What's interesting about Plekhanov's "Cant Against Kant" is that in the 
process of refuting Bernstein's scapegoating of the dialectic, Plekhanov 
falters at the very moment he first cites/Engels/. If there were a 
philosophical root of the confusion, here's where it would be. It begins 
with the merging of the dialectics of nature, society, and thought as 
one and the same, but this ontologolization of dialectics is a mass of 
logical confusion. With Plekhanov this also goes by the name of monism. 
But to lay Plekhanov's error as one of beginning with the wrong 
philosophy would be to duplicate his own mistake, for there's more to it.

Plekhanov makes his first mistake by bypassing Marxism--I mean Marx's 
approach to analyzing society and the ideological phenomena within 
it--in favor of analyzing the putative philosophical preconditions or 
foundation of Marxism--dialectical materialism. This is pure nonsense. 
Is this where the Soviets got this bad habit from?

Another of his blunders is his crude analysis of a probably correct 
assertion of the petty-bourgeois basis of Neo-Kantianism, which however 
asserts nothing meaningful unless one proceeds beyond propaganda to 
explain the connection. Plekhanov combats Bernstein's empirical 
assertions with his own. He combats metaphysics with metaphysics, 
empiricism with empiricism. These two elements interplay in an entirely 
confused fashion.

On 12/30/2010 11:29 AM, Ralph Dumain wrote:
> I tried checking the text at leninist.biz, but I found the Plekhanov
> volume impossible to navigate. I wish someone would make this correction
> for me, because I would like to use this quote.
> It looks like I already did some preliminary spadework, viz. . . .
> Neo-Kantianism, Its History, Influence, and Relation to Socialism:
> Selected Secondary Bibliography
> <http://www.autodidactproject.org/bib/neokantianism_biblio_1.html>
> There I link to 6 articles by Plekhanov on Kantianism. That entire
> period in philosophy, and for decades to come in continental European
> philosophy, was dominated by the Neo-Kantian influence. These debates
> are a small part of the overall picture.
> On 12/30/2010 11:14 AM, Ralph Dumain wrote:
>> I was thinking of the philosophical backwardness prevalent in the Second
>> International. I do like this quote from Plekhanov, however:
>>       Strictly speaking, "/partisan science/" is impossible, but,
>>       regrettably enough, the existence is highly possible of
>>       "/scientists" who are imbued with the spirit of parties and with
>>       class selfishness/. When Marxists speak of bourgeois science with
>>       contempt, it is "scientists" of that brand that they have in view.
>>       It is to such "scientists" that the gentlemen Herr Bernstein has
>>       "learnt" so much from belong, /viz./ J. Wolf, Schulze-Gävernitz, and
>>       many others. Even if nine-tenths of scientific socialism has been
>>       taken from the writings of bourgeois economists, it has not been
>>       taken in the way in which Herr Bernstein has borrowed from the
>>       Brentanoists and other apologists of capitalism the material he uses
>>       to "revise" Marxism. Marx and Engels were able to take a /critical/
>>       attitude towards bourgeois scientists, something that Herr Bernstein
>>       has been unable or unwilling to do. When he "learns" from them, he
>>       simply places himself under their influence and, without noticing
>>       the fact, adopts their apologetics.
>>       Georgi Plekhanov, *Cant Against Kant, or Herr Bernstein's Will and
>>       Testament* (August 1901)
>>       http://www.marxists.org/archive/plekhanov/1901/xx/cant.htm
>> There must be a transcription error here: "so much from *belong*":
>> doesn't make sense.
>> On 12/30/2010 10:49 AM, c b wrote:
>>> On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 10:22 AM, Ralph Dumain
>>> <rdum...@autodidactproject.org>    wrote:
>>>> This is a commonplace analysis of Descartes&    critique of the whole
>>>> epistemological tradition that came out of this. However, the disavowal
>>>> of scientific realism is childish. Speaking of childish, It's worth
>>>> contemplating the symbiosis between Rosa's juvenile Wittgensteinianism
>>>> and sectarianism. He differs from Henry Ford in declaring that, not
>>>> history, but all philosophy, is bunk. And if this doesn't show you that
>>>> the British far left--if that's what he is--is not at the end of its
>>>> rope, what does?
>>>> Now I'm reminded that I need to take a look at Plekhanov&    see if he's
>>>> as bad as I'm told he is.
>>> ^^^^^^^
>>> CB: Well, Plekhanov opposed the 1917 October insurrection. That's
>>> pretty stupid sectarian.
>>>> On 12/30/2010 10:10 AM, c b wrote:
>>>>> That project was exemplified in Descartes' Meditations, and it laid
>>>>> two demands on any account of knowledge and the means to knowledge,
>>>>> demands that set the standard and defined the adequacy of any account.
>>>>> There had been urgent reasons for making those demands but the reasons
>>>>> were historical rather than philosophical and came from the
>>>>> individualistic model of humanity that played such a pivotal role in
>>>>> the era's project of eliminating feudalism's remnants in thought and
>>>>> social institutions, and the project of justifying the conceptions and
>>>>> arrangements that were replacing them. That story needs to be
>>>>> elaborated, and will get some elaboration in the next chapter. What is
>>>>> important here is that those demands have been accepted since without
>>>>> serious critique or examination of alternatives.
>>>>> The first of the demands, describable as a "democratic" or
>>>>> "individualistic' one, was that a method be found that was available
>>>>> to each separated individual to apply privately and severally in the
>>>>> search for knowledge. The second, relating to the knowledge thus
>>>>> found, was that the method would lead all who conscientiously applied
>>>>> it to the same, objective and timeless true view of things.
>>>>> ^^^^^^^^^^
>>>>> CB: This point on "individualistic" method is a good one. This is how
>>>>> I define positivism.
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