Materialism and Empirio-criticism

Materialism and Empiriocriticism is a philosophical treatise by Lenin, which he features in the subtitle as " Critical Remarks on a reactionary philosophy."

In the preface to the first edition Lenin wrote in September 1908 that in the course of the year, led a veritable campaign against Marxism a number of authors, who describe themselves as " Marxist." He calls contributions to the philosophy of Marxism, (St. Petersburg, 1908, in Russian) with essays by W. Bazarov, Aleksandr Bogdanov, A. Lunacharsky, J. Berman, O. Helfond, P. Yushkevich, S. Suvorov; Furthermore, materialism and critical realism of Yushkevich (Petersburg 1908, in Russian), The dialectic in the light of modern epistemology of Berman (Petersburg 1908, in Russian) and the philosophical constructions of Marxism by N. Valentinov (1908, in Russian). Lenin accuses these authors to introduce under the guise, the latest " philosophy of science " to throw the dialectical materialism of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels on board. That would so far as to even open the position of fideism would be handled.

In the preface to the second edition from September 2, 1920 Lenin called his philosophical opponents " Machian " (according to the philosophical teachings of Ernst Mach).

" Instead of an Introduction" Lenin preceded by a history of philosophy review: "How many Marxists ' in 1908 and some idealists refuted materialism in 1710 ". Lenin goes into his account of the philosophical controversy between materialism and idealism back to George Berkeley, David Hume, Denis Diderot and d' Alembert.

The fundamental philosophical contradiction between idealism and materialism, Lenin formulated as follows:

" Materialism is the recognition of the objects in itself ', or objects outside the mind; the ideas and sensations are copies or images of these objects. The opposite doctrine ( idealism ) says, the objects do not exist outside the mind '; they are combinations of sensations '. "

The manuscript of Friedrich Engels, known as the " Dialectics of Nature " outsourced, for thirty years in the archives of the German Social Democracy, and was first published in 1925 in the Soviet Union. Lenin did not know it, in contrast to Anti- Dühring and other works of Engels and could therefore not rely on the formulation of its philosophical treatise.

The individual chapters

Chapter I: The epistemology of dialectical materialism Empiriocriticism and Lenin I then treated the " solipsism " of Mach and Avenarius.

Chapter II: The epistemology of dialectical materialism Empiriocriticism and II confronted Lenin, Chernov and Bazarov with the views of Ludwig Feuerbach, Joseph Dietzgen and Friedrich Engels and commented on the criterion of practice in epistemology.

Chapter III: The epistemology of Empiriocriticism and Dialectical Materialism III Lenin studied "matter" and to define "experience" and deals with the issues of causality and necessity in nature, as well as "Freedom and Necessity " and the "principle of economy of thought ".

Chapter IV: The philosophical idealists as combatants and successor of Empiriocriticism Lenin dealt with the left and right critique of Kant, with the philosophy of immanence, Bogdanov Empiriomonism and criticism by Hermann von Helmholtz in the " theory of symbols ".

Chapter V: The latest revolution in natural science and philosophical idealism, Lenin set apart with the thesis that the "crisis in physics " is " gone the matter." He speaks in this context of a " physical idealism ".

Chapter VI: Empiriocriticism and historical materialism, Lenin responded to authors such as Bogdanov, Suvorov, Ernst Haeckel and Ernst Mach.

In an addendum to Chapter IV Lenin addresses the question: " From which side NG Chernyshevsky criticized Kantianism? "


  • VI Lenin: Materialism and Empiriocriticism. Critical comments on a reactionary philosophy. Publisher of Foreign Literature, Moscow, 1947. ( This is a German translation by Frida Rubiner corresponding published by the Marx-Engels- Lenin Institute in Moscow, new Russian edition. )