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In: Dialectics of the Ideal

The paper deals with the meeting of Catherine ii and Denis Diderot in 1773–1774, which is interpreted as an archetypal event of the clash of Western Enlightenment with a country on the periphery of Western civilisation. Diderot was one of the few Enlightenment thinkers who saw the problems associated with the globalisation of Enlightenment ideas and practices. The problem of “enlightened despotism” is discussed; the suggestion is that it foreshadows the 20th century dictatorial regimes pursuing modernisation.

In: Transcultural Studies
In: Dialectics of the Ideal


The article argues that Hegel’s dialectical logic is much more dependent on historical circumstances than has generally been assumed. Hegel endeavored to conceptualize his own time, that of the dawning modern age. But from Hegel’s conviction that philosophy “grasps its time in thought”, it then follows that only modernity can be “dialectical” – in the sense, namely, that only modern times succeed in mediating the contradictions of society, culture, and thought and raising them into a higher synthesis. The antiquity was not able to solve its inner tensions in this way, and so it perished because of them. Ancient thought still lacked the idea of self-referential subjectivity that is constitutive of modernity. Thus, a fully developed dialectic became possible only in modern times.

In: Logik und Moderne
In: Die Philosophie Karl Leonhard Reinholds
Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism
Volume Editors: and
In Dialectics of the Ideal: Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism Levant and Oittinen provide a window into the subterranean tradition of ‘creative’ Soviet Marxism, which developed on the margins of the Soviet academe and remains largely outside the orbit of contemporary theory in the West. With his ‘activity approach’, E.V. Ilyenkov, its principal figure in the post-Stalin period, makes a substantial contribution toward an anti-reductionist Marxist theory of the subject, which should be of interest to contemporary theorists who seek to avoid economic and cultural reductionism as well as the malaise of postmodern relativism. This volume features Levant’s translation of Ilyenkov’s Dialectics of the Ideal (2009), which remained unpublished until thirty years after the author’s tragic suicide in 1979.

Contributors include: Evald Ilyenkov, Tarja Knuuttila, Alex Levant, Andrey Maidansky, Vesa Oittinen, Paula Rauhala, and Birger Siebert.
The 'Activity Approach' in Late Soviet Philosophy
Volume Editors: and
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.