Social Scientist. v 8, no. 87 (Oct 1979) p. 79.


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PHILOSOPHY IN THE USSR: PROBLEMS OF DIALECTICAL MATERIALISM, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1977,pp279, Rs 6.

THE volume under review contains a selection of articles by prominent Soviet philosophers. Divided into three sections—general methodological problems, the dialectics of being and consciousness and the theory of knowledge—these articles reflect the contribution the philosophy of dialectical materialism has made to the solution of both traditional and contemporary philosophical problems.

The collection is significant because it also unfolds the capacity of the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism to creatively enrich its categories in the light of the discoveries made in the specialized branches of natural sciences. Rejecting the ideal of "absolute knowledge5', absolute "not merely as unattainable but rather as insufficiently meaningful and setting in advance a limit on the further development of knowledge" (p 26), the contributors to the volume elucidate that "Marxism regards its propositions only as an approximate reflection of reality which is corrected, developed and enriched in the course of further research" (p24).

Various branches of natural science have contributed, to a greater or lesser degree, to the elucidation of the basic philosophical categories. The philosophical activity of the adherents of Marxism-Leninism is characterized by the view that "in th<* context of vigorous scientific advance, of the breakup of old notions, principles and theories and the emergence of essentially new ones, in the context of intensive mathematisation of sciences the significance of the interaction between philosophy and natural sciences, far from weakening, is enormously enhanced" (pp 8-9) Philosophical interpretation of achievements of natural science, which goes hand in hand with the interpretation of human cognition, technology and material and spiritual culture, reveals the most general



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