Ilyenkov - from ideology to ideality.
On the centenary of his birth.
The author of the report, who is the candidate of psychological sciences, is hardly the last of Ilyenkov's direct disciples. His dissertation, Principles of the Theory of Reflexive Activity Theory, is devoted to the theoretical analysis of the nature of life and consciousness. The ideas presented in it, being based on a materialistic, Spinozist interpretation of the concept of object-oriented activity, allow us to uncover some fundamental theoretical contradictions in Marx's (and Ilyenkov's) philosophy and thus to find the border between the scientific and the abstractly ideological in their theorising. Accordingly, a strict theoretical distinction between science and ideology, proposed by Marx and Engels, but not quite consistently realised by them, can and should make it possible to move significantly forward in understanding contemporary socio-economic processes both in Russia and worldwide.
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18 February marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ewald Vasilievich Ilyenkov, the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century. The author of these lines was lucky to know Ilyenkov personally, moreover, he owes his formation as a theorist entirely to him.

Obviously, the date of such a milestone anniversary could not but become an informative occasion to share with friends the appreciation of his work and personality.

But in this connection it is reasonable to ask ourselves a question - how relevant is it today, in the conditions of the criminal-fascist Putin regime established in Russia, which has unleashed almost a world war, and in any case the largest all-European war since 1945, to spend time discussing abstract academic subjects that the jubilarian pondered over half a century ago? In the current political circumstances, what sense can a particular interpretation of the philosophical category of ideality or a particular reading of Spinoz's Ethics make? And most importantly, on whose side would the jubilator find himself if he happened to travel by time machine to the present day?

The last question is the easiest to answer.

Certainly, not on the side of the current Russian rulers with their miserable "societal glue". One can find many contradictions in Ilyenkov's philosophy, for errare humanum est, but what he was consistent and uncompromising in was his deep contempt for all irrationalism, for all "popishness", without which the present Russian regime is simply unthinkable. Vladimir Solomonovich Bibler spoke farewell words over Ilyenkov's coffin, in which he called his friend's philosophy "high European rationalism". Finally, Ilyenkov is in tune with the present day in that, back in the late fifties, the Soviet authorities almost declared Ilyenkov a "foreign agent" in connection with the publication of a monograph on the abstract and the concrete in thinking, which was being prepared by the Italian publishing house Feltrinelli.
And yet, all of the above would be nothing more than roses of sweet cream on an anniversary cake, had not the philosophical position of Ilyenkov himself been so important.

He himself sincerely considered himself a Marxist, with far more grounds for this than all the Soviet Central Committee, headed by all its "Leninist Politburos" and general secretaries put together. But today, when everyone calls themselves "Marxists" and publicly professing anti-Semitism and Americanophobia is enough to be labelled a "leftist", let us refrain from this definition for the time being. Sooner or later, historical time will put everything in its place, cleansing words from the ideological mud that has stuck on them. Today, let us emphasise the main thing - Ilyenkov's understanding of the human being, which deduces all his "abilities" not from the incorporeal "soul" or "psyche" granted by a willful heavenly superior, not from parental genes or a unique constellation of neurons in the brain, but from the subject activity of the human being himself, from his intelligent action "according to the form of the object", gives us the most powerful weapon in the struggle against nationalism of both imperial and local variety. This means that it is more than relevant to discuss Ilyenkov's philosophy today.

It is not given to man to go beyond the limits of the historical time in which he happened to live, to become better than his century. But the century itself becomes better when the individuals living in it strive for freedom.

The latter are Hegel's words retold by E.V. Ilyenkov in his last public speech. And these words tell very accurately about Ewald Ilyenkov himself, and indicate the direction of our own movement.

For more details see the author's assessments in the article:Марксизм_от_идеологии_к_науке

The author's main texts can be found here:
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