A.P. Sheptulin

Marxist-— Leninist lad ab A Co)-fo) o) ang

This is 2 systematic presentation of the basic aspects of the Marxist- Leninist philosophy of dialectical and historical materialism: the concepts of matter and consciousness, the laws and categories of dialectics, the mode of production, social revolution, etc. The book also examines the connection between the philosophical concepts and people's practical and cognitive activity. The author draws on modern natural and social sciences and practical expe- rience. Special sections are devoted to a critical analysis of modern idealistic views of the basic problems and cate- gories of philosophy and quasi-scientific concepts of the nature of social phe- nomena.

The book is for readers interested in philosophy and the problems of dialectical and historical materialism.

Professor Alexander Petrovich Shep- tulin, Dr. Phil., is an authority on philosophy, author of studies of dia- lectical materialism, including the monographs, The System of Dialec- tical Categories and The Laws of Materialist Dialectics. In recent years,

he devoted himself to producing popu- lar expositions and textbooks of the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism.

A.P. Sheptulin

Marxist— Leninist Philosophy

Translated from the Russian by Stanislav Ponomarenko and Alexander Timofeyev

Edited by Jane Sayer


Ha aneauticnrom s3eixe

First printing 1978 © Translation into English. Progress Publishers 1978 Printed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics


I 4(01)—78



Foreword Chapter I. The Role of Philosophy in , Society


anh Whd

Philosophy as a World Outlook . .

a) The Concept of a World Outlook

b) The Fundamental Question of Philosophy. Materialism and Idealism

c) Dualism in Philosophy .

d) Searching for a Third Line in Philosophy

e) The Social and sions Roots of Idealism

. Philosophy as Methodology

. Philosophy and Man’s Practical Activities . The Subject-Matter of Philosophy

, Philosophy and Special Sciences

. The Partisanship of Philosophy

Chapter II. The Struggle of Materialism Against Idealism in the Pre-Marxian Philosophy

1. 2.



The Emergence of Philosophy ;

The Struggle Between Materialism and ‘Tdeal- ism in Slave-Owning Society

The Struggle of Materialism Against ‘Idealism in Medieval Philosophy . .

The Materialism of the 17th and 18th Centu- ries and Its Struggle Against Religion and Idealism

. Classical German Philosophy at the End of the

18th and in the First Half of the 19th Centu- ries

6. The Philosophy of 19th- “Century Russian Revolu-

tionary Democrats

Chapter III. The Revolutionary ‘Upheaval i in Philo- sophy Made by Marxism


The Conditions for the Emergence ‘of Marxist Philosophy a a a a) Socio- Economic Conditions Sees 6 ae







75 75



Chapter IV. Matter and Consciousness



b) Natural-Scientific Conditions c) Theoretical Conditions

2. The Substance of the Revolutionary Upheaval

Made by Marx and Engels in Philosophy

3. The ee of Marxist See by


A Critique of the Idealist and Metaphysical Views of Matter I

. Lenin’s Definition of Matter. . Material Entity. Types of Matter . Matter and the Material

Matter as Substance

. Motion—a Universal Form of "the Existence of


a) Narrow Metaphysical Concepts ‘of Motion. The Marxist Concept of Motion

b) Basic Forms of the Motion of Matter

c) The Inherent Connection Between Motion and Matter

d) Motion and Rest

e) Motion and Development

. Space and Time .

a) The Concept of Space ‘and Time | : 5 b) A Critique of Idealist and Metaphysical Concepts of Space and Time : c) The Basic Characteristics of Space and Time

. Reflection as a Universal Property of Matter . Development of the Forms of Reflection . j . Peculiarities of the Psychological Form of


. Consciousness—the Highest Form of the Psychic

Reflection of Reality . Fi

a) The Emergence of Consciousness :

b) The Essence of Consciousness F

c) The Correlation of Consciousness and Matter d) The Material and the Ideal .

e) The Subjectivity of Consciousness .

Chapter V. Knowledge. .




