This is the first critical history of the philosophical culture of the USSR, and the first substantial treatment of a modern Soviet philosopher's work by a Western author. The book identifies a significant tradition within Soviet Marxism that has produced powerful theories exploring the origins of meaning and value, the relation of thought and language, and the nature of the self. The tradition is presented through the work of Evald Ilyenkov (1924-79), the thinker who did the most to rejuvenate Soviet philosophy after its suppression under Stalin. Professor Bakhurst sets Ilyenkov's contribution against the background of the bitter debates that divided Soviet philosophers in the 1920s, the "sociohistorical psychology" of Vygotsky, the controversies over Lenin's legacy, and the philosophy of Stalinism. He traces Ilyenkov's tense relationship with the Soviet philosophical establishment and his passionate polemics with Soviet opponents. This book offers a unique insight into the world of Soviet philosophy, the place of politics within it, and its prospects in the age of glasnost and perestroika.
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