Lenin's Epistemology and British Empiricism

  • Author / Creator
    Bartels, Dennis, Alan
  • In this thesis, I shall attempt the following: a) to present some of the epistemological and ontological views that were held by the British Empiricists, b) to present some of the most important and influentical arguements that Lenin levied against Berkeley's 'idealism', c) to show that Lenin's epistemological views are similar to those held by the British Empiricists, insofar as both rely upon the concept of 'sensation', and, d) to show that Lenin's arguements against Berkeley's 'idealism' can be turned against Lenin's own epistemological views, particularly those involving the concepts of 'sensation' and 'reflection'. Lenin fell into these difficulties because, like the empiricists, he treated the concept of 'sensation' as the basis of his epistemological theory. It will be shown that similar reliance upon the concept of 'sensation' can be found in the work of Engels, but not in the work of Marx. I believe that Lenin, wishing to defend Marx's philosophical views, and believing that Engels' epistemological views were identical to those of Marx, retained Engels' reliance upon the concept of 'sensation' (and, hence, inherited all the difficulties involved in this concept), without realizing that such reliance is absent in the work of Marx. The thesis ends with a short postscript concerning the implications of Lenin's epistemological views for Marxian social science.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 1970
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.