Some of this material has already been debated here:
Lenin most definitely didn't believe in Santa Claus and The Tooth Fairy, but if he were consistent with what he wrote in Materialism and Empirio-Criticism [MEC] he should have:
https://www.marxists.org/archive/len...8/mec/one3.htm"Our sensation, our consciousness is only an image of the external world, and it is obvious that an image cannot exist without the thing imagined, and that the latter exists independently of that which images it. Materialism deliberately makes the 'naïve' belief of mankind the foundation of its theory of knowledge." [Lenin (1972), p.69. Bold emphasis added.]
Again, later on he was even clearer:
https://www.marxists.org/archive/len.../mec/four6.htm"The image inevitably and of necessity implies the objective reality of that which it 'images.'" [Ibid., p.279. Bold emphasis added. In both of these, the quotation marks have been altered to conform to the conventions adopted at my site.]
There are several serious problems with this way of viewing things (no pun intended):
(A) Contrary to what Lenin imagined, images not only can, but they do exist without there being anything 'objective' corresponding to them in reality. For instance, it is easy to conjure up an image of Santa Claus, but apparently only children and foolish parents believe he exists.
However, if we take Lenin at his word -- "The image inevitably and of necessity implies the objective reality of that which it 'images'" (emphases added) --, it must mean we should add Lenin to the list of those who believe in Santa Claus!
The following points show that this untoward implication isn't unique:
(1) The existence of mirages doesn't commit us to their 'objectivity'.
(2) It is possible to form images in the mind's eye of people who no longer exist, which fact plainly doesn't imply they do exist.
(3) It is easy to induce vivid but formless coloured images (phosphenes) 'inside' the eyeball by gently pressing one or other of them with a finger. Clearly, this doesn't mean that these artificial images are images of anything 'objective' in the 'outside world'.
(4) Again, by re-focussing, or by pressing one eye, it is possible to form two images of the same object (which our system of sight normally merges into one). But, no one believes that there are in fact two identical copies of the same object in reality answering to these two pre-merged images. By a similar trick, it is also possible to see a three-dimensional image in two-dimensional "magic eye" pictures. Plainly, this doesn't mean that such an image corresponds with anything in the 'external world'.
(5) We see stars every night (or are they merely images of stars?), many of which scientists tell us no longer exist. Does this mean that these scientists are mistaken, and those stars nonetheless do exist?
(6) A scientist photographs a bent stick in a bucket of water. Does this image of the bent stick prove that there really are bent sticks in buckets of water?
(7) Someone claims to see an image of Christ in the clouds. Should we all become Christians?
(8) Those who have lost limbs claim they can still feel those limbs long after they have been amputated. Does this odd sensation (or is it an image?) prove that the surgeon who performed the operation was incompetent? Others experience sensations in their false limbs. Does that show these limbs aren't artificial after all?
Examples like these can be multiplied almost indefinitely. They unambiguously show that images don't imply the existence of what they supposedly 'image'.
If so, why did Lenin claim that DM begins with the "naïve belief" of humankind if this introduces "images" of things that only the severely disturbed actually believe picture things in 'objective' reality? Few ordinary people (not in the grip of superstition, drink, drugs, or mental illness) would be fooled into believing that phantom limbs, mirages, or dragons actually exist -- or even that sticks bend when immersed in water.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/len...8/mec/one3.htm"The 'naïve realism' of any healthy person who has not been an inmate of a lunatic asylum or a pupil of the idealist philosophers consists in the view that things, the environment, the world, exist independently of our sensation, of our consciousness, of our self and of man in general.... Materialism deliberately makes the 'naïve' belief of mankind the foundation of its theory of knowledge." [Ibid., pp.68-69. Bold emphases alone added. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at my site.]
Lenin can't have been unaware of this. In which case, it isn't easy to understand why he concluded that anyone (not afflicted in the above manner) begins with "images" --, rather than with a healthy distrust of them. Or, even better: Why should anyone mention "images" in this connection to begin with, if only the mentally ill, the terminally naïve, the superstitious and those high (perhaps) on LSD or Mescaline would even think to base their knowledge of the world on such things?
(B) There are many things that exist -- to which we can easily refer -- but of which we can form no images. For example, who among us can imagine (or 'image') a light ray, a pi-meson, a gene, 10^100 elementary particles (or even one elementary particle) --, or the universe itself?
This shows that "objectivity" has nothing to do with 'imaginability' (or even 'image-ability').
Of course, the above examples merely confirm that images do not have to correspond with anything in the 'real world', but, as we are about to see, they cannot correspond with them.
(C) Worse still, images cannot correspond with the objects they supposedly depict. If anything, this observation is even more true of the sort of objects and processes studied in the sciences -- or even those mentioned by Lenin.
To be sure, Lenin did attempt to argue as follows:
https://www.marxists.org/archive/len.../mec/four6.htm"It is beyond doubt that an image cannot wholly resemble the model, but an image is one thing, a symbol, a conventional sign, another. The image inevitably and of necessity implies the objective reality of that which it 'images.'" [Lenin (1972), p.279.]
