Materialism and Empirio-criticism

Materialism and Empirio-criticism
Front cover of the first edition of Lenin's Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, published in Moscow in 1909 under the pseudonym "Vl. Ilyin."

Materialism and Empiriocriticism (Ru: Материализм и эмпириокритицизм, Matyerializm i empiriokrititsizm) is a major philosophical work by Vladimir Lenin, published in 1909. It was an obligatory subject of study in all institutions of higher education in the Soviet Union, as a seminal work of dialectical materialism, a part of the curriculum called "Marxist-Leninist Philosophy". In the text Lenin argued that human perceptions correctly and accurately reflect the objective external world.

The book (complete name is Materialism and Empirio-criticism. Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy) was written by Lenin during February - October 1908 when he was in exile in Geneva and London and published in Moscow in May 1909 by the Zveno Publishers. The original manuscript and preparatory materials have been lost.

The book was mostly written when Lenin was in Geneva, apart from the one month spent in London, where he visited the library of British Museum to access modern philosophical and natural science material. The index lists in excess of 200 sources for the book.

In December 1908 Lenin moved from Geneva to Paris, where he worked until April 1909 on correcting the proofs. Some passages were toned down to pass the tsarist censorship. It was published in Russia with great difficulties. Lenin insisted on the speedy issue of the book, stressing that “not only literary but also serious political obligations” were involved in its publication.

The book was written as a reaction and criticism to the three volume work Empiriomonism (1904–1906) by Alexander Bogdanov, his political opponent in the Party. In June 1909, Bogdanov was defeated at a Bolshevik mini-conference in Paris and expelled.

Materialism and Empiriocriticism was published in over 20 languages and acquired canonical status in Marxist-Leninist philosophy.


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