Social Scientist. v 6, no. 70 (May 1978) p. 74.


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BOOK REVIEWS

Review Article

Logic, Dialectics and the Theory of Knowledge

E V ILYENKOV, DIALECTICAL LOGIC : ESSAYS ON ITS HISTORY AND THEORY/.Progress Publishers, Moscow 1977.

THIS BOOK is a contribution to one of the most important tasks of Marxist philosophy today, a task as Ilyenkov reminds us "bequeathed to us by V I Lenin, of creating a Logic (with a capital 'L') that is of a systematically developed exposition of dialectics understood as the logic and theory of knowledge of modern materialism.." (p 5). For Marxists, philosophical tasks are not abstract exercises. Lenin's own philosophical studies were not due only to compulsions of pure theory. They resulted from the demands of the proletarian class struggle. As has often been pointed out, the significance of the Leninist stage in Marxist philosophy has as its special quality the fact that Lenin gave it theTorm and content which enabled it to become the base of a party of a new type in the epoch of imperialism and the transition from capitalism to socialism.

The development of Lenin's insights also cannot be an abstract exercise in interpretation but part of the process of changing the world. Ilyenkov situates his own work in this perspective: ^The clearly marked dialectical character of the problems arising in every sphere of social life and scientific knowledge is making it more and more clear that only Marxist-Leninist dialectics has the capacity to be the method of scientific understanding and practical activity." (p 5).

It is too early, however, to claim that the task has been completed. Contributions like Ilyenkov's and other philosophers before him (one may mention Kopnin, Kumpf^ Kosing, Narski) can be considered as ^chapters of the future Logic", chapters however that are still under intensive discussion. Very little of this material is available in English and therefore the translation of Ilyenkov's book and the inclusion of articles on Dialectical Logic by A S Bogomolov and Z M Orudzhev in the recent collection: ^Philosophy in the USSR; Problems of Dialectical Materialism" (Moscow 1977) are to be welcomed. Ilyenkov's book is in



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