, Volume 64, Issue 3-4, pp 301-312
Date: 08 Nov 2012

Discussions with Bocheński concerning Soviet Marxism–Leninism, 1952–1986

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Bocheński’s lucid, unpartisan, and judiciously critical discussion of Soviet Marxism–Leninism in his book Der sowjetrussische dialektische Materialismus (1950) filled a major gap in our understanding of that influential movement. Prior to its publication there had been only two works on the subject in English, John Somerville’s Soviet Philosophy (1946) and the Handbook of Philosophy (1949), edited and adapted by Howard Selsam from the Kratkij filosofskij slovar’ (2nd ed. 1940). Both are marked by strong partisanship and ideological bias. Somerville is uncritically pro-Soviet and abjectly Stalinist. Selsam, although he tones down the adulation of Marx, Stalin et al. of the KFS, retains that work’s abuse of such “reactionary” and “idealist” thinkers as Plato and such “reactionary” and “bourgeois” thinkers as Hegel. The benign influence of Bocheński’s work increased with the publication of the English translation, Soviet Russian Dialectical Materialism, in 1963.