A Textbook of Marxist Philosophy: Section I

prepared by  the Leningrad Institute of Philosophy  under the Direction of M. Shirokov

consisting of Four Parts.

The Last Three Parts being an Exposition of Dialectical Materialism –  have been Translated without Alteration from the Russian:

But the First Part  being an Historical Introduction to Marxist Philosophy and to the Theory of Knowledge has been Condensed and entirely Rewritten by the English Editor who alone takes Responsibility for this Section.

The Whole Book has been Translated by A. C. Moseley, and the Translation has been Revised and Edited by John Lewis, B.Sc., Ph.D.

The Publishers are  Victor Gollancz Limited  14 Henrietta Street  Covent Garden  London W.C.2



What is Dialectic? Why Materialism? Emergent Evolution
,The Dialectic of Social Change ,Dialectics and Metaphysics , Dialectical Materialism and Contemporary Philosophy, Philosophy and Politics ,Determinism and Freedom, The Impossibility of Dogmatism , Does Philosophy matter? , Why not do without Philosophy? The Relation of Theory and Practice ,

Section I


Chapter I. The Conflict between Idealism and Materialism

II. Dialectic as a Theory of Knowledge

III. Moments of Knowledge of Actuality

IV. The Doctrine of Truth

Section II

Unity and the Strife of Opposites

Chapter I. The Law of the Unity and Conflict of Opposites

II. The Division of Unity, the Disclosure of Essential Opposites

III. Mutual Penetration of Opposites

IV. Analysis of the Movement of the Contradiction of a process from its Beginning to its End

V. The Relativity of the Unity of Opposites and the Absoluteness of their Conflict

VI. Theory of Equilibrium

Section III


The Law of the Transition of Quantity into Quality

Chapter I. From Na´ve Dialectic to the Metaphysic of Properties

II. From the Metaphysic of Properties to the Metaphysic of Relations

III. Quality and the Self Movement of Matter

IV. The Relativity of Qualities and the Universal Connection of Things

V. The Dialectic, of Quality and Property

VI. The Transition of Quantity into Quality

VII. Contradiction and the Evolutionary Leap

VIII. The Dialectic of the “Leap”

IX. The Transition of Quality into Quantity

X. The Problem of “Levelling Down”

XI. The Nodal Line of Measurements

Section IV

The Negation of the Negation

The Law of the Negation of the Negation


This volume was originally prepared by the Leningrad Institute of Philosophy as a textbook in Dialectical Materialism for institutions of higher education, directly connected with the Communist Party and also for use in the Technical Institutes which correspond to Universities in Great Britain.

This particular textbook was specially selected by the Society for Cultural Relations in Moscow (VOKS) as the best example they could find of the philosophical teaching now being given in the Soviet Union not only to students of philosophy but to engineers, doctors, chemists, teachers, in fact to all who pass through the higher technical schools and institutes.

In the original work Part I, which consisted of an historical introduction to Marxist Philosophy and the Theory of Knowledge, was of considerable length and included illustrations which would not be familiar to English students. But as it is really quite impossible to comprehend the philosophy of Marx and Engels without some knowledge of the development of philosophy up to Hegel, this section has been considerably condensed and entirely rewritten by the English editor who takes entire responsibility for this part of the work. The original authors did not cover this familiar ground in the manner of a conventional history of philosophy but from the Marxist point of view, and this whole method of approach has, of course, been faithfully followed in the rewritten section.

The English editor has also contributed an introduction relating the whole work to philosophical thought in the West to-day.

Sections II, III and IV comprise the exposition of Marxist Philosophy by the Russian authors themselves.

In placing this textbook before English-speaking students it is hoped that serious consideration may be drawn to the claims of a philosophy which in its challenge to philosophical orthodoxy raises issues to which recent critical studies in Western science and philosophy are giving increasing attention.

John Lewis