Subject Object Cognition. V A Lektorsky 1980

Preface to the English Edition

A great interest is shown in recent English and American literature on epistemology and the philosophy of science in the problem of the development of knowledge, of the socio-cultural conditions for scientific cognition, and the possibility and fruitfulness of the so-called realistic interpretation of scientific knowledge. I believe that the reader abroad is not always fully aware that the view of knowledge in general and scientific knowledge in particular as historically developing, the orientation at studying cognition in a socio-cultural context, and perception of knowledge as reproduction of objective reality are not something entirely new to Marxist philosophers. These approaches express the most significant traits of the Marxist study of knowledge and cognition. It is important to note that the interpretation of these problems in Marxist philosophy is essentially different from those of other philosophical trends. Here I have made an attempt at a Marxist presentation of these problems at the present level of their development. In all cases, of course, I offer my own interpretation and solution of the problems considered. At the same time I endeavour to take into account the results obtained by other Soviet scholars (e.g., in the philosophical interpretation of psychological data in terms of the so-called theory of activity).

I believe that the critical analysis from the Marxist positions of the conceptions of some influential modern English and American philosophers, methodologists, and historians of science (P. W. Bridgman, Th. Kuhn, W. Quine, K. Popper, and others) will be of some interest to the reader of the English edition.

I would like to point out a growing interest of the Soviet researchers today in the study of problems of knowledge with due reference to the data of the special sciences about cognition and at the same time in a broad worldview, socio-cultural, and historical context, in terms of the dialectics of subject and object, of the object-related practical and cognitive activity. I assume that the nearest future will see further publications on the subject. In any case, I intend to continue the studies begun in this book.

V. Lektorsky
Moscow, November 1982