trends.” On the one hand, Kant recognized the existence of the world of things outside our consciousness, “things in themselves.” But, on the other hand, “the thing-in-itself,” according to Kant, is fundamentally unknowable, otherworldly for our knowledge. (“Transcendental”). “When Kant admits that something outside of us, some thing-in-itself, corresponds to our ideas, then Kant is a materialist. When oi declares this thing in itself unknowable, transcendent, otherworldly, Kant acts as an idealist. “

Lenin called the unknowable Cantonese “thing-in-itself” an empty, lifeless abstraction. For Kant himself, the “thing-in-itself” eventually turns into a simple mental symbol. Proceeding from the unknowability of the “thing-in-itself,” Kant built his own subjective-idealistic theory of knowledge. Under the influence of the impulse communicated by the “thing-in-itself,” the sensory ability of a person, according to Kant, creates a chaos of perceptions, which are ordered with the help of subjective forms of contemplation – space and time. Thus, a phenomenon or object of sensuality is obtained. Further, the mind acts, which, with the help of its inherent subjective logical categories, turns this sensible object (phenomenon) into a concept. The highest sphere of human knowledge is the mind, which is again guided by subjective ideas: the soul as a substance, the world as a whole, God.

Kant believed that space, time, causality, the laws of nature are not properties of nature itself, but properties of human cognitive ability. Kant recognized them as “a priori” – to the point of being experienced, independent of experience; he considered them the conditions of all experience, “transcendental”; hence the name that Kant gave to his philosophy – “transcendental idealism,” that is, idealism, which recognizes that a priori forms of consciousness precede experience and are its conditions. Thus, according to Kaita, knowledge divides man and nature, and does not unite them. Kant armed all subsequent philosophy with the theory of the unknowability of the world, which philosophical reactionaries of all stripes have used and are using now in order to fight against materialism, in defense of fideism. Kant put forward a false, idealistic position that

The whole picture of nature, as it appears to human cognition, Kant considered the subjective construction of the mind. The unity of nature, according to Kant, is created not by the materiality of nature, but by the unity of the cognizing subject – “I.” All attempts of the mind to go beyond the limits of subjective experience, according to Kant, inevitably lead the mind to insoluble contradictions. This view expressed some elements of dialectics inherent in Kant’s philosophy, but he considered the contradiction itself only as a delusion, an illusion, and not as a reflection of real contradictions – reality). Kant’s entire formulation of the question of the contradictory nature of reason, of antinomies, results in the defense of agnosticism. Kant, as noted by Chernyshevsky, deliberately developed his anti-scientific theory of knowledge in order to defend free will, the immortality of the soul, existence (of the south, God’s providence for the welfare of people on earth and their eternal bliss in heaven.

This theory of knowledge, like the entire philosophy of Kant, was reaction to French materialism, it set herself the task of restoring idealism, to establish again in the rights of God and religion, reeling from the blows of the materialists. Kant reconciled knowledge with religion. The task of his theory of knowledge is to limit the rights of reason, to leave a place for God beyond the limits of knowledge. had to ... by limiting knowledge, to give place to faith ... “- he writes in the preface to” Critique of Pure Reason. “In his ethical teaching, he considered it necessary to maintain morality to recognize the existence of God and the immortality of the soul.

In the first period of Kant’s activity, when his philosophical system had not yet formed, he made an attempt to approach nature from the point of view of its development, putting forward a hypothesis about the origin of the solar system. Engels attached great philosophical significance to this Kantian hypothesis, pointing out that with his theory Kant made a gap in the metaphysical worldview, which denied development.

In the social and political sphere, Kant adhered to reactionary views. Although he talks about civil freedom, eternal peace, etc., all this is unattainable from his point of view. “Kant,” wrote Engels, “calmed down on goodwill alone, even if it remains ineffectual, and transferred the implementation of this goodwill, the harmony between it and the needs and desires of individuals, to the other world. This goodwill of Kant fully corresponds to the impotence, oppression and squalor of the German burghers, whose petty interests have never been able to develop into the general national interests of the class..” Kant demanded from all subjects unquestioning submission to the exploiting state and denied them the right to resist. He was an ardent opponent of revolutionary violence.

Of all the systems of idealistic philosophy, Kantianism is the most convenient philosophical system for the enemies of the scientific understanding of the laws of nature, society, and human thought. Kantianism tries to undermine faith in the very possibility of the human mind to cognize the laws of the objective world. Kantianism still serves as the main weapon in the hands of the ideologists of imperialism against modern natural science and modern scientific philosophy. Rejecting the materialistic element to Kant’s philosophy, his “thing-in-itself,” subsequent philosophers and revisionists draw from the arsenal of Kant’s subjective-idealistic theory of knowledge for the fight against philosophical materialism.

Social democrats and liberals from the reformist camp, based on the philosophy of Kant, turn socialism into an unattainable abstract ideal, into a kind of “thing in itself” in which one must believe – and nothing more. With the help of Kantian philosophy, they are trying to “calm down” the revolutionary feelings of the laboring people, to make them an instrument of “class peace,” an instrument of the Struggle against the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. The exposure of neo-Kantianism in its modern forms, the struggle against it, and in the present day, is an important task. The main works of Kant: “General Natural History and Theory of Heaven” (1755), “Critique of Pure Reason” (1781), “Prolegomena” (1783), “Critique of Practical Reason” (1788), “Critique of Judgment” (1790).

Fichte, Johann Gottlieb (1762-1814)

Fichte Johann Gottlieb (1762-1814) – a prominent German idealist philosopher of the late 18th – early 19th centuries. As a representative of subjective idealism, Fichte criticizes Kant from the right, that is, he rejects the Kantian “thing-in-itself.” The starting point of his philosophy, Fichte declares the absolute “I,” which itself creates the world with all its laws.

Developing in the spirit of voluntarism the principle of activity, or activity, “I,” Fichte understands this activity purely speculatively, as the activity of thought, as a process of self-awareness. Thus, Fichte’s view of practice is directly opposite to dialectical materialism, which considers practice as a real active activity of people in order to change the world. Fichte recognizes absolute free will, God and the immortality of the soul. Developing especially reactionary idealistic ideas! Fichte on questions of law and state. He sees in law one of the manifestations of “I,” and above all he regards the right of private ownership of the means of production. In the book Closed Commercial State (1800), Fichte idealizes class relations.

Speaking with progressive slogans of defending the national sovereignty of the Germans from the Napoleonic interventionists, Fichte at the same time put forward chauvinist slogans, thereby obstructing the cause of national liberation and the unification of Germany, for which he called for fighting. He preached that the German people supposedly stood above all other nations. Fichte’s subjective idealism is fundamentally no different from the reactionary philosophy of Berkeley and inevitably leads to solipsism. The reactionary philosophers of the turn of the 20th century sought to use Fichte’s subjective idealism in order to promote militant obscurantism. Fichte’s views are also restored by modern reactionaries in philosophy – personalists, existentialists, etc. Reactionary sociologists, referring to Fichte, propagandize a subjective-idealistic view of history, deny objective laws in the development of society.

Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph (1775-1854)

Schelling Friedrich Wilhelm (1775-1854) was one of the representatives of German idealism of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, an ardent enemy of materialism and science, a champion of religion, who saw the goal of his philosophy in establishing faith in God as the supreme power of the world. Schelling, who initially adhered to Fichte, subsequently created his own philosophical system of “objective” idealism, according to which the development of both nature and reason is based on the same spiritual force – “Absolute.”

Schelling’s absolute is not a rational, but an unconscious, irrational principle. Hence, Schelling’s exaltation of mystical intuition, “inner feeling,” which he considered a means of knowledge. Struggling against the materialist theory of knowledge, he argued that nature or matter is an “unconscious” product of an active, active spiritual force and a preparatory stage for the mind (spirit). Nature and consciousness, object and subject, Schelling argued, coincide in the Absolute; Schelling called his philosophy “the philosophy of identity.”

In natural philosophy, Schelling set himself the task of knowing the absolute, infinite spirit that lies at the basis of empirical visible nature. Experienced physics, from the point of view, is satisfied with the knowledge of only the external sides of reality, it deals only with limited and isolated phenomena. According to Schelling, the science of nature, based exclusively on reason, is designed to reveal the last, unconditional spiritual cause that produces all natural phenomena. Schelling considered the absolute as a beginning capable of self-development through contradictions; in this sense, Schelling’s philosophy is characterized by some features of idealist dialectics. Schelling assigned a special role to art, in which, according to him, the reality of “higher being,” that is, God, is fully comprehended. Schelling interpreted art as “revelation.” The artist, according to Schelling, is a kind of mystical creature who creates in unconsciousness.

