New Article: David G. Rowley, The influence of Friedrich Engels on Alexander Bogdanov’s Basic Elements of the Historical View of Nature

Studies in East European Thought (2021)

Abstract: Alexander Bogdanov’s first work of philosophy, Basic Elements of the Historical View of Nature, was fundamentally influenced by Friedrich Engels. As a Marxist philosopher seeking to elaborate a comprehensive, systematic, and scientific worldview appropriate for worker–students, Bogdanov found inspiration in Engels’s Anti-Dühring, which provided him with his monist conception of being and his ‘historical view of nature’ and pointed him toward three critical elements of his work: the monism of motion (energy), Spinoza’s naturalist and determinist system, and Charles Darwin’s conception of natural selection. Bogdanov’s overall goal was to demonstrate that in nature, life, the psyche, and society there is no such thing as self-generated motion; all change occurs because of external action. For the individual and for society this means that existence determines consciousness, and societies evolve as a result of their struggle for existence, which is manifested first and foremost in labor.

Read it online here.

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