109 111 111




. The Essence of Knowledge

. Practice as the Basis of Knowledge . . . . 135 . The Dialectical Way of ns Settee oy a. LOS a) Live Contemplation . . Sie Fa ove, 13S b) Abstract Thinking .. . 141

c) The Interconnection Between "Sense and Rational Knowledge . . . 145 d) Empirical and Theoretical Knowledge eg, C147 e) Practice as the Criterion of Truth . . . 148

f) Objective Truth. The Interconnection Be- tween Absolute and Relative Truths. . . . 150

4, Forms and Methods of Scientific Knowledge (Cognition) a ia” ae 156 a) Observation . S Whey Set oc GP te BET 57, 6) Experiment 6 20 <e-ce ode fo Be ST c) Comparison 6c Os. es ee 8 d) Hypothesis . 159 ey Analogy. see). ao-# te wm) 2. gent sis 161 f) Model-Building . . . Sta as wer oe ee pe OZ, g) Induction and Deduction sen 164

h) The Method of Ascension from the “Abstract to the Concrete . . 166 i) The Historical and the Lodical: in ‘Knowledge 168 j) Analysis and Synthesis . . . 170 Chapter VI. Categories of Materialist Dialectics . 175 1. The Concept of Category .. . ah target os DAZ 2. The Interconnection of Categories i) Janey 272 3. The Interconnection of Phenomena . .. . 185 a) Connection and Relation as Concepts . . 185

b) A Critique of Idealist and Metaphysical Views of Connection . ...... . 187

c) The Universality of the Interconnection Between Phenomena . 190

4. The Individual, the Particular “and the Uni- versal . . . a) The Concept of the Individual “and " the

General . . 191

b) A Critique of Metaphysical ‘and Idealist Views of the Individual and the General . 192

c) Interconnection Between the Individual and the General . . - a: ey 194 d) The General and the Particular



5. Cause and Effect . . . dae 199 a) The Concept of Cause ‘and Effect - « « 199 b) A Critique of Idealist and Metaphysical

Views of Causalty . . . 200 c) The Interconnection Between Cause and Effect . . etnies ee. ZOO: 6. Necessity and Accident (Chance) Wass 208 a) The Concept of Necessity and Accident (Chance) . . 208

b) A Critique of Idealist ‘and "Metaphysical Views of Necessity and Accident (Chance) . 209 c) The Interconnection Between Necessity and

Accident (Chance) . . . ..... . 213 7. Law) cx os Soe al a ago. «MED a) The Concept of 1a, sey TR Pe eae wae ow Aly DES b) Dynamic and Statistical Laws . . . . . 216 c) General and Particular Laws 218 d) The Interconnection Between General and Particular Laws: 0a) Ghee a ea em, 220 8. Content and Form . . a” oan ake a) The Concept of Content and Form oe at 223 b) A Critique of Idealist and Metaphysical Views of Content and Form . . 224 c) The Interconnection Between Content and Form.) < . 225 d) Part and Whole, Element and Structure . 227 9. Essence and Phenomenon. . ee geeol

a) The Concept of Essence and Phenomenon eco b) A Critique of Idealist and Metaphysical

Views of Essence and Phenomenon .. . 232

c) The Interconnection Between Essence and Phenomenon . . Oe ie aed: te ob Ney OS 10. Possibility and Reality a es Sepseceod: a) The Concept of Possibility and Reality ae Me DOL

b) A Critique of Idealist and Metaphysical Views of Possibility and Reality . . 238

c) The Interconnection Between Possibility and Reality. Types of Possibility . . . . . 241 Chapter VII. The Basic Laws of Dialectics . . . 246

1. The Law of the Transition of Quantitative to Qualitative Changes . . 5 242

a) The Concept of Quality ‘and Quantity - + 247




b) The Essence of the Law of the Transition of Quantitative to Qualitative Changes. . 250 c) A Critique of Metaphysical Views of the Interconnection Between aie and