The main instrument of creativity is intuition, “inner contemplation.” In the future, Schelling evolves towards a frank mystical philosophy. He was invited by the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm to the post of professor at the University of Berlin with the aim of combating Young Hegelianism as the ideology of the radical German bourgeoisie. It was during this period of his life that Schelling created the reactionary mystical “philosophy of revelation” and became, as Engels put it, “a philosopher in Christ.”

Young Engels, while still an idealist himself, subjected this philosophy to devastating criticism in his work Schelling and Revelation. Describing the development of Schelling’s views, his evolution towards the “philosophy of revelation,” Engels wrote that Schelling’s philosophy leads to a place where the real world remains “a book with seven seals” and reason becomes “unreasonable.” According to his socio-political views, Schelling was an enemy of the German national democratic movement, a supporter of the unlimited power of the Monarchy. Schelling’s philosophy was one of the links in the struggle of German idealist philosophy against materialism and revolution. Schelling’s main work is The System of Transcendental Idealism (1800).

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1770-1831)

Hegel Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1770-1831) – the greatest German idealist philosopher and dialectician. The philosophical system of Hegel, like other German idealists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, was an aristocratic reaction to French materialism and the French revolution of the 18th century. With his philosophical theory, Hegel tried to strike a decisive blow against materialism and restore philosophical idealism. According to Hegel’s system of “objective” (or absolute) idealism, the basis of the world is a mystical “absolute idea” that existed before the appearance of nature and man. By its nature, it is an active principle, but its activity can be expressed only in thinking, in self-knowledge. The “absolute idea” is internally contradictory, it moves and changes, passing into its opposite.

In the process of its dialectical self-development, Hegel’s “idea” goes through three main stages. The first stage is logical, when it acts in her “pre-natural” being, in the “element of pure thinking.” At this stage, the “absolute idea” appears as a system of logical concepts and categories, as a system of logic. This part of Hegel’s philosophical system is set forth in his Science of Logic. At the second stage, the “idea” turns into nature, which, according to Hegel, is “the other being of the absolute idea.” Hegel expounded his doctrine of nature in The Philosophy of Nature. Nature, according to Hegel, is incapable of development in time; it develops only in space. The highest, third step in the self-development of an idea is the “absolute spirit.” Hegel reveals this stage of development of the “absolute idea” in his work “Philosophy of the Spirit.”

At this stage, the “absolute idea” denies nature and returns to itself, and development again takes place in the field of thinking, but this time in human thinking. Hegel refers to this stage as the stage of individual consciousness, the stage of social consciousness and the highest stage, when an idea in the form of religion, art and philosophy comes to the end of its self-knowledge. Hegel declares philosophy to be “absolute knowledge.” He considers his philosophy to be the final stage in the self-development of an idea. This is Hegel’s idealist philosophical system. Hegel’s “absolute,” “absolute spirit,” “absolute idea” is nothing more than a new name for God. Hegel divorces human consciousness from nature, transforms this consciousness into an independent subject, deifies and forces it in the process of development to generate nature, society, man himself, etc. In reality, there is not and cannot be an idea that exists independently of a person, from a human brain. Nature and society develop, while the development of an idea is only a reflection of the development of objective reality. Thus, the whole foundation of Hegel’s philosophy is false and unscientific.

Valuable in Hegel’s idealist philosophy was the dialectical method – the doctrine that the source of development is the struggle of contradictions, that development occurs through the transition of quantitative changes into qualitative ones, that truth is concrete, etc. However, Hegel’s dialectic is closely connected with his reactionary idealist system. Hegel’s philosophy is characterized by a deep contradiction between the dialectical method and the metaphysical system. The dialectical method asserts that the process of the development of knowledge is endless, and at the same time Hegel declared his philosophy the end of all development and the ultimate truth. The dialectical method proceeds from the fact that everything develops and changes, while the metaphysical system portrays nature as something frozen, not changing, given once and for all.

Hegel’s dialectic is directed to the past, not to the present and the future. Hegel was afraid to draw conclusions that followed from his own doctrine of contradictions as a driving force of development. He did not bring the struggle of opposites to its logical end, to the victory of the new, progressive over the obsolete, old, but neutralized, reconciled opposites, trying to lubricate, obscure the acute struggle of opposing forces taking place in class society.

In creating dialectical materialism, Marx and Engels could not take Hegel’s dialectics in the form in which it was created by him. They reworked it materialistically, and turned it upside down. They used only that rational kernel that was contained in Hegel’s dialectics – his doctrine of development and change, the transition from quantitative changes to qualitative ones, etc., discarding the Hegelian idealistic husk. Marx and Engels created a new dialectical method based on the solid scientific foundation of materialist philosophy. Marx wrote: “My dialectical method is fundamentally not only different from Hegel’s, but is its direct opposite. For Hegel, the process of thinking, which under the name of an idea he even turns into an independent subject, is a demiurge (creator) of reality, which is only its external manifestation. For me, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing more than the material, transplanted into the human head and transformed in it.”

In his socio-political views, Hegel was a reactionary. Recognizing the need for the modernization of Germany’s backward feudal relations, he, however, did not dream of a radical change in her feudal-aristocratic order. “Hegel,” wrote Marx, “wants a medieval estate system, but in the modern sense of the legislative power, and he wants a modern legislative power, but in the shell of a medieval estate system. This is syncretism of the worst kind.” Hegel wrote with contempt and hatred of the masses as a blind force; he chauvinistically elevated Germany as an expression of the “spirit of the new world,” and assigned the role of “unhistorical” peoples to the Slavic peoples; he turned war into an eternal phenomenon necessary for the life of society, etc.

The main works of Hegel: “Phenomenology of Spirit” (1807), “Science of Logic” (1812-1816), “Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences” (“Logic,” “Philosophy of Nature,” “Philosophy of Spirit”) (1817), “Philosophy of Law” (1821).

Young Hegelians

The Young Hegelians were ideologists of German liberalism in the 1830s – 1840s, representatives of the left bourgeois-radical wing of the Hegelian school (Bruno Bauer, David Friedrich Strauss, Arnold Ruge, Max Stirner). Unlike the Old Hegelians (supporters of the reactionary system of Hegel as a whole, especially his philosophy of religion), the Young Hegelians put “self-consciousness” in the place of the “absolute idea” (God). They declared the intelligentsia and the state to be the embodiment of this powerful, but in their opinion, creative power of history. The Young Hegelians viewed the people as an “uncritical mass,” which is alien to self-consciousness. So, for example, Bruno Bauer argued that in the masses, and not in anything else, one should look for the true enemy of the spirit.

The Young Hegelians condemned the French bourgeois revolution of the eighteenth century, opposing it with bourgeois reforms carried out on the initiative of a “reasonable” (exploiting) state. At the same time, they pinned their hopes for the bourgeois transformation of Germany on the Prussian king, in whom they saw the embodiment of the Platonic ideal of a philosopher on the throne. Criticizing orthodox Christianity, rejecting the authenticity of the gospel, the Young Hegelians identified religious consciousness with the consciousness of the people. They considered the main obstacle to the progress of Germany not to be the rule of landlords and absolutism, but the rule of religion, which perverted the supposedly rational nature of the state and threatened it with the establishment of the rule of an “unreasonable” mass. Preaching the separation of church from state, seeking to “rationalize” the feudal monarchy, the Young Hegelians relied on the “might” of the exploiting state and cringed to Prussianism.

Considering the transformation of consciousness into “self-consciousness” as the source of social transformation, the Young Hegelians actually preached reconciliation with the order existing in Germany through their “rational” interpretation. The idea of the class struggle, of the objective laws of social development, of the role of economic relations and material production in the development of society was absolutely alien to them. Their preaching was addressed to the exploiting classes. At the same time, a characteristic feature of Young Hegelianism was revolutionary phraseology, which presented only liberal threats to the ruling feudal classes who resisted the bourgeois development of Germany. The ideology of the Young Hegelians reflected the cowardice of the German bourgeoisie, its helplessness in the struggle against the feudal foundations.

