Ollman, Bertell

The Relation of Kosik’s Dialectical Philosophy to Marx’s Dialectical Method: Where to Begin and Why Does that Matter?

e-mail: obertell@netscape.net

While the DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE tries to bring out the internal relations between ontology, epistemology, inquiry, exposition and praxis in Marxism, Kosik’s chief emphasis is on ontology and its influence on these other aspects of Marx’s method. But if all these aspects are internally related, one could, in principle, approach the study of Marx’s ontology from one or more of the other elements of this dialectical whole – that is, from how Marx actually “put dialectics to work” in his writings – to determine what kind of ontology this presupposes. In other words, instead of proceeding from what is basically an assumption regarding the nature of Being, or – in this case – the materialist foundations of everything that is, to what it makes possible in the way of studying any part of it, one could begin with the latter and, using the ways in which Marx arrived at his results,
construct a view of ontology that allows for and even requires such practices. This assumes, of course, that there is a broad consensus on the value of Marx’s achievements, so that we can use the “steps” he took to get there in the manner that I am proposing. The main questions, then, that I will try to answer are – Does approaching Marx’s ontology from the vantage point of his INQUIRY,  EXPOSITION,  and  EPISTEMOLOGY (in this order), and emphasizing these aspects of his method, require some qualification of Kosik’s view of Marx’s ontology? And, if it does – given the internal relations between all these elements – what effect does that have on Kosik’s view of the influence of his version of Marx’s ontology on the rest of Marx’s dialectical method?”