Quality . . . or iO2 d) A Leap as a Universal Form Ge Transition from One Quality Into Another . . . . 254 e) Evolution and Revolution . . . . 256 2. The Law of the Unity and “Struggle” “of Opposites . . 259 a) The Concepts of Opposite and Contradiction 259 b) The Unity of Opposites . . 260

c) The Relativity of the Unity and the “Abso- luteness of the “Struggle” of Opposites . 262

d) Contradiction and Difference . . .. . 264 e) The Universality of Contradictions . . 265 f) Contradiction-the Source of the Motion and Development of Reality . . ... . . 266 g) Types of Contradiction . . . 268 h) Antagonistic and Non- “antagonistic Contradic- tions . . eg S271 3. The Law of the Negation of Negation 2 3, e273 a) The Concept of Dialectical Negation . . 273 b) The Correlation of Concepts “Dialectical Negation”, “Leap” and “Resolution of Con- tradictions” . . 275 c) The Essence of the ae OE the Negation of Negationj+.! 4. wien ct) a te, 27


Chapter VIII. The Subject-Matter of Historical Mater-

jalism .. . 285

1. Historical NaVevialiam as a "part 3 Marxist Philosophy . . 285

2. Historical Materialism and the Other Social Sciences ... 287

3. The Limitations "of Pre- Marxian Sociological Views .. 289

4. The Development of Sociology into a Science 298 5. Historical Necessity and People’s Conscious Activity. O4..aler ty Taertiese. ep tee a ee ee OL,


Chapter IX. Society and Nature... . Suara 1. On the Unity of Society and Nature ee 2. On Nature's Impact on Society .... 3. Society’s Influence on Nature 4. The Role of Population Growth in the Life of Society . : Chapter X. Material Production’ as the Basis “of Society’s Existence and Development 1. The Concept of Production . ae wee 2. The Productive Forces of Society .. . a) The Essence of Productive Forces . ot b) The Productive Forces of Society and Science . . . Relations of Production . Dialectics of the Development of Productive Forces and Relations of Production... . a) The Dependence of Production Relations on the Level of Development of the Productive Forces . b) The Law of the Correspondence of Produc- tion Relations to the Level of plod of the Productive Forces .. . c) The Influence of Production Relations ¢ on the Development of the Productive Forces . Chapter XI. The Basis and Superstructure 1. Specific Features of the Basis and Superstruc-

2. The Patterns of Development and Replacement

of the Basis and Superstructure...... 353

3. Specific Features of the Basis and Superstruc- ture under Socialism ..... bag fh St a) 2056 Chapter XII. Classes and Class Relations Fa arte . 359 1. Lenin’s Definition of Classes ..... 3h ee oot 2. The Origin of Classes ..... whats. wt, OOF a) A Critique of Idealistic Theories stuanmioe lee SOF

b) The Marxist Theory of the Origin of Classes ..... 366

3. A Critique of the Theory of Stratification and Social Mobility ..... Say Moan Bala rsh Ya SOOO, 4, Society’s Class Structure ...... eee ae Ole a) Basic and Non-Basic Classes . . .. . . 372

b) The Intelligentsia ...... . +s 6 + 324




Ant Ww


CONTENTS af c) The Estates . . . fede Goce 374 d) The So-Called “Middle Classes” Bhss os 376

The Class Struggle as a Motive Force in the Development of Antagonistic Society . 379

The Objective Conditions for the Abolition of Classes ..... 386 Chapter XIII. The Political Ofjanlestion of Secisty 390

The Political Organisation of eri as a Concept 390

. The Origin and Essence of the State: A Critique of Non-Marxist Theories . es de 390 . The Origin and Essence of the State aes 395 . Types and Forms of the State. .... . 398 . Specific Features of the Socialist State... . 401

. Objective Conditions for the Withering waa of the State... . eR ets, a hee oO. Chapter XIV. Social evolnuon, Ae a acrahtert 411

Social Revolution as a Form of Transition trom One Socio-Economic Class System to Another. 411

. The Objective and Subjective Preconditions for a Social Revolution ...... 413

. The Character and Baa Forces of a Social Revolution ..... Pa eicaae 415 . A Socialist Revolution mae Seine) ok a 416

a) The Essence and Specific Features ‘of, a So- cialist Revolution ..... 416

b) The Theory of Socialist Revolution as De- veloped by Lenin ....... 420

c) The Multiple Forms of the Socialist Revolu- HOM pte oeh er tse . . 424 Chapter XV. Social Consciousness and Its Forms 428

. The Essence of Social Being and Social Consci- ousness 428

. The Relative Independence “of Social Con- sciousness 434

. The Influence of Social Consciousness c on Social Being i 435 . The Structure of Social Consciousness 437 a) Social and Individual Consciousness . . . . 437 b) Social Psychology and Ideology .... . 438 c) Forms of Social Consciousness .... . 440




. Political Ideology ........ . Legal Consciousness ........ . Morality .

a) The Essence of Morality ;

b) The Origins of Morality .....

c) The Class Nature of Morality .

d) Elements of the Universal in Morality F e) The Criterion of the Truth in Morality .

