Communism and Philosophy:
Contemporary Dogmas and Revisions of Marxism

Maurice Cornforth


Contents

PREFACE                                                                                1

 

PART ONE: MARXISM, COMMUNISM AND MARXIST PHILOSOPHY

 

1        MARXISM AND COMMUNISM                              17

          1   Historical materialism                                               17

          2   Communism                                                            18

          3   Science and ideology                                               20

          4   Scientific socialism                                                   24

 

2        COMMUNIST PARTIES AND MARXIST THEORY    29

 

          1   Socialist politics and scientific socialist theory            29

          2   The formation of communist parties                          30

          3   Communist parties and communist theory                 33

 

3        MARXIST PHILOSOPHY                                         36

 

          1   Communist philosophy                                             36

          2   Scientific philosophy and the need for it                    37

          3   Marxism versus traditional metaphysics                    38

          4   Empirical premises for scientific philosophy              42

          5   From science to scientific philosophy                       45


4        DIALECTICAL AND HISTORICAL MATERIALISM   48

 

          1   The metaphysics of “dialectical materialism”             48

          2   Dialectical versus mechanistic materialism                 51

          3   Social consciousness and social being                      53

          4   The materialist standpoint                                        55

          5   Materialism and dialectics                                        58

          6   The premises for historical materialism                     59

 

PART TWO: THE THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS OF MARXISM

 

1    ROOTS OF DOGMATIC MARXISM                            65

 

          1   Lenin on "the teaching of Marx"                                65

 

 

vi                           Communism and Philosophy

 

          2   The negation of Classical German Philosophy             67

          3   Lenin and Engels on philosophy                                 68

          4   Marxist theory and the teaching of Marxist theory       71

          5   The status of philosophy in Marxist theory                  73

          6   Marx on the "abolition" of philosophy                         76

          7   The exploration of social relationships                        79

 

2     MARX'S “EMPIRICISM” IN OPPOSITION TO HEGEL   83

 

          1   Marx’s early works of 1843-44                                 83

          2   The alienation of labour                                              85

          3   The alienation of the "human essence"                         87

          4   Millenarianism and utopianism of Marx's early works  88

          5   The development of Marxism as practical scientific

                   theory                                                                   90

          6   Misunderstandings of Marx's early writings, and

                   consequently of mature Marxist theory                   91

          7   Naturalism and Humanism                                         94

          Appendix: Marx's Doctoral Dissertation                          96

 

3     EMPIRICISM AND EMPIRICAL THEORY                 102

 

          1   Vulgar empiricism and general theory                       102

          2   Empirical science versus speculative philosophy        104

          3   Questions of "What?", "How?" and "Why?"              105

          4   The practicality and truth of theories                         107

          5   Generality, abstractness and universality                   112

          6   The empiricism of Marx versus the pretence of

                   empiricism in other modern philosophies               115

 

4 THE EMPIRICISM OF MARXIST THEORY                   119

 

          1   Historical materialism and "Theory of Knowledge"    119

          2   Unscientific accounts of science                                122

          3   Facts and the correspondence of statements with facts 127

          4   The myth of the factual data                                     130

          5   Empiricist philosophy and positivism versus genuine

                   empirical theory                                                   134

          6   Genuinely empirical philosophy                                137

 

Contents                                                                                vii

 

5 FUNDAMENTALS OF EMPIRICAL SCIENCES OF MANKIND AND

         SOCIETY                                                                   140

 

         1    Three stages in the history of science                       140

         2       Fundamentals of social science, a new stage in

                  scientific development                                          143

         3    Bourgeois and socialist science                                146

         4    Inviolable general principles in the sciences              149

         5    Social inevitability and social aims                            152

 

6 IDEOLOGICAL ILLUSIONS OF MARXISM                 154

 

