Philosophy in the Soviet Union  

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"Dmitri Belyaev [was] a Soviet scientist who had been demoted in 1948 for his belief in Mendelian genetics. (Soviet morality required the belief that traits acquired during one’s lifetime could be passed on to one’s children. This is known as Lamarckism. Darwin believed it too, erroneously. Lamarckism was helpful to a dictatorship bent on producing a new breed of human being, Soviet Man. Trofim Lysenko was the preferred biologist, rather than Mendel." --The Righteous Mind (2012) by Jonathan Haidt

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Philosophical research in the Soviet Union was officially confined to Marxist-Leninist thinking, which theoretically was the basis of objective and ultimate philosophical truth. During the 1920s and 1930s, other tendencies of Russian thought were repressed (many philosophers emigrated, others were expelled). Stalin enacted a decree in 1931 identifying dialectical materialism with Marxism Leninism, making it the official philosophy which would be enforced in all Communist states and, through the Comintern, in most Communist parties. Following the traditional use in the Second International, opponents would be labeled as "revisionists". From the beginning of Bolshevik regime, the aim of official Soviet philosophy (which was taught as an obligatory subject for every course), was the theoretical justification of Communist ideas. For this reason, "Sovietologists", whom the most famous were Józef Maria Bocheński and Gustav Wetter, have often claimed Soviet philosophy was close to nothing but dogma. However, since the 1917 October Revolution, it was marked by both philosophical and political struggles, which call into question any monolithic reading. Evald Vasilevich Ilyenkov was one of the main philosophers of the 1960s, who revisited the 1920s debate between "mechanicists" and "dialecticians" in Leninist Dialectics & Metaphysics of Positivism (1979). During the 1960s and 1970s Western philosophies including analytical philosophy and logical empiricism began to make a mark in Soviet thought.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Philosophy in the Soviet Union" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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