. The Arts .

a) The Specifics of: Art as a Form of Social Consciousness . eer oe Bas b) The Social Functions of Art ae Te Ne

t Religion... 5.993

a) Origins and Essence of Religion ok Re

b) The Class Nature of Religion . . .

c) The Abolition of the Social Base of Religion Under Socialism Soe tat ee ake :

Science .. . .

a) The Essence bE Science ;

b) The Connection Between Science and Produc- tion) es Cue

c) The Interrelationships Between Science, the Basis and the Superstructure . . .

Chapter XVI. The Role of the Masses and the Individ- ual in History. Society and the Individual .


2. 3.

The Masses as a Decisive Force of Social Prog-

ress :

The Role of the Personality i in History .

Society and the Individual er

a) The Individual as a Product of Social Dewel- opment. .

b) The Dialectics of the Interrelationship Be- tween Society and the Individual .... .

Chapter XVII. Social Progress ..... Pas wa 1. The Concept of Social Progress ..... pe 2. The Objective Criterion of Social Progress .



Socio-Economic Systems as Stages of Society’s Progress

The Specific Features of Progress in . Exploiting Society .

. The Specific Features of Progress Under Social-

ism .

441 445 449 449 451 453 457 459 462

462 465 470 470 472 474 475 475 476 479 483 483 489 493 493 494 499 499 505 508 515



Marxist-Leninist philosophy is a coherent scien- tific theory that examines the interrelationship between objective reality and consciousness, the universal laws of nature, society and human thought, as well as the laws governing the func- tioning and development of man’s practical and cognitive activities. It is the world outlook of the working class, whose historical mission is to elimi- nate the exploitation of man by man and to build a classless communist society, thus ensuring the all-round development of every individual and the complete satisfaction of his material and cultural requirements. It is also a general method for the cognition and revolutionary remaking of reality.

Thus to study Marxist-Leninist philosophy and master its laws and principles is a task of primary importance for the working people seeking to elim- inate exploitation and to build a new classless society. The Soviet Union and other socialist coun- tries focus particular attention on educating people in the spirit of Marxism-Leninism. The Report of the CPSU Central Committee to the 25th Party Con- gress noted: “Marxism-Leninism is the only reli- able basis for formulating the right strategy and


tactics. It gives us an understanding of the his- torical perspective, helps us to determine the lines of our socio-economic and political development for years ahead, and correctly to find our orienta- tion in international developments.”’!

The purpose of this book is to introduce the reader to the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism. It is a translation from the Russian of A. IT. Wen- TYIHH. Duviocopud MapkKcH3Ma-seHHHH3Ma. M., Tlonutu3gat, 1970. The author has revised and supplemented the Russian edition.

1 L. I. Brezhnev, Report of the CPSU Central Committee and the Immediate Tasks of the Party in Home and Foreign Policy. XXVth Congress of the CPSU, Moscow, 1976, p. 86.

Chapter |


Before expounding Marxist-Leninist philosophy we must establish what philosophy means in gen- eral, how it differs from other forms of social con- sciousness, and what functions it performs.

1. Philosophy as a World Outlook a) The Concept of a World Outlook

Philosophy is the sum total of views on the world, but this definition does not specify its dis- tinguishing feature. The fact is that other views exist in society apart from philosophical ones. So how do philosophical views differ from non-philo- sophical, such as natural-scientific views?

