Webinars normally take place via Zoom video conferencing platform.

Please email to request a link.

Details of the next scheduled webinar can usually be found on our facebook events page.


September On the first anniversary of Sergei Mareev’s passing, Olga Ivashchuk will speak about The Dialectics of Form and the Vitality of Culture: In memory of Sergei Nikolaivitch Mareev.

Olga is Professor at the Institute for Social Sciences of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow. Elena Mareeva will share thoughts on S. Mareev and Ilyenkov’s Concept of the Ideal.

October Social Activity as Key to Connecting Mind and World: Introducing the Philosophy of E.V. Ilyenkov by Andrew Brown, Professor of Economics and Political Economy at University of Leeds.

November Part 2 of Rogney Arencibia’s exploration of Engels and Ilyenkov’s dialectics – commemorating the 200th anniversary of Fred Engels’ birth.  Rogney is based in the Department of Philosophy at Queens University, Kingston.

December Elena Mareeva will speak on The influence of Ilyenkov on late Soviet philosophical thought. Elena teaches at the Moscow State Institute of Culture. Her essay can be read in The Kiev Philosophical School in the light of the Marxist Theory of Activity to The Practical Essence of Man. (Brill 2015/2017). 

Symposium 2021

Our next face-to-face Symposium will be at the Centre for Philosophy of Education, University College London Institute of Education May-June 2021. Themes to be announced.


See our Webinar notes page for audio, video and discussion notes


24 July: Evald Ilyenkov and the development of Marxist thought
presentation by Alexander Surmava

10 July: Ilyenkov’s Dialectics of the Ideal and Engels’ Dialectics of Nature presentation by Rogney Piedra Arencibia

26 June: Mikhail Epstein, Professor of Cultural Theory and Russian Literature, Emory University Atlanta on Theories in Practice: How the Humanities Can Change the World based on his book The Transformative Humanities: A Manifesto (Bloomsbury, 2012)

12 June: Joint webinar with the Leport Literary Club of Kyiv:
On the question of the role of practice in cognition by E.V. Ilyenkov (new draft translation by the Leport Literature Club, Kyiv)
This article was written by Ilyenkov in 1950-1953 but it was published in 2017 for the first time in a book called E. Ilyenkov. From abstract to concrete. The book contains articles written by Ilyenkov in different years and also a foreword by Elena Illyesh and comments by Andrey Maidansky. The original article title is “К вопросу о роли практики в познании“.

29 May: On the social function of Soviet creative Hegelianism
Introduced by Olga Ivashchuk, Doctor of Philosophy, School of Public Policy, RANEPA, Moscow Presentation & discussion

14 May: The ‘Ideal’ Match: On the Reality of Thinking
Introduced by Siyaves Azeri, associate professor of philosophy, visiting researcher, University of Lorraine, Archives Henri Poincare, Nancy, France

24 April Ilyenkov’s Workshop of Thinking by Maria Karakutsa of the Leport Literature Club in Kyiv: Presentation and Notes

4 March Who failed? Failed who? Žižek’s critique of Ilyenkov
By Kyrill Potapov: notes for March 4 webinar


December 19: Chapter 5 of Ilyenkov’s Dialectics of the Abstract and Concrete. 

October 22: We agreed to share notes on Chapter 4 of Ilyenkov’s Dialectics of the Abstract and Concrete before this session. Corinna’s notes are here. Kyrill’s critique of Paul Mason’s Clear Bright Future is here.

September 25: A discussion on the union of the logical and historical based on Penny’s response to the previous discussion.

June 12: Giannis will present on “Reason and Understanding” and Corinna on “Contradiction”

May 15:Human-Machine Dialectics

In his Black Box story, Ilyenkov de-mythologises the ” machine as the devil”. He names the real beast as “capitalism”. This can be viewed as evidence of the dialectical relationship between the means of the production and the mode of production, that Marx set out in Capital.

2. The importance of “discreteness” and dialectical “othering”, for example in the theory of value. In her article “Why Preserve the Name Human” Keti discusses the relation between the Ideal and concepts of the human.

Advance reading
E.Ilyenkov: The Mystery of the Black Box (translated by Giuliano Vivaldi)
E.Ilyenkov. “Lenin’s Dialectics and Metaphysics of Positivism” (1980)
E.Ilyenkov. The Dialectics of the Abstract and the Concrete.
E.Ilyenkov. Dialectics of the Ideal.
K. Chukhrov. “Why Preserve the Name ‘Human’”

Keti’s talk at the Royal Institute of Philosophy:

An abstract of Keti’s lecture can be found here:

April 16: Keti Chukrov will share her study of Ilyenkov’s Mystery of the Black Box (1968)

Keti is currently a Marie S. Curie Fellow at the University of Wolverhampton. An associate professor at the Department of Cultural Theory, National Research University, Higher School of Economics, Moscow (2012-2017) and Head of the theory department at National Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow, she has authored numerous texts on art theory, cultural politics, and philosophy, published in Afterall, Moscow Art Magazine, Artforum, Brumaria, Documenta magazines, e-flux journal, Voprosi Philosophii, Problemi, Stasis, etc. She is currently finishing a book on the interpretation of the notion of “the ideal” in the Soviet Marxist philosophy of 1960s and 1970s.

Here’s a link to a video of Keti Chukhrov presenting a Royal Institute of Philosophy lecture: Whether Ideal Can Be Material: On Soviet Marxist Thought

January 22: What has Ilyenkov’s Ideal got to do with Brexit?


November 29: Reading: First two sections of The dialectics of the Abstract & the Concrete in Marx’s Capital Chapter 5

October 15: We’ll begin by looking at outstanding points from Chapter 3. After that a discussion on Chapter 4 – Logical Development and Concrete Historicism.

September 11: Continuing the discussion on Chapter 3. Dan will introduce the later sections.

Reading:  Chapter 3 of Ilyenkov’s Abstract and Concrete in Marx’s Capital.

Monday 30 July at 15:30 London time GMT +1

Reading:  Chapter 3 of Ilyenkov’s Abstract and Concrete in Marx’s Capital.
Also see notes from December 2016 IFI session here.

Monday 9 July at 15:30 London time GMT +1 The Ideal – a home for lost concepts ?

June 11/12  ifi.2018  Deconstructing Neoliberal Hegemony – Symposium: Copenhagen: see full report

Tuesday 29 May at 15.30 London time

Reading: Contradictions within the Ideal, mediation and transformation in global capitalist society

March 13 

Further discussion on Lenin’s Dialectics,  this essay by Professor Vesa Oittinen, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland

Tuesday, February 13 

Lenin’s Dialectics. Discussion on this essay by Professor Vesa Oittinen, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland

Tuesday January 16 

We discussed the Dialectics of Hegemony

Tuesday 12 December 

We continued the discussion on:

Radical Currents in Soviet Philosophy: Lev Vygotsky and Evald Ilyenkov
by Arto Artinian based on this article .


ISCAR 2017 : August 28 – September 1

Taking a 360° view of the landscape of 
cultural-historical activity research:

The state of our scholarship in practice

5th International Congress
August 28th – September 1st 2017
Quebec, Canada

IFI member Monica Lemos presented a paper:
Networking sites in social movements: communicating and transforming educational realities