         1    Causes of ideological illusions                                  154

         2    Consequences of ideological illusions                       156

         3    Illusions of class and party in the proletarian

                  revolution                                                            158

         4    "Marxism-Leninism"                                                161

         5    Alleged perversions of Marxism by Engels and Lenin    163

         6    Marxism without illusions                                         168

 

PART THREE: CONTEMPORARY REVISIONS OF MARXISM

 

1 THE ALLEGED ANTITHESIS OF IDEOLOGY AND SCIENCE  113

 

          1   Ideology                                                                 173

          2   The antithesis of ideology and science in Louis

                   Althusser's For Marx                                          175

          3   People and ideas                                                     177

          4   The function of ideological structures                        178

 

2 SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS AND ABSTRACT THINKING             180

 

          1   People and people's conditions of existence             180

          2   Scientific analysis versus abstract theorising              182

          3   Ideology and ideological "apparatuses"                    184

          4   Structure and function in human society                    188

          5   The misleadingness of abstract ideas of ideological

                   apparatuses                                                         189

 

3 CONSCIOUSNESS AND CONSCIOUS ACTIVITY     193

 

          1   The production of "consciousness"                           193

 

 

viii                         Communism and Philosophy

 

          2   Science versus abstract theorising                             195

          3   Marxism versus bourgeois sociology                         197

          4   Althusser versus Marx                                              201

 

4 THE NECESSITY FOR REVISIONS OF MARXISM      205

 

          1   Socialism in the Soviet Union                                    205

          2   Conflicts between socialist countries                         207

          3   The development of monopoly and state-monopoly

                   capitalism                                                             208

          4   The scientific and technological revolution                 211

          5   The future of Marxism                                              212

 

5 CLASSES, CLASS INTERESTS AND CLASS STRUGGLES                   216

 

          1   Changes in the class‑composition of modern

                   capitalism                                                             216

          2   The definition of social "class"                                   216

          3   Class interests                                                          218

          4   Lenin on "classes"                                                    221

          5   The class struggle                                                     222

6       Class alliances—professional workers and intellectuals                       223

          7    “Co-operative” and “universal” labour in industrial

                   societies                                                               224

          8 The dictatorship of the proletariat                                226

 

6 NATIONS, INTERNATIONALISM AND CLASSLESS SOCIETY          228

 

           1   Classes and nations                                                 228

           2   The differentiation of families                                    229

           3   Nations                                                                   233

           4   Nations and states                                                   236

           5   The role of classes and ruling classes in the history of

                    nations                                                                 240

           6   Internationalism                                                        243

           7   Internationalism in theory and practice                      246

           8   Internationalism and classless society                        250

 

7 CRITERIA FOR THE REVISION OF MARXIST THEORY 254

 

           1   Contemporary demands on Marxist theory              254

           2   Revision and revisionism                                          256

 

Contents                                                                                 ix

 

           3   Formal and dialectical criteria for the revision of

                   Marxism                                                             260

           4   Concrete and abstract accounts of social relationships                       261

           5   People, classes and class struggles                         264

           6   The revision of Marxist philosophy                         267

 

8 COMMUNIST SOCIETY                                                269

 

          1   Definitions of "communism"                                    269

          2   The necessity for socialism                                     270

          3   The "transition" from socialism to communism         271

          4   "Bourgeois right" and "freedom"                             273

 

INDEX                                                                                277




SOURCE: Cornforth, Maurice. Communism and Philosophy: Contemporary Dogmas and Revisions of Marxism. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1980. ix, 282 pp. Contents, pp. v-ix.



Preface to Communism and Philosophy: Contemporary Dogmas and Revisions of Marxism
by Maurice Cornforth

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Offsite links:

Dialectical Materialism: An Introduction:

Volume 1: Materialism and the Dialectical Method

Volume 2: Historical Materialism

Volume 3: The Theory of Knowledge

Dialectical Materialism: READ THIS BOOK!!!! (YouTube video link)

Partisanship and Objectivity in Theoretical Work by Maurice Cornforth

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