Marx and Engels, who at the beginning of their activities adhered to the left Hegelians, but even then, unlike the Young Hegelians, acted as revolutionary democrats, in 1843-1846 mercilessly criticized the idealism and liberal preaching of the Young Hegelians. They showed that the Young Hegelians, “in spite of their supposedly world-shaking phrases, are the greatest conservatives,” that they are not fighting against the real, existing world, but are fighting only with the phrases of this world. The only results that this philosophical criticism could achieve were several, and even then one-sided, historico-religious explanations about Christianity.”

Feuerbach, Ludwig (1804-1872)

Feuerbach Ludwig (1804-1872) – the greatest materialist of the pre-Marxian period, who proclaimed and defended materialism and atheism in Germany in the 1830-40s, the ideologist of the democratic liberal bourgeoisie of Germany. Initially, Feuerbach was an idealist-Hegelian, but the evolution of his philosophical views went from idealism to materialism. Having finally broken with idealism and moved to the position of materialism, Feuerbach in his work “Towards a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy” (1839) sharply opposed Hegel’s idealist system.

Feuerbach linked criticism of idealism with criticism of religion. He showed that idealism in general and Hegel’s in particular is the theoretical basis of religion, that Hegel’s teaching about the primacy of an idea and its transformation into nature in the process of development is nothing other than the Christian dogma expressed in a rationalistic form about the creation of the world by God. But Feuerbach’s criticism of Hegel is one-sided criticism. Rejecting Hegel’s idealism, Feuerbach threw Hegel’s dialectics overboard, he could not single out a “rational kernel” from it. He failed to generalize the great discoveries of natural science in the 19th century. and on their basis to develop a dialectical view of nature.

In 1841, Feuerbach’s book The Essence of Christianity was published, which played a significant role in the development of materialism. In this work, Feuerbach with great skill reveals the epistemological roots of religion, mainly Christianity. God, according to Feuerbach, is a human essence alienated from man himself and transformed into an absolute. All properties attributed to God are the properties of man himself, but divorced from him, presented as independent, personified in God. “The essence of Christianity” received a high and at the same time critical assessment in the book by F. Engels “Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy.” Engels saw the main significance of the book The Essence of Christianity in the fact that it proclaims the objective existence of nature, independent of human thinking, and consequently of any philosophy. People are themselves a product of nature.

The so-called higher beings, created by religious fantasy, are only fantastic reflections of a person’s own essence. The main question of philosophy Feuerbach decides materialistically. Feuerbach also materialistically resolves the question of the possibility of cognition. He criticizes Kantian agnosticism. Sensation, according to Feuerbach, does not separate us from the external world, but connects us with it, it is an image of the objective world. However, Feuerbach’s theory of knowledge, like his materialism as a whole, is of a metaphysical, contemplative nature. Feuerbach did not understand the dialectical transition from sensation to thinking, from the individual to the general, did not understand the role of abstractions in cognition. He did not understand that the practical activity of people is of decisive importance in cognition.

Feuerbach remained an idealist in the field of understanding social phenomena: he distinguished epochs in the development of mankind exclusively by the forms of consciousness, by the successive religions. Feuerbach’s materialism is anthropological materialism. At the heart of all his reasoning is an abstract man, “man in general,” he regards as a biological being. Feuerbach is completely alien to the historical approach to man and human society. Although he spoke about the “generic” connection between people, he understood this connection as purely natural, mainly as a connection between the sexes.

He was far from the idea that a real social connection between people is determined by their relations in the process of social production, that people can exist only by influencing nature with the help of the tools of production they have created, and that in the process of this influence people themselves change, experience their true history ... “Therefore,” says Marx, criticizing Feuerbach, “for him the human essence can be understood only as a ‘genus’, as an internal, mute community that connects a multitude of individuals only by natural bonds.” From the anthropological character of his materialism follows also the weakness, the limitations of his criticism of religion. Not realizing that a person is a set of social relations, he could not understand that religion is a product of the development of historical social relations between people, and could not reveal the class roots of religion. Although his struggle against religion was progressive, it was nevertheless a struggle from the position of the Enlightenment.

Related to this was his position in the social struggles in Germany in the mid-19th century. Feuerbach did not understand the significance of politics, political struggle in social development. He did not understand the revolution of 1848, and, although in his last years he joined the Social Democratic Party, his views on the laws of social life were deeply alien to the working class.

Feuerbach’s doctrine of society found its vivid expression in his morality. Here the limitation of his philosophy was most pronounced. The basic principle of Feuerbach’s morality is the heartfelt attraction of people to each other, the desire for happiness inherent in man. For people to be happy, they must, Feuerbach said, love each other. “Love” acts for him as a panacea for all evils. Preaching universal love in a society divided into antagonistic classes, Feuerbach expels the last remnants of its revolutionary spirit from his philosophy. Feuerbach’s morality is liberal morality, preaching class peace, smearing the opposition of class interests, denying the struggle of classes.

The positive and the weak sides of Feuerbach’s philosophy are deeply revealed in Marx’s theses on Feuerbach and in the work of Engels “Ludwig Feuerbach and the end of classical German philosophies.” The shortcomings of Feuerbach’s materialism do not diminish, however, its historical significance. Feuerbach’s materialism had a serious impact on Marx and Engels during the formation of their philosophical views. This does not mean that the materialism of Marx and Engels is identical with the materialism of Feuerbach.

Marx and Engels took from Feuerbach’s materialism only its “main grain,” developing it further into dialectical materialism and discarding its idealistic and religious-ethical layers. Lenin in the work “Materialism and Empirio-criticism” contrasts Feuerbach’s bright and deep materialistic propositions with the idealistic, anti-scientific ideas of the Machists. The main works of Feuerbach: “To the criticism of Hegel’s philosophy,” “The essence of Christianity,” “Preliminary theses to the reform of philosophy” (1842), “Foundations of the philosophy of the future” (1843).

Marx, Karl (1818-1883)

Karl Marx (1818-1883) was the ingenious founder of scientific communism, a great teacher and leader of the world proletariat, inspirer and organizer of the First International – the “International Workingmen’s Association.”

Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818 in Germany, in the city of Trier. His father was a lawyer. After graduating from high school in Trier, Marx studied first at the University of Bonn and then at the University of Berlin. In Berlin, Marx joined a group of revolutionary-minded “Left Hegelians.” After graduating from university, Marx wrote his doctoral dissertation on “The Difference Between the Natural Philosophy of Democritus and the Natural Philosophy of Epicurus.” In this work, Marx still took the position of idealism. Having brilliantly defended his thesis and received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Jena, Marx returned to Bonn; from there, in October 1842, he moved to Cologne and became editor-in-chief of the Rhine Gazette, the organ of the Rhine radical bourgeoisie.

Lenin characterizes the period of Marx’s work in the Rhein newspaper as a period when Marx’s transition from idealism to materialism and from revolutionary democracy to communism is outlined. At the beginning of 1843, the Rhine Gazeta, which was pursuing a revolutionary-democratic line under the leadership of Marx and always published under the strictest censorship, was banned. In June 1843, Marx married his childhood friend Jenny von Westphalen. At the end of October he moved to Paris, where he began to publish together with Arnold Ruge the “German-French Yearbook.” This journal published the wonderful articles of Marx “On the Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Law” and “On the Jewish Question,” in which Marx finally passed from idealism to materialism and from revolutionary democracy to communism. “In his articles in this magazine, Marx appears already as a revolutionary,

In September 1844, a rapprochement between Marx and Engels took place in Paris, which marked the beginning of their joint struggle for the cause of the working class. For the first time they clarified the world-historical role of the working class as the gravedigger of the bourgeoisie and the builder of communism and became teachers and leaders of the proletariat, fighters for the liberation of workers from capitalist slavery. “Ancient legends,” wrote V. I. Lenin, “tell about various touching examples of friendship. The European proletariat can say that its science was created by two scientists and fighters, whose relations surpass all the most touching legends of the ancients about human friendship.”

In 1845, Marx and Engels wrote the book The Holy Family,” which was directed against the leaders of the Young Hegelians – Bruno Bauer and Co. and which played an important role in the emergence of Marxism. Marx and Engels set out their new, already formed theory of scientific communism in the “German Ideology.” In Paris, Marx studied political economy and the history of the French Revolution. At the same time, he did not stop his great revolutionary work. In 1845, at the insistence of the Prussian government, he was expelled from Paris as a dangerous revolutionary. Marx moved to Brussels. Here he published in 1847 his work The Poverty of Philosophy, which was directed against the book of the anarchist and petty-bourgeois socialist Proudhon “The Philosophy of Poverty.” Here, in Brussels, Marx joined the secret propaganda society “Union of Communists,” took a leading part in its Second Congress, but on whose instructions Marx and Engels worked out the program of the Union.

