Russian Machism was a term applied to a variety political/philosophical viewpoints which emerged in Imperial Russia in the beginning of the twentieth century before the Russian Revolution. They shared an interest in the scientific and philosophical insights of Ernst Mach. Many, but not all, of the Russian Machists were Marxists, and some viewed Machism as an essential ingredient of a materialist outlook on the world. The term came into use around 1905, primarily as a polemical expression used by Lenin and Georgi Plekhanov. With a shared desire to defend an "orthodox" account of Marxism, from their differing perspective they both divided the opponents of this putative orthodoxy into the "idealists" and the "Machists".:19 The term remained a signifier of Marxist-Leninist opprobrium through into the 1970's as shown by Evald Ilyenkov's chapter on "Marxism against Machism as the Philosophy of Lifeless Reaction" in Leninist Dialectics and the Metaphysics of Positivism.
Confrontation with idealism
In 1902 Pavel Ivanovich Novgorodtsev edited the book Problems of Idealism (Problemy Idealizma) which included contributions from Sergei Bulgakov, Evgenii Nikolaevitch Troubetzkoy, Sergei Nikolaevich Trubetskoy, Peter Berngardovich Struve, Nikolai Berdyaev, Semyon Frank, Sergei Askol'dov, Kistyakovski, Alexander Sergeyevich Lappo-Danilevsky, Sergey Oldenburg, and Zhukovsky. In proclaiming the advent of a new idealist movement he also derided positivism as being narrow and dogmatic.
Confrontation with Lenin
The publication of Studies in the Philosophy of Marxism (Russian: Очерки по философии Марксизма) in 1908 marked a key moment in the emergence of this viewpoint. However whilst many of the proponents of Russian Machism saw it as adding important insights to what a materialist view of the world would look like, Vladimir Lenin was a consistent opponent; he cited as such: Bazasov, Bogdanov, Lunacharski, Berman, Gelfond, Yushkevich, Sergei Suvorov, Nikolai Valentinov.
Prominent Russian Machists
This list includes people who at one time or other have been described as Russian Machists:
- Jensen, K. M. J (1978). Beyond Marx and Mach (PDF). Dordrech: D. Reidel PubliShing Company. ISBN 978-94-009-9881-0.
- Ilyenkov, Evald (1982). Leninist Dialectics and the Metaphysics of Positivism. London: New Park Publications.
- Dahm, Helmut (2012). Vladimir Solovyev and Max Scheler: Attempt at a Comparative Interpretation: A Contribution to the History of Phenomenology. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9789401017480. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
- Soboleva M.E. “Soboleva Critical positivism” versus “new idealism” in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. Vestnik SPbSU. Philosophy and Conflict Studies, 2018, vol. 34, issue 1, pp. 46–56. https://doi.org/10.21638/11701/spbu17.2018.105