Special natural and social sciences study the laws inherent in certain areas of reality, or in cer- tain processes. Physics, for example, studies phe- nomena related to bodies travelling in space, the movement of molecules, ‘‘elementary’’ particles, and so forth; biology deals with problems related to living nature; economic sciences cover the so- cial relations that take shape during the produc- tion, distribution and consumption of material val- ues; pedagogy deals with upbringing and teaching,


and so on. Philosophy, on the other hand, embraces the entire world and all its processes, rather than confining itself to a certain area of reality or a certain part of the world.

Thus, philosophy develops a system of views on the world as a whole and gives a general interpre- tation of processes occurring within it, i.e. it is the people’s world outlook.

b) The Fundamental Question of Philosophy. Materialism and Idealism

Philosophy studies the relationship of matter and consciousness, nature and spirit, and determines what is primary and what is secondary. The ques- tion of the relation of matter to consciousness is fundamental to philosophy. The answer to it influ- ences the solution of all other philosophical prob- lems.

This is where the major difference lies between philosophy and the other sciences, which do not analyse the relationship of matter and conscious- ness. They confine themselves to studying only the objective properties of phenomena. Even sciences concerned with psychic phenomena do not contrast the material and the ideal.

Philosophers are divided in two major camps— materialists and idealists-depending on how they answer the fundamental question of philosophy.

Materialists maintain that matter is primary in relation to consciousness and underlies all being. Consciousness is secondary, being a property of matter that manifests itself under certain condi-



tions. Materialists include, among many others, the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus, who held that atoms formed the basis of the world; the 17th-century Dutch philosopher Spinoza who re- garded the human mind as an integral property or attribute of matter; and the 18th-century French philosopher Diderot, who maintained that nature existed independently of the mind.

In contrast to materialist philosophers, idealists maintain that it is the spiritual, i.e. consciousness, thought, or idea, that is primary or basic. Matter, they say, is a derivative of spirit or consciousness, being just a form of the latter’s existence.

Though the idealists all agree that spirit forms the basis of the world, they give different inter- pretations to this postulate. Some of them insist that spirit, which underlies all phenomena in the world, exists in the form of human consciousness, sensations, perceptions, notions or ideas, i.e. in the form of subjective human activity. These are called subjective idealists. There are others, the so- called objective idealists, who maintain that the spiritual exists as the so-called Absolute Idea, pure consciousness, and the like.

The 18th-century German philosopher Fichte, for example, was a subjective idealist. He main- tained that the surrounding world was derived from the activity of the subject, from the self-con- sciousness of an “Ego” or “I. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato, on the other hand, represented objective idealism. In his view, the real world around us consisted of ideal substances, while sensuous things were but imperfect copies of the



latter that emerged as a result of the blending of an idea with amorphous matter existing merely as a possibility.

c) Dualism in Philosophy

Materialism, which explains all phenomena on the basis of matter, and idealism, which derives the existing world from spirit or consciousness, are both monistic (from the Greek monos, meaning one) philosophies. They are based on one philo- sophical principle and proceed from one premise.

Yet there are philosophers who seek to prove that the world has two primary bases—material and ideal. These, they say, are independent of each other. One of them underlies the existence of ma- terial things, the physical world, while the other underlies the spiritual world. This doctrine is known as dualism (from the Latin duo, meaning two).

The 17th-century French philosopher Descartes, a dualist, held that reality was based on two sub- stances—material, with extension as its attribute, and ideal, with thought as its attribute. Inde- pendent of each other, these two substances merged in man and assumed the form of body and soul. Though they existed side by side in man, Descartes maintained, they still remained quite independent and equal.

Dualists claim to follow their own, independent line in philosophy, distinct from materialism and idealism. They fail, however, to uphold this line consistently. With respect to specific problems they are compelled to take either a materialist or


an idealist stand, thus making their position in- consistent, contradictory and mechanistic, inso- much as they try to reconcile incompatible prem- ises and principles.

d) Searching for a Third Line in Philosophy

Other philosophers, too, who ultimately prove to be idealists, seek to place themselves above both materialism and idealism and find a third line in philosophy.

Such attempts were especially frequent in the period of developed capitalism, when the victo- rious bourgeoisie came to realise the danger of the materialist world outlook with its inherent atheistic and revolutionary conclusions.