Thus was born the famous “ Manifesto of the Communist Party,” published in February 1848, with a great international appeal: Workers of all countries, unite! “This small book is worth whole volumes: in its spirit it lives and moves to this day,” Lenin pointed out, “the entire organized and struggling proletariat of the civilized world.” While in Belgium, Marx continued to fight against the Prussian government. When the February Revolution of 1848 broke out in France, the Belgian government, frightened by the unrest that began in Brussels, expelled Marx, escorting him into custody at the French border. Marx moved to Paris. After the March 1848 revolution in Germany, Marche moved to Cologne, where he founded the New Rhine Gazette. After the victory of the counter-revolution in Germany, Marx was put on trial and then expelled from the country. He went to Paris again, but after the June 1849 demonstration he was expelled from there as well. Marx moved to London, where he lived until his death.

After the coup d'état in France, Marx published his works The Class Struggle in France and The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, in which he summed up the results of the revolution of 1848-1851. The years after the revolution were for Marx years of intensive work on the creation of his main scientific work, Capital. The first fruit of many years of economic research by Marx was his 1859 essay Towards a Critique of Political Economy. This work contained the first systematic presentation of Marx’s theory of value, the doctrine of money. Eight years later, in 1867, Volume I of Capital was published in Hamburg, which outlined the foundations of Marx’s economic and socialist views, as well as the foundations of his criticism of the existing society, the capitalist mode of production and its consequences.

The years of Marx’s work on Capital were at the same time the years of his ebullient revolutionary practical activity. In connection with the intensified labor movement in the early 1860s, Marx set about implementing his Idea of creating a workers’ partnership in order to develop a unified tactics for the proletarian struggle. In 1864, the International Workers’ Association, the First International, was founded in London. Its inspirer and ideological leader was Marx. He drew up the Constituent Manifesto of the International, wrote almost all of its most important documents. With the creation of the First International, Marx laid the foundation for an international proletarian organization for the revolutionary struggle for socialism. Leading the International, Marx fought to overcome the scatteredness of the labor movement.

In an implacable struggle against opportunism in the workers’ movement, against the anarchists (Proudhonists, Bakuninists) and others, Marx developed the revolutionary tactics of the struggle of the working class. In 1871, Marx wrote the famous work “The Civil War in France,” in which he analyzed the experience of the Paris Commune, evaluating it, in the words of Lenin, “deeply, accurately, brilliantly and effectively, in revolutionary spirit.” In connection with the reaction that followed the fall of the Paris Commune, the General Council of the First International, by decision of the Hague Congress (1872), was transferred to America for some time, then announced its dissolution. After the Hague Congress, Marx worked hard to finish Capital, clearly realizing the full significance of this work for the proletarian revolution, for the international working class. In 1875 he wrote the “Critique of the Gotha Program” against the reformist tendencies of Lassalleanism in the German social-democratic movement.

With great attention, Marx followed the development of the Russian liberation movement, beginning in the 1860s. He specially studied Russian in order to be able to directly familiarize himself with Russian literature, reflecting social relations in Russia. Marx noted with great joy that his Capital had been translated into Russian. “...In Russia,” wrote Marx, “where Capital is more read and appreciated than anywhere else, our success is even greater.” He highly appreciated the great Russian revolutionary democrats Chernyshevsky and Dobrolyubov. On the basis of a deep study of economic and political shifts in Russia, Marx and Engels prophetically foresaw the inevitability and imminence of the first great revolution in Russia after the Paris Commune of 1871. “When the Paris Commune fell after the fierce massacre staged by the defenders of order,” Marx and Engels wrote in March 1881, “the winners never imagined that in less than ten years an event would take place in distant Petersburg, which in the end would inevitably lead, even after a long and fierce struggle, to the creation of the Russian Commune. So, the Commune, which the powers of the old world considered wiped off the face of the earth, is alive!” Lenin pointed out that Marx and Engels were full of the most rosy faith in the Russian revolution and in its mighty world significance.

The expulsions to which Marx was periodically subjected by the reactionary governments, the acute need from which he but emerged all his life and which was only partially mitigated by the material support of Engels, the fierce struggle against the motley non-proletarian and anti-proletarian currents, the most intense theoretical work – all this undermined the health of Marx and on March 14, 1883. cut short the life of this brilliant man who embodied the brain and heart of the proletariat – the most advanced class in the history of mankind, called upon to bring about a radical turn in world history. “And he died,” said Engels, “revered, beloved, mourned by millions of revolutionary comrades-in-arms throughout Europe and America, from the Siberian mines to California...”

Marx discovered the laws of the development of human history. He is the creator of the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution. Together with Engels, he created the revolutionary outlook of the proletariat – dialectical materialism. Having extended the new worldview to the study of the history of society, Marx created historical materialism – the science of the laws of social development, of the laws of the class struggle. The creation of dialectical and historical materialism was a real revolutionary revolution in the history of philosophy. In contrast to the old philosophers, Marx and Engels are not just the founders of some philosophical “school,” but the living leaders of the living proletarian movement, which is growing and gaining strength every day.

Having comprehensively studied the economic and political life of bourgeois society, Marx revealed the process of the emergence of capitalism, the laws and tendencies of its development, the inevitability of its death. Marx proved the historically transient nature of the capitalist system and the inevitability of the victory of the new system – the communist system. Marx created the theory of scientific communism as opposed to the various theories of utopian socialism that existed before him. All aspects of Marx’s teachings are internally and inseparably linked. “The teaching of Marx is omnipotent because it is true. It is complete and harmonious, giving people an integral world outlook, irreconcilable with any superstition, with any reaction, or with any defense of bourgeois oppression.”

Marx’s teaching is immortal. After the death of Marx and Engels, it found its further creative development in the works of their great successors – V. I. Lenin and I. V. Stalin, in Leninism – the Marxism of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolutions.

Engels, Friedrich (1820-1895)

Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) – great teacher and leader of the world proletariat, friend and associate of Marx, together with him developed the theory of scientific socialism and laid the ideological foundations for the struggle of the working class for communism.

Engels was born on November 28, 1820 in the city of Barmen, in the Rhine province of the Prussian kingdom. His father was a textile manufacturer. Engels studied first at a real school in Barmen, then at a gymnasium in Elberfeld. Engels had to leave the gymnasium; for a year he worked in his father’s office, and then was sent to Bremen to work in a large trading company. Here he became close to the radically built-on literary group Young Germany and collaborated in the German Telegraph. In the spring of 1841, Engels left Bremen and, after traveling through Switzerland and Northern Italy, arrived in Berlin, where he entered the military service, in the infantry and artillery regiment, as a volunteer. At the same time, Engels attended lectures on philosophy at the University of Berlin. Here Engels became close to the circleYoung Hegelians. In March 1842, Engels published the pamphlet Schelling and Revelation, in which he subjected Schelling’s reactionary mystical statements to devastating criticism. In 1842 Engels ended his military service, and he left for England, for Manchester.

Here he got acquainted with the life and labor of the workers, studied the position of the English working class and entered into contact with the leaders of the Chartist movement, began to collaborate in the British socialist publications of the 40s. In 1844, Engels published Essays on the Critique of Political Economy in the German-French Yearbook, published in Paris by Marx and Ruge. Marx called this work a brilliant sketch of a new, proletarian political economy. At the end of August 1844 Engels left Manchester for Germany. On the way, he stopped in Paris, where he met with Marx, which laid the foundation for the friendship of the two great leaders of the working class, the friendship that Lenin said, that it surpasses “all the most touching legends of the ancients about human friendship.” In Paris, Marx and Engels wrote the book “The Holy Family,” directed against the Young Hegelians. The foundations of revolutionary materialist socialism were already laid in it.

In 1845, upon his return to Germany, Engels published his famous book The Condition of the Working Class in England, which Lenin called “one of the best works in world socialist literature.” In this work “Engels was the first to say that the proletariat is not only a suffering class,” that “the struggling proletariat will help itself.” In the spring of 1845, Engels moved to Brussels, where Marx was at that time. Here they jointly wrote the book “German Ideology.” It criticizes the flaws of Feuerbach’s philosophy, the views of the Young Hegelians and the reactionary German or “true socialism,” whose representatives opposed the class struggle and preached universal reconciliation. In 1845-1847 Engels spent time in Brussels and Paris. He combined his scientific studies with practical activities among the workers. Engels, like Marx, struck up a relationship with the secret society “Union of Communists,” did a lot of preparatory work for the second congress of the “Union.”

