Who we are

The IFI is a group of international scholars, researchers and activists who are reading and exploring the work of oppositional Soviet philosopher E.V.Ilyenkov to help shed light on today’s cultural, philosophical, educational and political challenges.

young ilyenkov

Young IIyenkov

Evald Ilyenkov (1924-1979) was a Soviet philosopher and writer. His approach was based on Marx and Lenin’s examination of the rational golden nugget contained within the “mystical integument” of Hegel’s dialectic. His chief work was on materialist dialectics, in logic and the dialectics of the Ideal. His creative approach brought him into conflict with the scientism and positivism of the Stalinist philosophical establishment of his time.

“When reading the works of Evald Ilyenkov today, in every line I see his delicate and, at the same time, unquiet nature, I feel the flame of his soul, the longing to express the nearness of earthy, irreligious revival of life, and that thrill with a complexity of time, driving to despair sometimes.”

Soviet art critic Mikhail Lifshits (from Andrey Maidansky’s website)

2016-2017 saw a resurgence in Ilyenkov’s popularity. Ilyenkov’s daughter Elena Ilesh published her archival research about the 1954 confrontation between Ilyenkov and his friend Valentin Korovikov and the Soviet philosophical establishment. (see here for more).

Philosophy professor David Bakhurst presented his paper “Punks versus Zombies, Evald Ilyenkov and the Battle for Soviet Philosophy” at the 2017 ISCAR conference in Quebec, and later that year in Prague and at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.


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Whether you are already familiar with Ilyenkov, or encountering his work for the first time, you are welcome to join us in exploring its significance for the 21st century.

If you’d like to join the discussion, contact us here

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