Fachkonferenz · Berlin

16.05.2024 · 00:00
Images of the Ideal. Evald Ilyenkov at 100

Evald Ilyenkov (1924-1979) was one of the most important philosophers of the Soviet era. His work currently experiences a revival across the globe, with new publications, symposia and translations. Ilyenkov is a thinker who continues to pose challenges to our understanding of the world. His philosophical interests included, among others, dialectics and logic; political economy; psychology; cosmology; cybernetics; aesthetics; pedagogy; subjectivity and personhood. He is famous as the philosophical representative of cultural-historical activity theory in Soviet psychology. Long after the demise of the Soviet Union, his radical approach keeps on shaping educational and psychological orientations worldwide. As a teacher, Ilyenkov aimed to teach his students how (and not what) to think, arguing for a holistic approach that resisted automatisation and unquestioned tenets.

On the occasion of his centenary we plan an international conference in Berlin that critically reassesses and reflects on Ilyenkov’s legacy. However, our event is not just a memorial or a historical engagement. We believe that Ilyenkov’s ideas are prescient to contemporary debates on culture, society, education and science; for example the dangers posed by quantification, artificial intelligence and unrestrained capital accumulation. Celebrating Ilyenkov collectively, we want to focus on a central concern in his work: the concept of the ideal. What are ideals? What is the relation of the ideal to images and imagination? What are the radical and utopian potentialities of the ideal today? And what place does the ideal hold in materialist dialectics?


Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung
Pariser Str. 1, Eingang Meierottostr. 8
10719 Berlin