Güney, Attila

Kosík and Gramsci: An Assessment on Marxist Notions of Totality and Praxis

e-mail: atillagn@gmail.com

In this paper what is aimed is to make a comparative reading of Kosik’s ‘Dialectic of Concrete” and Gramsci’s ‘Prison Notebooks’ by focusing on deeply divisive topics of Marxist philosophy, namely the collective praxis and notion of totality. According to Kosik, philosophy is not merely a reflection or by-product of socio economic conditions but a

fundamental and indispensible activity of mankind. In other words, he defined praxis as including both individual existential and philosophical necessary endeavour of men. In the same line, Gramsci asserts that human praxis consist of both cognitive activities unfolding itself in the form of common sense, ideology and culture on the one hand, and economic production and reproduction relations on the other hand. And both of them conceive philosophy, law, morals, politics and economics as individual moment of man’s social activity. Contrary to this resemblance, formulation of totality in Kosik and Gramsci is very different. While Kosik defines totality as concrete reality in an ontological manner, Gramsci focuses on totality as an epistemological problem – historical block.

In doing this comparison, it will be also traced both the philosophical background – influence of Heiddeger in the case of Kosic and of Croce in Gramsci- and practical conditions – ‘Prague Spring’ against Soviet Union in case of Kosik and Italian Fasicsm that of Gramsci- which have strong influence on their attempt for rejuvenation of Marxist philosophy.