Lenin’s Social Philosophic Hеritage and Destiny of Sociology in the USSR (in the 1920s)

Lenin’s Social Philosophic Hеritage and Destiny of Sociology in the USSR (in the 1920s)

Kononov I.F

Dr. Sci. (Soc.), Professor, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Sociology, Lugansk National University named after Taras Shevchenko, Starobelsk, Ukraine kononov_if@ukr.net

ID of the Article: 8100

For citation:

Kononov I.F Lenin’s Social Philosophic Hеritage and Destiny of Sociology in the USSR (in the 1920s). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 4. P. 27-37


The article offers an analysis of the influence by V.I. Lenin’s philosophical works upon the Soviet philosophers of the 1920s and, hence, upon the destiny of Marxist sociology in the USSR. It is demonstrated that philosophical polemics between V.I. Lenin and A.A. Bogdanov in the early 20th century played a crucial role in shaping epistemological background for genesis and development of Marxist sociology in the USSR. This polemic evolved around epistemological problems inherent to the empiriocriticism, a version of positivism evemplfied by a then Bolshevik thinker A.A. Bogdanov. Bogdanov contemplated Marxist philosophy as an open theoretical system that should be enriched by criticism of human experience. In its basic principles his position is close to the sociology of knowledge although the theory itself is expressed in the language of philosophy. Lenin, professing orthodoxy, even deviated from the primacy of practice in Marxist philosophy and was closer to the 18th century materialism. Thus, frames were formed of hostility to sociology. Bogdanov’s picture of the world was more favorable for development of Marxist sociology as shown by N.I. Bukharin in his work “Historical Materialism: A System of Sociology” (1921). The book suggests that society is to be approached as a concrete system which basically is a working community opposing the nature. Lenin was troubled by growing popularity of Bogdanov’s ideas of the War Communism period and early stage of the New Economic Policy, when the creator of the tectology was a leading ideologist in the Proletcult. The first philosophical journal in the USSR “Under the Banner of Marxism” was to counteract these ideas. Its editorial board led by A.M. Deborin, became an important center of Marxist thought where the concept of “Lenin’s stage in the development of Marxist philosophy” was coined. At the same time this body, primarily I.K. Luppol and N.A. Karev, tried to prove incompatibility of sociology and Marxism, with an extremely adverse effect on Marxist sociology, making difficult its institutionalization in the Soviet Union.

Marxist sociology; V.I. Lenin; A.A. Bogdanov; N.I. Bukharin; exegesis; school of dialecticians; Lenin’s stage in the development of Marxist philosophy


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Content No 4, 2020