At the turn of the 20th century, Ernst Mach, the Austrian physicist and philosopher, made an at- tempt to define the “third” line in philosophy. He lashed out against both materialist and idealist views, branding them “one-sided”. Mach affirmed that neither matter nor consciousness formed the basis of the world, but rather the ‘neutral elements of the universe’, which could be both material and ideal. Intertwining, they make up the material or physical world, while in relation- ship with man’s nervous system they produce the ideal or psychic world. According to Mach, the physical and psychic worlds are intrinsically inter- connected. The physical world can thus be con- structed from psychic phenomena, but the possi- bility of constructing the psychic world out of physical phenomena is excluded. os


In actual fact, however, these assertions do not constitute any “third” line in philosophy. If the theory of “neutral elements” is reason to affirm that the physical world can be constructed out of psychic phenomena, but not vice versa, then this line of reasoning fully conforms with idealism, since the psychic or the consciousness are primary in his case.

Karl Jaspers, a prominent existentialist like- wise tries to find a “third” line in philosophy. He agrees with Mach that neither matter nor con- sciousness form the basis of the world, but rather something else which includes both of these. Ac- cording to Jaspers, this ‘else’, or this third, is the “universal’’ which manifests itself either as pure “existence”, or “supernatural”, or “consciousness”, or the “universe”, and so forth. If, however, the “universal” proves able to manifest itself as the universe, consciousness, the natural and the super- natural, it in no way differs from the God declared by theologians to be the source of all being. Thus, Jaspers’ views coincide with those shared by ob- jective idealists, who believe that consciousness is the maker of all that exists.

Apart from those philosophers who place them: selves above both materialism and idealism by ig- noring matter and consciousness and searching for a “third” way, there are thinkers, and even schools of thought, that strive for the same goal by neglect- ing the fundamental question of philosophy and declaring it a pseudo-problem devoid of any mean- ing. This view is upheld by the neo-positivists Bertrand Russel, Rudolf Carnap, and others.


The neo-positivists argue that philosophy is unable to determine what is primary—matter or consciousness—and so should ignore the problem. It should confine itself exclusively to logical anal- ysis of scientific data, semantic analysis of words and propositions. A meaningful analysis of scien- tific data, of the semantics of words and proposi- tions, however, is inconceivable without first determining what is primary—matter or conscious- ness—in so far as such an analysis makes it neces- sary to establish whether scientific data reflect definite aspects and relations in the existing world or are products of the creative activity of con- sciousness, thought. The neo-positivists opt for the latter view. They derive the essence of sensuous data and the meaning of words and propositions from the creative activity of consciousness or thought, rather than from the outside world, and thus objectively assume an idealist position.

Thus all attempts to find a “third” line in phi- losophy can only lead to idealism.

e) The Social and Epistemological Roots of Idealism

There are many reasons for the appearance of the idealist view of the environment. Some of them stem from the economic system of society, the social position of its classes and their requirements, while others take root in knowledge, in the cogni- tive activity of man.

The factors of social life that are conducive to the emergence and spread of the idealist view of man’s environment constitute the social roots of


idealism. They include, primarily, the separation of mental from physical labour and their transfor- mation into opposites. Marx and Engels wrote: “Once the ruling ideas have been separated from the ruling individuals and, above all, from the rela- tionships which result from a given stage of the mode of production, and in this way the conclusion has been reached that history is always under the sway of ideas, it is very easy to abstract from these various ideas ‘the idea’, the thought, etc., as the dominant force in history, and thus to consider all these separate ideas and concepts as ‘forms of self- determination’ of the Concept developing in his- tory.”’!

The social roots of idealism also include the striv- ings of the exploiting classes to provide an ideal- ist answer to the fundamental question of philos- ophy and to spread idealist views which provide a theoretical justification of religion, and thus are conducive to the spiritual enslavement of the work- ing people and divert them from the revolutionary struggle to transform the existing situation in the world.

As for the epistemological roots of idealism, they are to be found in the realm of knowledge.