"A reflection may be an approximately true copy of the reflected, but to speak of identity is absurd. Consciousness in general reflects being -- that is a general principle of all materialism. It is impossible not to see its direct and inseparable connection with the principle of historical materialism: social consciousness reflects social being." [Ibid., p.391. Bold emphases added.]
How Lenin knew this to be so is somewhat unclear. Indeed, and quite the opposite, Lenin couldn't possibly have known that an image is an "approximate" copy of the "thing reflected" unless he had independent access to the "thing reflected" with which to compare it. Was he able to 'jump out of his own head'?
Even so, he went on to assert (or imply) the opposite of the above:
https://www.marxists.org/archive/len...8/mec/two1.htm"There is definitely no difference in principle between the phenomenon and the thing-in-itself, and there can be no such difference. The only difference is between what is known and what is not yet known. And philosophical inventions of specific boundaries between the one and the other, inventions to the effect that the thing-in-itself is 'beyond' phenomena (Kant), or that we can and must fence ourselves off by some philosophical partition from the problem of a world which in one part or another is still unknown but which exists outside us (Hume) -- all this is the sheerest nonsense, Schrulle, crotchet, invention." [Ibid., p.110.]
"What two lines of philosophical tendency does Engels contrast here? One line is that the senses give us faithful images of things, that we know the things themselves, that the outer world acts on our sense-organs. This is materialism -- with which the agnostic is not in agreement. What then is the essence of the agnostic's line? It is that he does not go beyond sensations, that he stops on this side of phenomena, refusing to see anything 'certain' beyond the boundary of sensations. About these things themselves (i.e., about the things-in-themselves, the 'objects in themselves,' as the materialists whom Berkeley opposed called them), we can know nothing certain -- so the agnostic categorically insists. Hence, in the controversy of which Engels speaks the materialist affirms the existence and knowability of things-in-themselves. The agnostic does not even admit the thought of things-in-themselves and insists that we can know nothing certain about them." [Ibid., pp.116-17.]
"All knowledge comes from experience, from sensation, from perception. That is true. But the question arises, does objective reality 'belong to perception,' i.e., is it the source of perception? If you answer yes, you are a materialist. If you answer no, you are inconsistent and will inevitably arrive at subjectivism, or agnosticism, irrespective of whether you deny the knowability of the thing-in-itself, or the objectivity of time, space and causality (with Kant), or whether you do not even permit the thought of a thing-in-itself (with Hume). The inconsistency of your empiricism, of your philosophy of experience, will in that case lie in the fact that you deny the objective content of experience, the objective truth of experimental knowledge....
"The Machians love to declaim that they are philosophers who completely trust the evidence of our sense-organs, who regard the world as actually being what it seems to us to be, full of sounds, colours, etc., whereas to the materialists, they say, the world is dead, devoid of sound and colour, and in its reality different from what it seems to be, and so forth.... They do not recognise objective reality, independent of man, as the source of our sensations. They do not regard sensations as a true copy of this objective reality, thereby directly conflicting with natural science and throwing the door open for fideism...." [Ibid., pp.142-43. In all of the above, bold emphases alone added. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at my site.]
These passages seem pretty clear: there can be "no difference in principle" between "the phenomena and the thing-in-itself"; "objective reality" belongs to "perception"; sensations are a "true copy of" objective reality. No hint here of Lenin's more usual 'relativism':
https://www.marxists.org/archive/len...8/mec/two1.htm"In the theory of knowledge, as in every other branch of science, we must think dialectically, that is, we must not regard our knowledge as ready-made and unalterable, but must determine how knowledge emerges from ignorance, how incomplete, inexact knowledge becomes more complete and more exact." [Ibid., p.111. Italic emphases in the original.]
"Dialectics -- as Hegel in his time explained -- contains the element of relativism, of negation, of scepticism, but is not reducible to relativism. The materialist dialectics of Marx and Engels certainly does contain relativism, but is not reducible to relativism, that is, it recognises the relativity of all our knowledge, not in the sense of denying objective truth, but in the sense that the limits of approximation of our knowledge to this truth are historically conditional." [Ibid., p.154.]
But, from the above rather dogmatic pronouncements (for which he offered no proof), it looks like Lenin had already reached the end of that "infinite journey" (along which we are all supposed to be involuntary pilgrims) that takes us ever closer to 'The Truth' (here, quoting Engels):
https://www.marxists.org/archive/len...8/mec/two5.htm"Here once again we find the same contradiction as we found above, between the character of human thought, necessarily conceived as absolute, and its reality in individual human beings with their extremely limited thought. This is a contradiction which can only be solved in the infinite progression, or what is for us, at least from a practical standpoint, the endless succession, of generations of mankind." [Ibid., p.149. For the exact reference to Engels, see below.]
Hence, Lenin doesn't say that perception/sensation is an approximate copy of "objective reality", but that it is a "true copy", and that "objective reality" belongs to "perception" --, nor yet that "the phenomena" roughly correspond to "the thing-in-itself", but that there is "in principle" no "difference" between them.
Again, how he knew all this he annoyingly kept to himself. Sure, he appeals to practice and science to rescue his theory, but if we are to believe Lenin, all he has are images of practice and images of what scientists have to tell us, but with no way of discriminating the valid from the invalid images.
More to follow...