Evald Ilyenkov and Marek Siemek

Maxim Morozov
Pages 77–110| Published online: 24 March 2024

Morozov, Maxim. 2024. “Evald Ilyenkov and Marek Siemek on Turning Marxism into a Science.” Marxism & Sciences 3(1): 77–110.


The paper discusses the problem of the rupture between theory and practice in relation to the idea of the identity of dialectics, logic and theory of knowledge. Evald Ilyenkov and Marek Siemek show that the tepid attitude of marxist theorists towards philosophy, which is based on individual quotations of Marx and Engels rather than on a deep theoretical reflection on their cognitive foundations, has led to the elimination of important epistemological issues from Marxism and a general retreat of understanding of knowledge to a pre-Kantian level, where practice is understood as something only external to theory. This entails distortions in goal-setting and the choice of means in the context of mass movements associated with the emancipation of labour. Lenin warns of these difficulties associated with a lack of high philosophical culture in his “philosophical testament.” In an attempt to fulfil this task, Siemek and Ilyenkov undertake a serious reversal of scientific consciousness to the problematics contained in the works of the German idealists. Both Siemek and Ilyenkov point out that the marxist theory of knowledge has yet to be created, that in the texts of the classics it is given only in a fragmentary form, in some individual aphoristic remarks, and that in order not to “reduce dialectics to the sum of examples” (Lenin), we must rediscover the works of the German idealists, read them in the most profound way in the context of contemporary problems and challenges, carry out their independent materialist revision, and ground our minds in a future practice which can be nothing other than the practice of the future. A practice that today manifests itself in the practice of knowledge.

Keywords: Ilyenkov, Siemek, dialectics, Hegel, Marx, theory of knowledge, science, ideal.


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