Vulgar Materialism

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vulgar Materialism


a tendency of mid-19th century bourgeois philosophy that came into being at the same time as the great discoveries in the natural sciences of the century.

The theoretical predecessor of vulgar materialism was the French materialist P. Cabanis, and its principal representatives were the German philosophers C. Vogt, L. Büchner, and J. Moleschott. F. Engels called them vulgar materialists (Anti-Dühring, 1966, p. 339), because they simplified the materialistic world view, rejected the specific character of consciousness (identifying it with matter), and rejected the need to develop philosophy as a science. At the same time, by popularizing the achievements of natural science and atheism, vulgar materialism had a certain progressive importance, especially in places such as Russia where clericalist viewpoints were strong. Even in Russia, however, vulgar materialism was criticized by the revolutionary democrats. Vulgar materialist tendencies were characteristic of the “mechanists” in the USSR.


Taganskii, T. “Vul’garnyi materializm.” In the collection Iz istorii filosofii XIX veka. [Moscow] 1933.
Istoriia filosofii, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959. Pages 333-37.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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