For the first time, this book presents to Western readers a current in the late Soviet philosophy of the 1960s and 1970s known as the ‘activity approach’. It had to some degree a counterpart in so-called cultural-historical psychology, but whilst the work of Vygotsky and Leontyev was received in the West decades ago, its sibling in philosophy has remained virtually unnoticed. Started by Evald Ilyenkov and other young Moscow philosophers in the early 1960s, the activity approach soon became an intellectual mode, leading to several different interpretations of human activity and challenging Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy. The book depicts in detail the rise and fall of this remarkable phenomenon in Soviet Marxism.
Contributors are: David Bakhurst, Aleksandr Khamidov, Vladislav Lektorsky, Alex Levant, Pentti Määttänen, Andrey Maidansky, Sergei Mareyev, Elena Mareyeva, Vesa Oittinen, Edward Swiderski, and Inna Titarenko.
Vesa Oittinen, Ph.D. (1994), University of Helsinki, is Research Chief at the Aleksanteri Institute. He published monographs and
articles on Nordic and Russian philosophy, Spinoza, and Hegel.Last publication with Brill is the co-edited volume with Alex Levant,
Dialectics of the Ideal (2014).
Andrey Maidansky, Ph.D. (1993), Professor, Belgorod State University, Russia, published monographs and articles on
Spinoza, Marx, and Soviet philosophy, and the anthology
Spinoza: Pro et contra (St Petersburg: RHGA, 2012).
Andrey Maidansky and Vesa Oittinen
1. Activity and the Search for True Materialism
2. ‘Praxis’ as the Criterion of Truth? The Aporias of Soviet Marxism and the Activity-Approach
3. Reality as Activity: The Concept of Praxis in Soviet Philosophy
4. The Category of Activity in Soviet Philosophy
5. The Activity-Approach and Metaphysics
Edward M. Swiderski
6. Abstract and Concrete Understanding of Activity: ‘Activity’ and ‘Labour’ in Soviet Philosophy
7. The Kiev Philosophical School in the Light of the Marxist Theory of Activity
8. The Evolution of Batishchev’s Views on the Nature of Objective Activity, and the Limits of the Activity-Approach
9. The Activity-Approach in Soviet Philosophy and Contemporary Cognitive Studies
10. The Concept of the Scheme in the Activity-Theories of Ilyenkov and Piaget
11. The Ideal and the Dream-World: Evald Ilyenkov and Walter Benjamin on the Significance of Material Objects
All interested in the intellectual history of Russia in the 20th century, and anyone with interest on Marxist philosophy, further those with interest on Soviet psychology (Vygotsky and Leontyev).