Knowledge or cognition is a complex and con- tradictory process by which reality is reflected in the consciousness of man. Exaggerating any aspect of knowledge, depriving it of bonds with its other aspects and with matter, and absolutising it in-

1 K. Marx and F. Engels, The German Ideology, Moscow, 1976, p. 69.


evitably lead to idealism. The epistemological roots of idealism lie therefore in making an absolute of some aspect or peculiarity of the process of cogni- tion, which leads to one-sided interpretation and distortion of it. “Rectilinearity and one-sidedness,” Lenin wrote, “woodenness and petrification, sub- jectivism and subjective blindness—voild the epis- temological roots of idealism.’’!

Sensations and perceptions are the forms of sense knowledge that depend on man, his nervous system, psychic state, experience, and the like. If, however, we exaggerate this dependence, forget that sensations and perceptions depend not only on man, but also on the objects influencing his sense organs, that they reflect the corresponding aspects of these objects, we come inevitably to subjectivism, i.e. we shall affirm that the content of sensations and perceptions is determined by the subject (man), by his emotions, which will bring us to idealism—the recognition of sensations and perceptions as the basis of all being. This was how idealists, such as Berkeley, Mach, Avenarius, rea- soned,

By cognising the surrounding world, people pin- point the general qualities of the objects and phe- nomena they encounter in everyday life. On this basis, they develop general notions and then con- cepts of such qualities. These notions and concepts pass from one generation to the next, while the objects reflected by them are constantly changing. This creates the impression that concepts are sta-

! VI. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 38, p. 363.


ble, constant, eternal, while objects, on the con- trary, are unstable, transient, temporary. The con- cept “man”, for example, emerged in ancient times, but since the process of its formation has long been forgotten one is inclined to believe it eternal. Individuals, however, are not eternal—they are born and they die. So, exaggerating the relative stability of concepts, depriving them of their bonds with the external objects which they emerged to reflect and turning them into something independ- ent and basic, necessarily leads to idealism.

2. Philosophy as Methodology

Philosophy forms man’s world outlook and ena- bles him to develop an integral idea of world phe- nomena, thus helping him to pattern his everyday behaviour and practical activity. But this is not the only role philosophy plays in society. It also performs methodological functions by developing a general method of cognition which is the totality ot interrelated principles or demands advanced on the basis of general laws discovered in the sur- rounding world and in knowledge, and constituting a conclusion drawn on the basis of the historical development of social knowledge.

The history of philosophy knows two opposing philosophical methods of cognition-the metaphys- ical and the dialectical.

The metaphysical method took shape in the nat- ural sciences in the 16th-17th centuries. At that time natural scientists, in view of the requirements of developing production, set themselves the task


of studying specific aspects and properties of the surrounding world, the concrete forms of being. They broke down the objects of their studies into separate parts, snatched them out of their natural or historical context, and studied ‘‘each one sepa- rately, its nature, special causes, effects, etc.”.! This resulted in a tendency to consider the objects and phenomena of the external world in isolation from their relationship and interdependence, in isolation from their motion and development, which in turn resulted in a general metaphysical method of cognition. According to this method, the objects and phenomena of the external world are isolated, independent of each other, devoid of contradictions and the capacity to develop, with always the same qualitative features, i.e. un- changed.

Characteristically, modern metaphysicists abso- lutise separate aspects and forms of the motion of matter and reduce the higher to the lower.

The principles of the dialectical method of cog- nition began to emerge as natural science started to investigate the processes inherent in objects rather than the objects and their properties themselves. This method postulates that, in reality, all objects and phenomena are intrinsically interconnected and interdependent, that all of them are inherently con- tradictory and that due to the struggle of oppo- sites they undergo constant changes and pass toa higher qualitative state.

The dialectical method is drawn from the general

' F. Engels, Anti-Dilhring, Moscow, 1969, p. 30.


laws of reality and knowledge. It is, therefore, the only consistent scientific (philosophical) method helping scientists in their cognitive activity.

8. Philosophy and Man’s Practical Activities

By studying the general laws of reality and knowledge and developing man's world outlook and general method of cognition on their basis, philosophy influences human life substantially. People’s behaviour and the guiding principles behind their practical activities depend, to a large extent on their general views, on their philo- sophical ideas.

