Plekhanov, Georgi. "Bernstein and Materialism 
(July 1898), in /Selected Philosophical Works/, Vol. II (Moscow: 
Progress Publishers, 1976), pp. 325-339.

I am not versed in the relations among Spinoza, LaMettrie, the 
Encyclopedists, the 19th century German materialists, and Feuerbach. 
This part of the essay at least is not identical with the subsequent 
"Cant Against Kant". It's quite interesting, but a few off-the-cuff remarks:

(1) This has nothing to do with political debates except insofar as 
Plekhanov's antagonists themselves inject this silly stuff into them.

(2) Plekhanov's exposition breaks off at the very point where it starts 
to get interesting.

(3) Neither Plekhanov nor any of the people he discusses have any sense 
of the difference between empirical knowledge and philosophy's attempts 
to fill in the gaps, or how advances in the former alter what should be 
/provisional/ categorial structures of the latter.  And, noting the 
footnotes, where Plekhanov describes a meeting with Engels and Engels' 
confirmation of Plekhanov's view of Spinoza--Plekhanov is content with 
finality rather than further exploration. He merely engages a contest of 
doctrines, but not thinking any new thoughts.

(4) I know little about F.A. Lange, but one thing I know is that he 
wrestled with the mind-body problem and found materialism 
unsatisfactory. This was when biology had barely advanced to the point 
of addressing the question of sensation and apperception. The problem 
remains a problem 150 years later but in a drastically altered 
condition. Philosophy at best is a guidepost to how to interpret, or 
better, to avoid misinterpreting, our knowledge in our general 
categorial framework of world-meaning. (This should be opposed to 
Wittgenstein's retrograde cure, but that's another harangue.)

(5) A key correlative logical fudge of Engels is the ambiguous, and 
implicitly self-contradictory, statement, that he believes only in 
empirical knowledge and disavows metaphysics, only to remain content 
with a formulation of dialectical laws and their universal application 
retrospective to the attainment of adequate empirical knowledge.  But in 
actuality, this dominant strain of Marxist orthodoxy remained stagnant 
at the level of formulaic indoctrination, and once institutionalized, 
proceeded rapidly downhill.

OK, I'll look at the other 4 Plekhanov essays another time. Must get on 
with other things.

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