The Development of the Monist View of History

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The Development of the Monist View of History
The Development of the Monist View of History.JPG
Author Georgi Plekhanov
Country Russia
Language Russian
Subject Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Karl Marx
Published 1895
Media type Print
Pages 334 (1972 Progress Publishers edition)
ISBN 978-0717803729

The Development of the Monist View of History is the major work of the Russian philosopher Georgi Plekhanov,[1] published in 1895.[2] Plekhanov gives an account of modern social and philosophical thought as culminating in Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx and seen through the materialism of Ludwig Feuerbach.[1]

Plekhanov wrote under the pseudonym Beltov and admitted to the use of the "purposely clumsy" name "Monist View" in order to deceive the censors of the Russian government. The book passed the censors and was legally published in Russia.[3] The Development of the Monist View of History became a very popular defense of the materialistic conception of history. Vladimir Lenin would later comment that it "helped educate a whole generation of Russian Marxists."[3] Friedrich Engels commented in a January 30, 1895 letter to Vera Zasulich that it had been published at a most opportune time.[4] Tsar Nicholas II had just released a statement on January 29 (or January 17 under the old Russian calendar) that announced that it was fruitless for the Zemstvos, locally elected district councils, to agitate for any more democratic reforms in the Russian government.[5] Nicholas II had decided to return Russia to the absolute Tsarist autocracy of his father, Alexander III. The elected Zemstvos, which formed a local government in the European sectors of the Russian Empire, had been initiated by Nicholas' grandfather, Tsar Alexander II in 1864.[6] Under Nicholas II's re-initiation of absolute autocracy, the Zemstvos would become superfluous and basically be abolished. Engels expected this announcement would cause an upsurge in popular protest in Russian and Engels thought the timely publication of Plekhanov's book would augment that popular protest.

Later on February 8, 1895, Engels wrote directly to Plekhanov congratulating him on the "great success" of getting the book "published inside your country".[7] A German edition was published in Stuttgart in 1896.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b McLellan, David (1995). Honderich, Ted, ed. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 689. ISBN 0-19-866132-0. 
  2. ^ Plekhanov, Georgi, "The Development of the Monist View of History" contained in the Selected Philosophical Works: Volume 1, pp. 480-697.
  3. ^ a b V. A. Fomina, "Introductory Essay" contained in the Selected Philosophical Works: Volume 1, p. 16.
  4. ^ Engels' letter to Vera Zasulich dated January 30, 1895 contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 50 (New York: International Publishers, 2004) p. 436.
  5. ^ See note 505 contained in the Collected works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 50, p. 601.
  6. ^ See note 504 in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Volume 50 (New York: International Publishers, 2004) p. 601.
  7. ^ Engels' letter to Georgi Plekhanov dated February 8, 1895 contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 50, p. 439.
  8. ^ Fomina, V. A. "Introductory Essay" contained in the Selected Philosophical Works: Volume I, p. 16.