Engels wrote The Principles of Communism as a rough draft of the program of the Union of Communists and then, together with Marx, the famous Manifesto of the Communist Party. After the start of the February Revolution of 1848 in France, Engels moved to Paris; following Marx, whom the Belgian government expelled from Brussels. At the beginning of April 1848, in connection with the outbreak of the revolution in Germany, Engels and Marx, leaving Paris, arrived in Cologne and here, leading the New Rhine Gazette they founded, carried out an enormous revolutionary work. In view of the subsequent order to arrest the editors of Novaya Rhine Gazeta, Engels left Cologne for Brussels. Here he was arrested, imprisoned, and then exiled. In October, Engels arrived in Paris. From there he fled to Switzerland and only in mid-January 1849 returned to Cologne, where he was soon brought to trial along with Marx on charges of “insulting the authorities.” The accused at the trial turned into accusers. The court was forced to acquit them. Engels took part in an armed popular uprising and, after the uprising was suppressed, with the last units of the revolutionary army crossed into Swiss territory. At the insistence of Marx, he went to London.

Engels summed up the results of the revolutionary period of 1848-1849. in two of his works. In The Peasants’ War in Germany (published in 1850), Engels showed that the classes and representatives of the classes who betrayed the revolution in 1848 and 1849 were found as traitors as early as 1525, albeit at a lower stage of development. In another work, Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany (1851-1852), written jointly about Marx, Engels paid much attention to questions of armed uprising, and taught the revolutionary workers to understand that uprising is an art. In November 1850 Engels moved to Manchester, where he was a clerk of a trading company, and then a shareholder in it. Engels resumed his “damned commerce” in order to be able to provide material support to Marx. During his stay in Manchester, Engels wrote a large number of works on military issues, in which he was deeply interested. Lenin considered Engels a great expert in military affairs. During this period, Engels paid much attention to the further expansion of his knowledge in the field of foreign languages. Engels lived in Manchester until 1870, maintaining an almost daily correspondence with Marx, in which they jointly discussed the most varied questions of theory, politics, tactics, and questions of “economy.” During his stay in Manchester, Engels wrote a large number of works on military issues, in which he was deeply interested. Lenin considered Engels a great expert in military affairs. During this period, Engels paid much attention to the further expansion of his knowledge in the field of foreign languages. Engels lived in Manchester until 1870, maintaining an almost daily correspondence with Marx, in which they jointly discussed the most varied questions of theory, politics, tactics, and questions of “economy.” During his stay in Manchester, Engels wrote a large number of works on military issues, in which he was deeply interested. Lenin considered Engels a great expert in military affairs. During this period, Engels paid much attention to the further expansion of his knowledge in the field of foreign languages. Engels lived in Manchester until 1870, maintaining an almost daily correspondence with Marx, in which they jointly discussed the most varied questions of theory, politics, tactics, and questions of “economy.”

With the founding of the First International, Engels, together with Marx, fought against the Proudhonists, Bakuninists and all other anarchists. In the fall of 1870, Engels moved from Manchester to London. Upon arrival here, he was co-opted into the General Council of the First International. But even after the International ceased to exist, Marx and Engels continued to lead the labor movement, and in view of Marx’s busyness with work on Capital, the main burden of the struggle against trends hostile to Marxism fell on Engels’ shoulders. Engels’ articles against Dühring, published in 1877-1878, belong to this period. These articles were then used to compose the famous work of Engels “ Anti Dühring.” About this work, Lenin wrote: “The greatest questions from the field of philosophy, natural science and social sciences are analyzed here ... This is an amazingly informative and instructive book.” At the same time, Engels devoted himself to the study of natural sciences and mathematics, the results of which can be judged by his “Dialectics of Nature.” After the death of Marx, Engels took up the processing and publication of volumes II and III of Capital, which Marx did not have time to finish. In 1885, Engels published the second volume, and in 1894 – the third volume of Capital. In his work on volumes II and III of Capital, Engels erected a monument to his friend. This period also includes the work of Engels “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.” In 1888 Engels’ book was published “Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy,” according to which, as according to “Anti Dühring,” generations of Marxists learn the basics of dialectical and historical materialism.

In the early 1890s, Engels, in letters to various figures, further developed the ideas of historical materialism. The vulgarizers of Marxism asserted that historical materialism, while attaching decisive importance to changes in the economy, denies any role of the superstructure – the state, ideology, etc. This understanding of Marxism was fraught with a serious danger, since it pushed to passive contemplation of the historical process and underestimated the enormous role of ideas, political institutions, the struggle of the workers for the conquest of political power. This understanding, wrote Engels to Mehring in 1893, “is based on a stereotyped, non-dialectical view of cause and effect as two invariably opposing poles, and interaction is completely overlooked.”

In his letters, Engels reveals the interaction of the basis and superstructure of society, shows the specific features of the development of ideology (philosophy, religion, art) in contrast to economics, criticizes those “Marxists” who, having memorized some general principles of historical materialism, do not take the trouble to study in detail. specific facts of history.

While carrying out his theoretical work, Engels simultaneously exercised the practical leadership of the international revolutionary workers’ movement. He showed great interest in the revolutionary movement in Russia and wrote a number of articles on social relations in Russia. Engels wrote in 1885 that the Russians were approaching their democratic revolution. “The revolution has been healed to break out within a certain time; but it breaks out every day. Under these conditions, the country is like a charged mine, to which it only remains to bring the wick.” Engels clearly saw that the political revolution in Russia would be of great importance for the Western European labor movement. From the first days of his political activity until the end of his life, Engels was an ardent revolutionary fighter. He was the recognized leader of the international labor movement, the best spokesman for its fundamental class interests. Engels waged a merciless struggle against opportunism in the workers’ parties, exposed and severely criticized their mistakes, and gave a revolutionary direction to their work. “After the death of Marx,” wrote Lenin, “Engels alone continued to be the adviser and leader of the European socialists.” Engels died on August 5, 1895. “The Russian revolutionaries,” pointed out V. I. Lenin, “have lost their best friend in him.”

Lasselle, Ferdinand (1825-1864)

Ferdinand Lassalle (1825-1864) – an opportunist leader of the German workers’ movement, who supported the policy of Bismarck, with whom he was in a secret alliance. Lasalle rejected the revolutionary struggle of the workers against capitalism. According to him, it is enough for the working class to win universal suffrage in order to overcome the domination of capital. Having declared the Prussian monarchy a supra-class state, Lassalle put forward a program for the creation of “productive partnerships” for workers, receiving subsidies from the Prussian government.

This police “socialism” Lassalle passed off as a socialist philosophy. It is not surprising, therefore, that Lassalleanism became an ideological source for all opportunists and revisionists in their struggle against the revolutionary theory and practice of the proletariat. Modern leaders of right-wing socialists cite Lassalle to substantiate their vile claims about the supra-class nature of dollar “democracy,” about “peace” and the growth of capitalism into socialism “with the help of American bankers and industrialists,” about “class peace” between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The reactionary leaders of the American yellow trade unions (Walter Reuther and others) openly declared that they rely on Lassalle’s “principles” in their treacherous activities to disrupt the strike movement in the United States.

Speaking on questions of philosophy, Lassalle declared himself to be a supporter of Hegel, from whom he first of all took the idea of self-development of the “absolute spirit,” the main embodiment of which is supposedly the state. The history of human society, according to Lassalle, is the incessant progress of reason. Lassalle spoke not about the struggle of opposites, but about their reconciliation. With the help of Hegel’s idealist dialectics, Lassalle substantiated his reactionary idea of reconciling the German proletariat with the Junker-bourgeois regime. The classics of Marxism subjected Lassalleanism to merciless criticism. In the “Critique of the Gotha Program” Marx completely exposed the harm of the theoretical and political attitudes of Lassalleans. In a letter to Engels of February 1, 1858, Marx exposes Lassalle’s book on Heraclitus: “the Dark Heraclitus by Lassalle is essentially a student’s concoction. However, despite Lassalle’s boasting that until now Heraclitus was a book sealed with seven seals, he essentially did not add absolutely nothing new to what Hegel says in his History of Philosophy” (Marx and Engels, Selected Letters, 95-96). Lenin gave criticism of Lassalle’s philosophical views in the Philosophical Notebooks, in the synopsis of Lassalle’s book “The Philosophy of Heraclitus the Dark from Ephesus.” Lenin showed Lassalle’s inability to go beyond the flat, epigonic exposition of Hegelian philosophy, beyond chewing on Hegelianism. Lenin characterizes Lassalle as a Hegelian of the old type, as a militant idealist and an enemy of advanced science.

