Rethinking Soviet Marxism: The Case of Evald Ilyenkov

A Review of Dialectics of the Ideal: Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism, edited by Alex Levant and Vesa Oittinen

In: Historical Materialism
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This review-essay explores approaches to the thought of the creative Soviet Marxist thinker Evald Ilyenkov as discussed in a recent book edited by Alex Levant and Vesa Oittinen, Dialectics of the Ideal: Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism. The book consists of a series of commentaries and contextual essays which centre on the translated text of Ilyenkov’s Dialectics of the Ideal. The approach the authors take to Ilyenkov’s work differs from previous ones of exploring the totality of Ilyenkov’s thought or eclectic aspects of it. By commenting on and contextualising Ilyenkov’s major text on the Ideal they locate the contribution of Ilyenkov in dialogue with traditions of classical European philosophy, and Western and Soviet Marxism, and in his importance to contemporary issues in philosophy and other disciplines. A deep analysis of Ilyenkov’s dense and often complex text is also given. By doing so the authors highlight the immense contribution of Ilyenkov to contemporary thought.

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  • 1

    Bakhurst 1991, p. 4.

  • 4

    Chamberlain 2004, p. 219.

  • 6

    Motroshilova 2006, pp. 85–91.

  • 8

    Cited in Bakhurst 2013, p. 273.

  • 10

    Van der Zweerde, in Oittinen (ed.) 2000, p. 56.

  • 11

    Bakhurst 1991, p. 27.

  • 13

    Quoted in Maidansky 2003, p. 203.

  • 16

    Maidansky 2003, pp. 199–216.

  • 17

    Maidansky 2003, p. 212. The Levant-Oittinen volume does not mention her.

  • 18

    Maidansky 2003, p. 212.

  • 20

    Bakhurst 2013, p. 273.

  • 22

    Bakhurst 1991, p. 134.

  • 23

    Bakhurst 2013, pp. 280–1.

  • 25

    Levant 2011a.

  • 26

    Levant 2011b.

  • 27

    Oittinen (ed.) 2000, p. 19.

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