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Prepared by the Leningrad Institute of Philosophy under the Direction of
M. Shirokov 1941

This V O L U M E was originally prepared by the Lenin­ grad 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, n 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 1n 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.


Some little  Assistance is needed to those who sit down for the first time to read a book on dialectical materialism, written by Russians for Russian students. 

The very name of the new philosophy raises questions. What is dialectic ? Is the new philosophy really no more than the discredited materialism of the nineteenth century ? The book itself will be the best answer to these questions but it may help towards the understanding of the book if we take these two fundamental difficulties, which probably disconcert a good many would-be students of dialectical materialism, and endeavour to throw some light on them from the standpoint of Western philosophy.

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