Dietzgen, Joseph (1828-1888)

Joseph Dietzgen (1828-1888) – German leatherworker, social democrat, independently developed a number of questions of philosophy and came to conclusions very close to the dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels.

After the revolution of 1848, he emigrated to America. In 1864, in search of work, he came to Russia. Working in a tannery in St. Petersburg, Dietzgen devoted all his leisure time to works in the field of philosophy, political economy and socialism. In Russia he wrote a large philosophical treatise “The essence of the mental labor of man,” a review of the first volume of “Capital” by K. Marx. In 1869 Dietzgen returned to Germany, and then moved again to America, where he wrote his philosophical works: “Excursions of a socialist in the field of the theory of knowledge” and “Acquisition of philosophy.”

Marx highly appreciated Dietzgen as a thinker. Noting a number of mistakes and confusion in his views, Marx wrote that Dietzgen expressed “many excellent ones, and as a product of the independent thinking of a worker. Worthy of amazement: thoughts.” Engels gave Dietzgen the same high assessment. “And it is remarkable,” wrote Engels, “that we were not alone in discovering this materialistic dialectic, which for many years now has been our best tool of labor and our sharpest weapon; the German worker Joseph Dietzgen rediscovered it independently of us and even independently of Hegel.”

The main question of philosophy and Dietzgen solved materialistically. He sharply criticized the “blind chicken” – philosophical idealism, as well as vulgar materialism, opposed the two camps in philosophy and cruelly castigated the vile “party of the middle.” He called the idealists the “certified lackeys” of clericalism. Defending the materialistic theory of reflection in knowledge, Dietzgen made a number of mistakes: he exaggerated the relativity of human knowledge, making concessions to idealism and agnosticism, identified consciousness and matter, asserted the innate nature of some concepts, etc. However, these, like some others, are not mistakes that can underestimate the merits of Dietzgen in the field of philosophy. Dietzgen was a militant atheist.

In Materialism and Empirio-Criticism Lenin, defending the basically correct dialectical-materialist theory of knowledge of Dietzgen and noting his mistakes, at the same time sharply criticized the attempts of idealists to create from these mistakes a certain system – “dietzgenism,” which Dietzgen’s son, the Machist Eugen Dietzgen and other Machists and revisionists wanted to oppose Marxism. “Dietzgenism” is a reactionary and fraudulent invention of the Machists who tried to turn the materialist Joseph Dietzgen into a Machist. “Dietzgenism,” in contrast to dialectical materialism, Lenin wrote, is confusion, there is a step towards reactionary philosophy, there is an attempt to create a line not out of what is great in Joseph Dietzgen’s materialism, a lot of great things!), but from what he has weak!.”

Academic Socialists

The so-called “academic socialists,” or in German Kathedersozialisten (socialists of the chair, or of the university department) was a theoretical and political trend that arose in the second half of the 19th century. in German universities. The “academic socialists” – mostly economists and sociologists belonging to the “Historical School” – tried to prove that a people’s state could be built in Prussian Germany through reform, without the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist-landlord state, without a class struggle. They passed off state capitalism for socialism. In 1872, the Kathedersozialisten formed in Germany the Union of Social Policy to “preach from the chair” social reforms and socialism from above, to promote “class peace,” “non-partisanship,” “overclass science,” etc.

“Academic socialism” was a variation of Bismarck’s Prussian-Junker policy, which presented the German Prussian-Junker state as a “people’s” state building socialism. This reactionary ideology was imposed, for example, by the Lassalleans on the working class of Germany and was exposed by Marx in the Critique of the Gotha Program (1875). The “academic socialists” in Germany were Hildebrand, who openly fought against Marx and Engels, Gustav von Schmoller, Adolph Wagner, Lujo Brentano, Johann Plenge, Hanns Delbrueck, Ferdinand Toennies (sociologist who created the concept of the “Volksgemeinschaft” used by the Hitlerite fascists), Werner Sombart and other bison of Prussianism and capitalism. In the labor movement in Germany, their line was supported by the Lassalleans. After World War I, Gottfried Feder, Ottmar Spann, Hans Freyer, Carl Schmitt and other openly fascist economists and sociologists picked up from where the “academic socialists” had left. And it’s indeed correct to say that if the German sociologists of the late 19th and early 20th century had earned themselves the name “ideological bodyguards of the Hohenzollerns,” then the German sociologists of the 1930s were the “ideological SA and SS.”

Dühring, Eugen (1833-1921)

EugenDühring (1833-1921) – German professor of mechanics, philosopher and economist. In philosophy – an eclectic who combined positivism, inconsistent mechanistic materialism and frank idealism. He spoke out against the teachings of Friedrich Engels at a time when the Social Democratic Party of Germany, which emerged from the union of two previously independent parties – the Lassalleans and Eisenachers – was strengthening its ranks and when questions of theory acquired particular importance.

Among some Social Democrats, Dühring’s confused and harmful views on philosophy, political economy, and socialism found support. These views were supported in particular by Bernstein (later the leader of the revisionists). Considering the danger posed by the writings of Dühring for the still not strong German workers’ movement, Engels opposed Dühring and subjected his views to devastating criticism in a specially written book Anti-Dühring.

Schopenhauer, Arthur (1788-1860)

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) – an extremely reactionary German idealist philosopher, ideologist of Prussian Junkers. Schopenhauer’s main work, The World as Will and Representation, was published in 1818, but Schopenhauer’s philosophy gained fame after the revolution of 1848, when the German liberal bourgeoisie, frightened by the revolutionary movement of the popular masses, threw itself into the arms of reaction. The influence of Schopenhauer’s philosophy grew especially after his death, in the era of the German Empire. Schopenhauer is the worst enemy of materialism and dialectics. He opposes the materialistic worldview with metaphysical idealism hostile to scientific thought. Taking from Kant the subjective-idealistic understanding of phenomena as conditioned by consciousness, Schopenhauer rejects the Kantian unknowable “thing-in-itself,” arguing that the essence of the world is the world-shaft will. Schopenhauer’s voluntarism differs from ordinary religious views in that he recognizes the dominance of a blind, unreasonable, senseless will over the world.

His “objective” idealism is, as a result of this, one of the forms of irrationalism, since the unreasonable will, which supposedly lies at the basis of all things, excludes the lawfulness of the development of nature and society and thereby the possibility of scientific, logical knowledge. Schopenhauer’s idealism opens the door wide to obscurantism. Another feature of Schopenhauer’s idealism, which won him success among the ideologists of the imperialist ruling class, is the denial of all historical progress, pessimism, which followed from his voluntarism. Schopenhauer’s worldview is imbued with a burning hatred for the revolution, for the people, for democracy; he hates even moderate constitutional democratic reforms. Fighting against ideological, progressive, realistic art, Schopenhauer preaches a misanthropic aestheticism, alien to the vital interests of people,

He opposes indifference, aimlessness, contemplation of artistic intuition to effective, progressive, ideological artistic creativity. Schopenhauer’s philosophy ends with the proclamation of the mystical ideal of “nirvana” borrowed from the Buddhist religion – absolute serenity that kills the “will to live.” This rotten philosophy of reaction was taken up by the imperialist obscurantists and used as one of the means of poisoning public consciousness. Schopenhauer’s voluntarism and misanthropy served as one of the sources of the ideology of German fascism.

Nietzsche, Friedrich (1844-1900)

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was an extremely reactionary German idealist philosopher, an outspoken apologist for exploitation and aggression, a direct predecessor of the fascist ideologists. The philosophy of Nietzsche took shape during the period when capitalism entered the stage of imperialism and is a reaction of ruling class ideology to the aggravation of class contradictions, to the growth of political activity of the working class and the spread of socialist ideas. The entire worldview of Nietzsche is permeated with hatred for the “spirit of the revolution,” for the masses of the people.

He considers labor a shame, slavery, in his words, belongs to the “essence of culture,” and exploitation is in connection with “the essence of all living things”; the masses for Nietzsche are “slaves”; “herd.” He is infuriated by the very idea of socialism, he is outraged by the existence of trade unions, the granting of voting rights to workers. All his thoughts are directed to the fact that by any effort to delay the accomplishment of the “apparently inevitable revolution.”

