Cosmology of the Spirit

  • Evald Ilyenkov
Keywords: dialectical materialism, cosmology, Hegel, Spinoza, Engels, matter, life, thought, entropy


An attempt to give a basic outline of the objective role of thinking matter in the system of universal interaction (A Philosophical-Poetic Phantasmagoria based on the principles of dialectical materialism).

Evald Ilyenkov’s “Cosmology of the Spirit” was written in the 1950s, but published posthumously only at the end of 1980s as it was too heretical to be published during the author’s lifetime. The text was heretical not because it was “dissident” or critical of the Soviet Union where the philosopher lived all his life, but because of its enormously speculative and hypothetical nature. Addressing the physicist idea of the “thermal death of the universe,” and creating an original combination of the Hegelian dialectics and Spinoza’s notion of the attribute, Ilyenkov claims that thought (and the seemingly contingent emergence of “thinking life”) is a necessary attribute of matter, as it is able to prevent the terminal entropic collapse. While other works by Ilyenkov were translated into several European languages, “Cosmology of the Spirit” is here available in English translation for the first time.


Hegel, G. W. F. (1977). Phenomenology of Spirit. Trans A. V. Miller. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Engels, Friedrich (1974). “Dialectics of Nature” [1883]. In Marx & Engels Collected Works, Vol. 25, 313–590. New York: International Publishers.
How to Cite
Ilyenkov, E. (2017). Cosmology of the Spirit. Stasis, 5(2).