Thus, people who are inclined to the idealist world outlook often give prominence in their per- sonal lives to God, or some other supernatural forces. They are prone to rely on fate, rather than on knowledge of the laws governing changes in their environment. In contrast, people with a Marxist world outlook rely in their activities on knowledge of the objective laws of reality. Their main objective is continuous transformation and improvement of the conditions of life, rather than adaptation to them, as is the goal of people sharing a religious, idealistic world outlook.

Besides, philosophy, dialectical materialism in particular, is linked with practical experience through implementing the methodological func- tion of dialectical materialism. The latter studies the general laws of reality and, on this basis, for- mulates certain principles or demands and require- ments that must be observed in solving a particu-


lar problem. In other words, dialectical materialism develops the method of action, of revolutionary transformation of reality.

4. The Subject-Matter of Philosophy

Having discussed the specific features of philos- ophy and its functions, we may proceed to a definition of its subject-matter.

Philosophy is a world outlook and a method ot cognition developed on the basis of a specific solu- tion to the problem of the relationship between matter and consciousness.

This definition applies to any philosophy, to any philosophical view-materialist or idealist, dialec- tical or metaphysical. But here we do not intend to define the subject-matter of every philosophical school, and will confine ourselves to that of the Marxist-Leninist philosophy.

The Marxist-Leninist philosophy is a_ science studying regularities in the relationship between matter and consciousness, the universal laws of nature, society, and thought, and developing a world outlook and a method of cognising and transforming reality.

5. Philosophy and Special Sciences

Some view philosophy as the “science of sci- ences” that should incorporate all other sciences and allot each one of them its place and the prin- ciples underlying its scope and development. This view was widespread in pre-Marxian philosophy.


Some bourgeois philosophers, however, continued to support this view even after the emergence of dialectical materialism.

Positivists hold the opposite opinion. They maintain that special sciences have no need of philosophy. Moreover, they argue that philosophy should be abolished, since it only harms and ham- pers scientific cognition; nothing in reality corre- sponds to its principles; it studies nothing and cannot study anything; it does not and cannot possibly have a scientific method of cognition.

This is true, to a certain extent, of idealist phi- losophy, which substitutes the construction of various principles on the basis of pure thought for the study of objective reality. Dialectical ma- terialism is a totally different matter, for it has its own subject-matter for study and its own method of cognition.

As distinct from special sciences, which study the specific laws characteristic of a certain field of reality, dialectical materialism studies general laws covering all fields of the objective world and all phenomena. General laws, however, do not mani- fest themselves independently of or alongside specific laws-they do so through the latter. So in order to discover a philosophical law, one has to refer to special sciences, to analyse their specific laws and single out that which recurs in all fields of real life, and is thus universal. By this token philosophy is inseparable from the special sciences and the scientific data obtained by them; it draws on such data and can develop successfully only through generalising scientific information.


Special sciences, in their turn, are inseparable from philosophy and the results of its studies. In- deed, philosophy studies the general laws of reality and the regularities governing the relationship between matter and consciousness and on this basis develops a theory of knowledge and logic, i.e. laws and forms of thinking, and together with all this a general method of cognition. Special sci- ences, on the other hand, cannot exist and devel- op without using logical forms and laws of think- ing. Neither can they do without a general method of cognition. They are unable to evolve all this by themselves, insofar as they do not study the gen- eral laws of reality governing the thinking process and underlying the logical laws and principles of the dialectical method of cognition.

Dialectical materialism and special sciences, though they have their own fields of study, are closely interconnected, interdependent, and cannot develop one without the other.

6. The Partisanship of Philosophy

In any class society philosophy is always parti- san. It evolves a system of views of the world as a whole, of surrounding reality, and at the same time expresses and defends the interests of certain classes or social groups. Through philosophical views, classes and social groups theoretically com- prehend their position in society and their relation- ship with the surrounding world and the processes taking place within it. Philosophy is the basis of the world view of a definite class, and as such it


moulds the way of thought and behaviour of this class, shaping its requirements and ideals. “Re- cent philosophy,” Lenin wrote, “is as partisan as was philosophy two thousand years ago. The con- tending parties are essentially—although this is concealed by a pseudo-erudite quackery of new terms or by a weak-minded non-partisanship—ma- terialism and idealism.’’!