From this point of view, he subjected “all values to a reassessment,” revised the norms of liberal ideology, rationalist philosophy, traditional ethics, and the dogmas of the Christian religion. Nietzsche believed that they relax the will to fight, are incapable of suppressing the growing revolutionary movement, and put forward, in opposition to the traditional hypocritical liberal ideology, the openly predatory principles of anti-humanism, anti-democracy, cynical immoralism. He sharply differentiates an ideology designed to educate the obedience of workers (“morality of slaves”) from an ideology designed to educate a “caste of masters” (“morality of masters”).

Philosophy of Nietzsche – voluntarism. Nietzsche denied objective regularity, ascribed decisive, primary significance to will. The driving force of all processes occurring in nature and society, Nietzsche declares “the will to power.” Falsifying the Darwinian law of the “struggle for existence,” he recognizes it as a universal principle, while replacing the concept of “struggle for existence” with the concept of “struggle for power.” For the “caste of masters” he preaches unrestrained individualism (the cult of the “superman”), never-ending predatory aggression, disregarding all norms of law and morality. Denying progress in nature and society, Nietzsche opposes the scientific theory of development with the myth of the “eternal return of all things,” according to which history does not go forward, but constantly returns back to the stages passed earlier.

The reactionary, misanthropic philosophy of Nietzsche, imbued with hatred of the working people and praising the cult of strength and the “blond beast,” is the best fit with the ideology of the imperialists. The philosophy of Nietzsche was widely used by the German fascists and is after the Second World War used by the ideologists of imperialism.


Neo-Kantianism is one of the bourgeois philosophical trends of the second half of the 19th century, which reproduced and raised into a system everything wrong, reactionary, dead, subjective-idealistic that was contained in Kant’s philosophy. The sharpest criticism of neo-Kantianism was directed against Marxism. Neo-Kantianism was widespread in Germany, Italy and Russia. In Russia, representatives of neo-Kantianism were the “legal Marxists” – Struve, Bulgakov, and others.

Lenin exposed the neo-Kantian revision of Marxism and revealed its essence hostile to the working class. After the world imperialist war of 1914-1918. neo-Kantianism gave way to another reactionary trend – neo-Hegelianism. Supporters of neo-Kantianism in the second half of the 19th century. the philosophers Liebmann, Love, and the physicist Helmholtz. The neo-Kantians tried to reconcile science with Kant’s idealistic philosophy.

They denied the existence of a “thing-in-itself,” considering it an “alien drop of blood,” refused to recognize the objective laws of society, reduced the categories of science to subjective norms, etc. Thus, the neo-Kantians not only shouted “back to Kant,” but also criticized Kant for the elements of materialism in his philosophy. Neo-Kantianism received the greatest completeness in two main schools, both centered in Germany: Marburg (Cohen, Natorp, Cassirer) and Freiburg (Windelband, Rickert). Neo-Kantianism became almost the official philosophy of the Second International, Berstein, Kautsky, M. Adler, Vorlender and other revisionists tried to combine neo-Kantianism with Marxism. Right-wing socialists – modern successors of the old reformists – also use neo-Kantianism in their struggle against Marxism.

Mach, Ernst (1838-1916)

Ernst Mach (1838-1916) – Austrian physicist and idealist philosopher. Mach’s subjective-idealistic philosophy is set forth in his works Analysis of Sensations (1885), Cognition and Delusion (1905), and others. Mach viewed things as “complexes of sensations,” denying the existence of an external world independent of people’s consciousness. He also interpreted time and space, causality, regularity, etc. in the same subjective and idealistic way as Berkeley and Hume. Mach’s philosophy is extremely eclectic.

Mach falsified the new data of natural science in the interests of the victory of fideism over materialism. “The philosophy of the natural scientist Mach relates to natural science,” wrote Lenin, “just as the kiss of the disciple Judas related to Christ, Mach in the same way betrays natural science to fideism, moving essentially towards philosophical idealism,” Lenin revealed the class tendency that lay at the basis of Mach’s philosophy and which was entirely reduced to subservience to the fideists in their struggle against philosophical materialism in general and against historical materialism in particular.

The philosophy of Machism found support among Western European “Marxists” such as Friedrich Adler and Otto Bauer, and in Russia among one part of the party intelligentsia who considered themselves Marxists, but never firmly held the positions of Marxism (Bogdanov, Bazarov, Lunacharsky, Yushkevich, Valentinov etc.). Machian views, contrary to science, are widespread among Western physicists, adherents of modern “physical” idealism. A crushing criticism of the teachings of Mach and the Machians is given in Lenin’s book Materialism and Empirio-Criticism.

Avenarius, Richard (1843-1896)

Richard Avenarius (1843-1896) – German reactionary philosopher, subjective idealist, one of the founders of empirio-criticism. Avenarius denied the objective reality of the world, proceeding from a subjectively idealistic position: “thinkable as existing” is only a sensation. According to Avenarius, consciousness and being, subject and object (“I” and “environment”) are in constant, obligatory connection (“fundamental coordination”); there is no being without consciousness, there is no consciousness without being. But Avenarius considered consciousness to be the basis of this connection. According to Avenarius, a thing cannot exist independently of consciousness, without a thinking subject.

Therefore, the connection between “I” and “environment,” “the fundamental coordination of Avenarius and Co. is subjective idealism.” This entire artificial system of Avenarius contradicts science, which has proven that consciousness is the product of a long historical development of matter and that there was a time when there was no man on earth with his consciousness. Trying to get out of the absurdities to which the doctrine of “principled coordination” led, Avenarius put forward an equally ridiculous mystical theory of a “potential central term.” According to this idealistic theory, we “imagine” ourselves, that is, we imagine ourselves as existing at a time when man did not yet exist, but there was already a globe.

Avenarius had a great influence on the Russian Machians: Bogdanov, Bazarov and others. The philosophy of Avenarius, as one of the expressions of ideological reaction in the era of imperialism, Lenin subjected it to critique in the book “Materialism and Empirio-criticism.” He showed that this philosophy serves the clergy, serves the same purposes as the philosophy of Berkeley and Hume.

Bernstein, Eduard (1850-1932)

Eduard Bernstein (1850-1932) – a representative of revisionism and opportunism, one of the leaders of the German reformist social democracy. Bernstein denied and in every possible way distorted the basic provisions of Marxism under the guise of revising them. He opposed Marx’s theory of the class struggle, against Marx’s doctrine of the inevitability of the collapse of capitalism, of the socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Rejecting the ultimate, supposedly “indeterminate” goal of the proletariat – socialism, considering the only task of the labor movement to be the struggle for reforms aimed at “improving” the economic situation of workers under capitalism, Bernstein put forward an opportunist formula: “the ultimate goal is nothing, the movement is everything.”

Lenin wrote that this “catchword” of Bernstein expresses the essence of revisionism in the best possible way – “from time to time to determine their behavior, to adapt to the events of the day,” forgetting the fundamental interests of the proletariat, to sacrifice them for the real or supposed benefits of the moment. The backbone of Bernschgheinianism, the vehicle of bourgeois influence on the working class, was the “labor aristocracy.”

In philosophy, Bernstein opposed the Marxist materialist dialectic, identifying it with Hegel’s idealist dialectic. Bernstein’s philosophical views were an eclectic, unprincipled combination of Marxism with idealism, with Kantianism. Lenin in a number of works (“Marxism and Revisionism,” “What is to be done?,” “State and Revolution”) completely exposed Bernstein’s revisionist views.

Kautsky, Karl (1854-1938)

Karl Kautsky (1854-1938) – German social democrat, renegade, ardent enemy of the dictatorship of the proletariat and Marxism. “Kautsky, the greatest authority of the Second International, is an extremely typical and vivid example of how the verbal recognition of Marxism led in fact to its transformation into “Struvism” or “Brentanism” ... that is, into a liberal bourgeois teaching, recognizing the non-revolutionary “class” struggle of the proletariat ... “. At the prime of his career, Kautsky wrote such Marxist works as The Economic Teachings of Karl Marx (1886) and The Agrarian Question (1898). But even in those days, Kautsky deviated from Marxism and perverted it. So, from the Erfurt program, he excluded the clause on the dictatorship of the proletariat.

