Plekhanov, Georgi. "Materialism or Kantianism 
<>," in 
/Selected Philosophical Works/, Vol. II (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 
1976), pp. 398-414.

______________. "Materialism Yet Again 
<>," in 
/Selected Philosophical Works/, Vol. II (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 
1976), pp. 415-420.

Who started this fight, I do not know. Curious so much energy was 
devoted to generic philosophical issues. Presumably I would have to read 
more widely to see exactly how this relates to a debate over historical 

One can see a precedent for Lenin's later polemics, concerning (1) the 
battle against phenomenalism, (2) political accusations connected with 
these philosophical debates.

Certainly, the partisans of historical materialism held ground--I don't 
know else who would have done this at the time--against phenomenalists 
and dualists, and that is to be applauded. Beyond that, there's the 
question of what Plekhanov and others may have botched at the same time.

______________. "On Mr. H. Rickert's Book 
<>" [review of:  H. Rickert, 
/Sciences of Nature and Sciences of Culture/] (1911), in /Selected 
Philosophical Works/, Vol. III (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976), pp. 

Here one sees Plekhanov attacking Rickert's treatment, as well as the 
dichotomy, of the /Naturwissenschaften/ and the /Geisteswissenschaften/. 
Plekhanov refutes the reduction of historical materialism to 
natural-scientific materialism and to economism. He also engages in an 
argument about Condorcet. Apparently, even Tonnies couldn't take 
Rickert's distortions. However, after blasting Rickert and his 
sympathizers, Plekhanove still hasn't specified the exact relationship 
between the natural and social sciences. Obviously, he sees both a unity 
and distinction--which was the superior perspective of Marxism--but 
there remains a question of what the lawfulness of social science 
consists of.

______________. "On W. Windelband's Book 
<>" [review of Wilhelm 
Windelband, /Philosophy in the Spiritual Life of Nineteenth-Century 
Germany/] (1910), in /Selected Philosophical Works/, Vol. III (Moscow: 
Progress Publishers, 1976), pp. 419-423.

Windelband has recognized that philosophy is a reflection of the state 
of culture or society, and that the masses have entered history. But . . .

    Contemporary social life in Western Europe has, in fact, been given
    a "completely new cast" as a result of the "masses moving forward".
    But the //author forgot that this onward movement of the popular
    masses has encountered, and continues to encounter, strong
    resistance from the upper classes. Once having forgotten this,
    naturally he also lost sight of the fact that the resistance of the
    upper classes to the onward movement of the masses was bound to find
    its reflection in the whole course of Europe's intellectual
    development, and especially in the history of literature, art and
    philosophy. Consequently, he has given a quite incorrect
    interpretation of that preaching of individualism which brought fame
    to the name of Friedrich Nietzsche. Windelband says: "Thus, we are
    undergoing a levelling down of historical distinctions, and the
    establishment of a uniformity of life, about which not one of the
    previous ages in human history had the faintest notion. But from
    this there now emerges the grave danger that we shall thereby lose
    what is most valuable, that which, strictly speaking, first
    constitutes and at all times constituted culture and history, viz.:
    the life of personality. The sense of this danger pervades deep down
    the whole spiritual life of the last decades, and bursts out from
    time to time with passionate energy. Alongside this outwardly
    magnificently developing material culture there is growing a fervent
    need for one's own inner life, and together with the democratising
    and socialising life of the masses there is springing up an ardent
    opposition of individuals, their upstriving against suppression by
    the mass, their primitive striving to disburden their own
    personality" (pp. 142--43). The question arises: how can
    "individuals" be suppressed by the "mass" who themselves are
    suppressed in class-divided capitalist society? It would be a waste
    of time searching in the book under review for the answer to this
    inevitable question. Windelband does not want to understand that in
    so far as modern individualism, which found its most brilliant
    representative in the person of Friedrich Nietzsche, is a protest
    against the forward movement of the /mass/, it voices not fear for
    the rights of /personality/, but fear for /class privileges./

These of course are only snapshots of the ideological tenor of the time. 
Anyone who wishes to reexamine for the umpteenth time the vicissitudes 
of 2nd International & Russian Marxism needs to look at the entire 
movement of ideas in this time frame, and not to remain content with 
singling out the the philosophical shortcomings of the Marxists of this 
period. I venture to guess that the failure to articulate the 
relationship between ontology and epistemology (with a failure to get 
clearer on epistemology) is a fault line of such argumentation. It's not 
enough to argue for "monism". Plekhanov was at least perceptive about 
what the right-wing anxiety over leveling was about.

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