Evald Ilyenkov

Philosopher, Military Person

1924 – 1979


Who was Evald Ilyenkov?

Evald Vassilievich Ilyenkov was a Marxist author and Soviet philosopher who did original work on the materialist development of Hegel's dialectics, notable for his account of concrete universals. His works include Dialectical Logic, Leninist Dialectics and the Metaphysics of Positivism and The Dialectics of the Abstract and Concrete in Marx's Capital. Ilyenkov committed suicide in 1979.

David Bakhurst wrote in his article; "Meaning, Normativity and the Life of Mind":

Ilyenkov was important in the revival of Russian Marxist philosophy after the dark days of Stalinism. In the early 1960s, he produced significant work in two main areas. First he wrote at length on Marx's dialectical method. This work, though it now seems obscure, has an important political sub-text: its critique of empiricism is aimed at the positivism and scientism that Ilyenkov thought prevalent in Soviet political and intellectual culture. Second, Ilyenkov developed a distinct solution to what he called ‘the problem of the ideal;’ that is, the problem of the place of the non-material in the natural world. The latter involves a resolute defence of the objectivity of ideal phenomena, which are said to exist as aspects of our spiritual culture, embodied in our environment. ... there are important continuities between Ilyenkov’s ideas and controversies in Soviet philosophy and psychology in the 1920s and ‘30s, particularly ... with Vygotsky’s socio-historical psychology... After the insightful writings of the early 1960s, his inspiration diminished as the political climate became more oppressive. ... He died in 1979, by his own hand.

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Feb 18, 1924
  • Moscow State University
Mar 21, 1979

on July 23, 2013


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