Zhang, Xinruo and Huang, Xiaohan

Ontological Dialectic and A Critique of Modernity: Based on the Interpretation of Kosik’s ‘Concrete Totality’

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“Concrete Totality’ is a crucial concept in Karel Kosik’s book Dialectics of the Concrete.  The category ‘totality’ anticipated in modern philosophy since Spinoza and has been elaborated in German classical philosophy as a central concept for distinguishing dialectics from traditional metaphysics.  There is no doubt that the basic logical frame of Kosik’s ‘concrete totality’ is inherited from Lukacs, however the distinctive and authentic philosophical spirit comes from Heidegger, which makes it possible for Kosik to start from reality as concreteness, as a whole that is structured and is in the process of forming.  It is not only the dialectic with certain methodological implications or an epistemological principle, but rather in an ontological sense, which is directly related to human beings’ real historical lives.  This essay will start from Kosik’s famous category ‘concrete totality’ referred to his ontological dialectic and compare his thoughts with Lukacs, Marx, Heidegger, and even Hegel, which relates to a critique of modernity, including his interpretation of Grundrisse and Capital.