[Marxism] Reading Ilyenkov

Kristian Lasslett kristianlasslett at yahoo.com.au
Tue Jun 17 20:27:56 MDT 2008

I just noted a post containing a useful link to an Ilyenkov


I thought I might just add a very brief comment applauding the
merit of Ilyenkov’s work. I have been using The Dialectics of the Abstract and
the Concrete to nut out my understanding of Marx’s method for a PhD I am doing.


The text is particularly useful for those of us who are
still grappling with the fundamentals of Marxism, as it takes certain
categories which Marxists sometimes throw about in a rather bashful, popular way
e.g. the abstract, the concrete, notions, concepts, the ideal etc, rigorously
defining them within the tradition of dialectical philosophy. Ilyenkov does
this (well at least to my understanding) most interestingly by linking these
categories to Marx’s ontology of social being. Having established Marx's
ontological foundations Ilyenkov then proceeds to consider the character of
consciousness, and how all this as a whole justifies Marx’s method of rising
from the abstract to the concrete. In so doing he unifies Marx’s ontology,
epistemology and method. Furthermore, he provides many examples from the
writings of Marx to demonstrate his points. 


What I have also found rather interesting is the particular
synergy between the works of Ilyenkov, and the later works of Lukacs, as well
as Bukharin’s prison treatise, Philosophical Arabesque. All three authors
appear to have been influenced by Lenin’s philosophical notebooks on Hegel, to
good effect.


Though I must add, I am by no means a trained philosopher, so my
apologies if I have mischaracterised Ilyenkov's contribution.


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