V. I. Lenin


Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy[1]

Written: Written in February 1908-October 1908; Supplement to Chapter IV, Section I—in March 1909
Published: Published in May 1909 in Moscow as a separate book by Zveno Publishers. Published according to the text of the 1909 edition checked with the 1920 edition.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 14, pages 17-362.
Translated: The Late Abraham Fineberg
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 1999 You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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Preface to the First Edition  19
Preface to the Second Edition  21
In Lieu of An Introduction
Chapter One: The Theory of Knowledge of Empirio-Criticism and of Dialectical Materialism. I  40
Chapter Two: The Theory of Knowledge of Empirio-Criticism and of Dialectical Materialism. II  98
Chapter Three: The Theory of Knowledge of Dialectical Materialism and of Empirio-Criticism. III  144
Chapter Four: The Philosophical Idealists as Comrades-In-Arms and Successors of Empirio-Criticism  194
Chapter Five: The Recent Revolution in Natural Science and Philosophical Idealism  250
Chapter Six: Empirio-Criticism and Historical Materialism  314



[1] The book Materialism and Empirio-criticism. Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy was written by Lenin during February to October 1908 in Geneva and London. It was published in Moscow in May 1909 by the Zveno Publishers. The manuscript of the book and Lenin’s preparatory material for it have so far not been found.

The book is the outcome of a prodigious amount of creative scientific research carried out by Lenin during nine months. His main work on the book was carried out in Geneva libraries, but in order to obtain a detailed knowledge of the modern literature of philosophy and natural science be went in May 1908 to London, where he worked for about a month in the library of the British Museum. The list of sources quoted or mentioned by Lenin in his book exceeds 200 titles.

In December 1908 Lenin went from Geneva to Paris where he worked until April 1909 on correcting the proofs of his book. He had to agree to tone down some passages of the work so as not to give he tsarist censorship an excuse for prohibiting its publication. It was published in Russia under great difficulties. Lenin insisted on the speedy issue of the book, stressing that “not only literary but also serious political obligations” were involved in its publication.

Lenin’s work Materialism and Empirio-criticism played a decisive part in combating the Machist revision of Marxism. It enabled the philosophical ideas of Marxism to spread widely among the mass of party members and helped the party activists and progressive workers to master dialectical and historical materialism.

his classical work of Lenin’s has achieved a wide circulation in many countries, and has been published in over 20 languages.

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