The Philosophy of Living Experience

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Published Nov 2016
ISBN: 9789004231900

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Alexander Bogdanov.Translated, edited and introduced by David G. Rowley, University of Wisconsin – Platteville

The Philosophy of Living Experience is the single best introduction to the thought of Alexander Bogdanov (1873–1928), a Russian polymath who was co-founder, with Lenin, of the Bolshevik Party. His landmark achievements are Empiriomonism (1904–6), a philosophy of radical empiricism that he developed to replace what he considered to be the crude materialism of contemporary Marxists, and Tektology: Universal Organisational Science (1912–17), a precursor of cybernetics and systems theory. The Philosophy of Living Experience (1913) was written at a transitional point between the two; it is a final summing up of empiriomonism, an illustration of his theory of the social genesis of ideas, and an anticipation of Tektology.

Biographical note

David G. Rowley, Ph.D. (1982), University of Michigan, is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville. His publications include Millenarian Bolshevism (Garland, 1986) and “Bogdanov and Lenin: Epistemology and Revolution” in Studies in East European Thought, Vol. 48:1:1-19 (1996).


Everyone interested in the history of Russian intellectual life, Russian Marxism, and the Russian Revolution, those interested in the philosophical problems of historical materialism, past and present.

Table of contents

Editor’s Introduction

A. What is philosophy? Who needs it and why?
B. What came before philosophy?
C. How did philosophy and science become distinguished from religion?

Chapter I. What is Materialism?

Chapter II. Materialism of the Ancient World

Chapter III. Modern Materialism

Chapter IV. Empiriocriticism

Chapter V. Dialectical Materialism

Chapter VI. Empiriomonism
A. Labour causality
B. Elements of experience
C. Objectivity
D. Sociomorphism
E. Substitution
F. The picture of the world

Conclusion: The Science of the Future

Appendix: From Religious to Scientific Monism