In the Second International, Kautsky took a formally centrist position between the Bornsteinians and the Left Social Democrats – F. Mehring, R. Luxemburg and K. Liebknecht, but actually supported the right, yielding to Bernstein, surrendering the position to opportunism. Kautsky supported Martov and the Mensheviks in their struggle against the Bolsheviks. During the First World War, Kautsky took a treacherous bourgeois-chauvinist position. On the fundamental question of Marxism – the dictatorship of the proletariat – he made one concession after another to opportunism, until he himself finally slipped into the swamp of opportunism. He denied the need to destroy the bourgeois state machine and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. Kautsky contrasted the doctrine of the dictatorship of the proletariat with his liberal-bourgeois theory of “pure,” “supra-class” democracy.

On the national-colonial question, Kautsky supported the positions of the right-wing Social Democrats, Russian Mensheviks, Bundists, and fought against the Marxist solution of the national question. Lenin exposed Kautsky’s anti-Marxist theory of “ultra-imperialism,” which aimed to support dying capitalism. After the Great October Socialist Revolution Kautsky intensified his counter-revolutionary “theoretical” and practical activity even more. He helped the right-wing German Social Democrats stifle the German revolution of 1918-1919, opposed the strengthening of ties with Soviet Russia, slandered the dictatorship of the proletariat and Marxism, and opposed dialectical and historical materialism. The Communist Party fully exposed Kautsky and Kautskyism, and this was of tremendous importance for the ideological and political education of the international proletariat in the spirit of revolutionary Marxism.

Kautsky completed his path of theoretical apostasy with his work A Materialist Understanding of History (two-volume edition, 1927). This book presents a vulgar eclectic mixture of bourgeois philosophical theories, which Kautsky raises and contrasts with dialectical and historical materialism. At the present time, Kautsky’s reformist line continues to be pursued by right-wing socialists and other pseudo-socialists, agents of imperialism in the labor movement.


Neo-Hegelianism is one of the bourgeois philosophical trends of the 19th-20th centuries. Neo-Hegelianism bases its provisions on the use of the reactionary sides of Hegel’s philosophy. Neo-Hegelians criticize Hegel’s objective-idealistic system from the standpoint of subjective idealism, and they turn Hegel’s dialectic into subjective, discarding its “rational kernel” – the idea of development. Neo-Hegelians are ardent enemies of dialectical materialism, in politics they are reactionaries, defenders of theories that cover and defend the direct dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie and the exploitation of the working people, bourgeois nationalism and chauvinism.

Neo-Hegelianism emerged simultaneously with imperialism as one of the expressions of political bourgeois reaction in the era of imperialism. Neo-Hegelianism reached its development in the years after the First World Imperialist War. Neo-Hegelianism adopted the main provisions of Hegel’s “Philosophy of Nature” and “Philosophy of Right,” in which the conservative side of Hegel’s philosophy received the greatest expression. Neo-Hegelianism attaches particular importance to the creation of “teachings” proving that the more a person cognizes God, the freer he is; that a nation, a (bourgeois) state is an eternal integrity, and a person, as a part of them, is completely subordinate to them, dissolved in them and must sacrifice everything for them; that the main content of the history of mankind is the struggle of nations, not classes.

Dialectics, in the view of the German neo-Hegelian Richard Kroner, takes place only in spirit and is irrational in nature. The Italian neo-Hegelian Giovanni Gentile developed a subjective-idealistic theory: there is only an active subject; history is a product of the free creativity of the spirit; there are no objectively operating laws in the world, an active subject dictates laws to the world. Gentile’s philosophy is “actuality,” the reactionary ideology of an imperialist who actively opposes objective historical necessity. The German social reformist Siegfried Marck combined neo-Hegelianism with neo-Kantianism, creating a “critical dialectic.”

He fought against Hegel’s dialectical doctrine of self-movement as a result of the struggle of contradictions. In his work against Marxism, he tried to prove that materialism cannot be combined with dialectics. The German Arthur Liebert preached “tragic” dialectics, Dialectics, according to Liebert, reflects the indestructibility of antagonism, the eternity of the contradiction between reality and “obligation.” Liebert expressed the decadent ideology of the modern bourgeoisie, which sees no way out of the general crisis of capitalism. Neo-Hegelianism is closely related to fascism. Relying on neo-Hegelianism, fascism sought to “theoretically” substantiate its misanthropic ideas.

Husserl, Edmund and Phenomenology

Phenomenology – in Hegel’s philosophy – is the idealistically perverted idea of the historical development of human consciousness from direct sensory perception to “absolute knowledge,” interpreted as self-development and self-knowledge of the spirit; 2) the reactionary, subjective-idealistic theory, created by the German philosopher E. Husserl (1859-1938) and widespread in the bourgeois philosophy of the era of imperialism. Phenomenology is a typical product of the degeneration and decay of bourgeois ideology.

It completely divorces philosophy from science and life and turns it into an area of groundless scholastic speculation. Husserl defines phenomenology as the main philosophical science. Its subject is the phenomena of consciousness in their relation to objects. At the same time, when a phenomenologist talks about “consciousness,” he does not mean real social consciousness and not even the real consciousness of a living thinking individual, but “pure,” transcendental consciousness, divorced from a person, his mental activity, and even more so from the social environment.

When a phenomenologist speaks about “objects,” he does not mean real things, not concrete objects and their reflections in consciousness, but “ideal” objects that are not involved in the material world and concrete, sensible things. Phenomenology, according to its supporters, is a non-preconditioned science, independent of sensory experience and preceding logical concepts; it is based on the description and analysis of “immediate data” of pure consciousness, on intellectual intuition, with the help of which the “perception of the essence” of ideal objects is allegedly carried out. This is the “subject” of phenomenology and its antiscientific method, which represents boundless scope for useless scholastic balancing act and empty play with abstruse words.

The main goal of this decadent philosophy is to obscure the human mind, distract it from actual life and scientific problems, from the correct, fruitful methods of theoretical thinking. Husserl’s phenomenology served as the philosophical basis for one of the most corrupted reactionary worldviews of the imperialist bourgeoisie – existentialism. The Center for the International Phenomenological Society is located in New York. It organizes the “scientists” of the capitalist countries, supporters of phenomenology, to fight against the growing influence of the advanced ideas of Marxist philosophical materialism.

Spengler, Oswald (1880-1936)

Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) was a German idealist philosopher, the ideologue of Prussian Junkers, one of the ideological predecessors of German fascism. The main work of Spengler, setting out his philosophy of history, “The Decline of the West” was published shortly after the defeat of Germany in the First World War and was a huge success among the ideologists of imperialism. In this work, Spengler predicts the inevitable collapse of the capitalist civilization, which he identifies with European culture.

Spengler’s philosophy is imbued with a vicious hatred for the working people, for socialism and revolution. He declares the workers (the “fourth estate”) “outside of culture,” “outside of history”; the mass, Spengler declares, is the end of everything, “radical nothing.” Spengler praises the “Old Prussian spirit,” the monarchy, the nobility and militarism. For him, war is “an eternal form of higher human existence.”

Spengler’s “philosophy of history” is based on the denial of scientific knowledge. The historical researcher, in his opinion, is the more significant, the less he belongs to science. Spengler opposes intuition to logical, rational knowledge. Fighting against the scientific, materialistic understanding of history, he denies the principle of causality and regularity in social life. Spengler rejects the possibility of knowing objective truth, defending absolute relativism. Along with the historical regularity, Spengler rejects the concept of historical progress, tries to prove the meaninglessness of history and the absence of development in it. Spengler contrasts the scientific understanding of natural historical development with historical fatalism – predestination, “destiny.” Spengler also denies the unity of world history. His history breaks down into a number of completely independent, unique “cultures,” special organisms above and beyond, having an individual destiny and experiencing periods of emergence, flourishing and dying.

Spengler reduces the task of the philosophy of history to comprehending the “morphological structure” of each “culture,” which supposedly is based on the “soul of culture.” According to Spengler, Western European culture entered a stage of decline already starting from the 19th century, that is, with the victory of capitalism; the period of its heyday was the era of feudalism. Spengler’s militant, Black-Hundred obscurantism, hostile to scientific thinking and advancing “German socialism” against “Marxist socialism,” by which, of course, the restoration of the feudal-militarist old Prussian regime, served as one of the sources of the ideology of Hitlerite fascism. A “philosophy of history” close to Spengler’s views was after the Second World War promoted by one of the ideologues of American-British imperialism, the English historian Arnold Toynbee.