Hudis, Peter

Karel Kosik and American Marxist Humanism


Karel Kosik’sDialectics of the Concrete represented a profound challenge to established Marxism because of its emphasis on the “indispensability of philosophy,” it’s searing critique of the photocopy theory of reality, and its attack of historicism for (in his words) “culling the absolute and the universal out of history.” Unknown to Kosik at the time, Raya Dunayevskaya, a Marxist Humanist theorist living in the U.S. was developing a similar critique in a series of studies on Marx’s humanism, Hegel’s absolutes, and the importance of reconstituting Marxism as a unity of idealism and materialism. This paper will explore the parallel development of these philosophic issueson the part of these two thinkers as well as how the development of American Marxist Humanism was impacted by the brief contract that they were able to establish with one another in the period of the Prague Spring.