Ethical and Historical Justification of Socialism
The author analyses the problematic of historical necessity and ethical regularity of socialism, taking the marxist philosophy as a point of departure. He criticizes opinions represented in philosophical and ideological discussions of this problem in the period of the Second International and argues that the above problematic, which results from a confrontation of marxism with a new historical situation and with the current of the neo-Kantian philosophy, was an axis which has brought into focus the theoretical decisions both of revisionists and critics of marxism on one hand and of orthodox marxists on the other hand.
The author points out that in the revisionist doctrine of E. Bernstein one of the basic philosophical motives was calling in question the marxist category of the scientific socialism. Bernstein argued that this category was internally incompatib1e owing to impossibility to derive the descriptive theory from ideals, to which the labour movement tended, or vice versa. The main source of the philosophical inspiration of Bernstein was the neo-Kantianism of the Marburg school; its leading representative at that time was K. Vorlander, continuator of H. Cohen and B. Natorp. According to Vorlander, socialism, from its very nature, cannot be scientifically justified as an ideal, because the science can take a competent position only to facts, i.e. to something which exists, but not to anything which ought to be. Therefore, he proposes to complete marxism with the ethics of Kant. The ideal of socialism should be justified, in such a way, exclusively on extra-historical postulates of reason, formulated in the Kant’s ethics, and therefore totally apart from the marxist theory. Further the author points out that an attitude formulated in such a way must loosen bonds existing between socialism and marxism and that its basis is an insurmountable dualism of man, as a reasonable being, and of the sensual existence. Under these circumstances, conceptions of Bernstein and Vorlander restore an antinomy between a moral ideal and a historical process that was peculiar to bourgeois thinking and totally strange to the marxist philosophy. He emphasizes also the fact that a limited reception of marxism in the doctrine of K. Kautsky, representing the „orthodox marxism” in controversy to revisionism, did not permit to overcome the standpoint of opponents in a persuasive way. Kautsky denied sensibility of the normative problematic in marxism and stressed merely a historic necessity of socialism. However, he was not able to explain the fact that things which are historically necessary, are at the same time desired by people as morally justified.