Lenin as Philosopher: A Critical Examination of the by Anton Pannekoek

By Anton Pannekoek

Lance Byron Richey (ed.)

First released in 1938 by way of a pace-setter of the Council Communism move, Anton Pannekoek’s Lenin as thinker deals a vintage left-wing interpretation and critique of Lenin’s philosophical accomplishment and its courting to the advance of Leninism as probably the dominant political thought of the 20th century. offering an in depth dialogue of the philosophical historical past to the Machist controversy which occasioned Lenin’s Materialism and Empirio feedback, Pannekoek’s research nonetheless stands as the most forceful and politically astute discussions of the subject available.

Published right here for the 1st time in an annotated and scholarly version, this masterpiece of Marxist feedback is observed by means of a long new creation increasing and assessing Pannekoek’s dialogue and arguing for the continued relevance of Lenin’s notion for Marxism within the new millennium.

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Extra info for Lenin as Philosopher: A Critical Examination of the Philosophical Basis of Leninism (Revised Edition)

Example text

A. 43 If the philosophical foundations of his scientific training are the ultimate cause of Pannekoek’s reversion to positivism, his enthusiasm for the thought of Joseph Dietzgen is surely the proximate cause. Indeed, perhaps the decisive event of this period of Pannekoek’s intellectual life, equal to his conversion to Marxism, was the discovery by him of the writings of Dietzgen and their concern with the implications of Marxist philosophy for scientific theory. He wrote of this discovery: Here I found for the first time everything that I had been looking for: a clear, systematic elaboration of a theory of knowledge and an analysis of the nature of concepts and abstractions.

First, however, it needs to be made clear in what respect Lenin’s materialism is not at all original, indeed, in what respect it is almost painfully derivative and inadequate. As Bakhurst has already suggested, Lenin’s attempt to explain human consciousness as the result of material processes in the brain is a necessary counterpart of his rejection of subject–object dualism, and requires a new method of conceptualizing mental life which breaks out of the dualism which gave rise to modern empiricism.

Proceeding along philosophical lines laid down not by Marx but by the middle–class scientists under whom he studied, Pannekoek’s philosophical accomplishment, much like Dietzgen’s before him, never went beyond and almost certainly died along with the passing of that class and their historical era. Contrary to Pannekoek’s arguments, it is in fact Lenin who first began (however haltingly) to strike a new path for Marxist philosophy in his Materialism and Empirio–criticism in 1908. 60 Given this, and the limitations both of format and authorial ability, it should not be surprising that an exhaustive or even an adequate discussion of Lenin’s philosophical system (if indeed his writings deserve such a name, which is doubtful) cannot be given here.

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