Studies in East European Thought (2020)
ABSTRACT: Between 1899 and 1906, Alexander Bogdanov developed a scientific philosophy intended to substantiate the basic principle of historical materialism—the idea that existence determines consciousness—in terms of the most advanced science and empiricist epistemology/ontology of his day. At the same time, however, he strove ‘to answer the broad needs of our workers for an overall worldview’, and in the process of doing so he elaborated a complete philosophical system and a holistic worldview. Although his intention was to serve the proletariat and advance socialist revolution, Bogdanov also provided the sort of integral vision of the interconnectedness of the individual, society, and the cosmos that the Russian intelligentsia had traditionally pursued. Bogdanov adopted a number of the principles of nineteenth-century German and Russian idealism, including the concept of the unity of the subject and the object and the ideas that the laws of thought are the same as the laws of being, that there is no qualitative difference between humans and nature, and that humanity is central in the progressive development of the cosmos. Bogdanov, however, provided a materialist mirror image of the idealist worldview. While Russian idealists celebrated spirituality, individual personhood, freedom, and religion, Bogdanov advocated materialism, collectivism, determinism, and naturalism.
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