Černý, Jan

Karel Kosík and Heidegger: from marxism to traditionalism

e-mail: J.Cerny@seznam.cz

The philosophical work of Karel Kosík can be perceived as a dialogue with the thinking of Martin Heidegger. Whereas Dialectics of the Concrete in the first place embraces the existential ontology of Sein und Zeit, the late thinking of Kosík, as we find it in his essays published in recent 20 years, is determined by the late development of Heidegger’s thinking
after his „Kehre“, and first of all by Heidegger’s critique of technology and modern civilization. The bearing of Heidegger on Kosík’s late work was of such a strength that it supressed the initial marxist point of departure of Kosík’s thinking (we may find this process at work already in some Kosík’s texts from the second half of 1960’s). As a result of this, Kosík’s late texts express a certain paradox: Kosík’s critique of (neo)capitalism is included within the broader critique of a way the modern man inhabits the world, yet this broader critique is motivated by a strongly conservative position, corresponding with the type of critique of technoscience brought by phenomenology and first of all by Heidegger. Kosík’s late thinking is forced to point out the way forward, beyond the alienating structures of the capitalist system, by looking back; facing this, we may question the historic nature of Kosík’s „critical thinking“: does it not, after all, lead to the defence of traditionalism?