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The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia$
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Robert V. Daniels

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106497

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106497.001.0001

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Fate and Will in the Marxian Vision

Fate and Will in the Marxian Vision

(p.34) Chapter 2 Fate and Will in the Marxian Vision
The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia

Robert Daniels

Yale University Press

Both exponents and critics of Marxism claim that it is a “monistic” philosophy, but in reality it is dualistic. This is due to the contradiction between theory and practice, between scientific (or pseudo-scientific) analysis and revolutionary action. The obvious inconsistency between a determinist philosophy of history and the spirited conduct of political action may be explained in terms of the “predestination paradox,” which has also been used to describe Christian theology. According to the Marxian approach, individuals who are sympathetic to revolution view Marxian determinism as an appealing rationalization for their own impulses, which continue to compel them to action. People are Marxists because they are revolutionary, not the other way around. This chapter explores Marxist dualism in the objective interpretation of the historical process by focusing on Russia. In particular, it considers whether human events are a matter of collective fate or individual will. It also examines whether history makes the person or whether personalities make history and concludes by discussing Friedrich Engels's notion of the revolution as a “leap to freedom”.

Keywords:   Marxism, predestination paradox, revolution, determinism, Russia, collective fate, individual will, Friedrich Engels, freedom

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