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BOSTON STUDIES IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE

EDITED BY ROBERT S. COHEN AND MARX W. WARTüFSKY

VOLUME LII

,
KAREL KOSIK

DIALECTICS
OF THE CONCRETE
A Study on Problems 01 Man and World
\j

D. RElDEL PUBLISHlNG COMPANY

DORDRECHT-HOLLAND ¡ BaSTaN-U.S.A.
Clolh edition: ISBN 90-277 -0761-8
Paperback edition: ISBN 90~277~0764-2
EDITORIAL PREFACE

KosH<. writes that the history of a text 18 in a certain sense the history of its
interpretations. In !he fifteen years that have passed since the first (Czech)
edition of his Dialectics oi the Concrete, this book has been widely read and
interpreted throughout Europe~ in diverse centers of scholarship as well as
in private studies. A faithful English language edition is long overdue.
This publication of Kosík's work will surely provoke a range of new
interpr.etations. Fa! its theme is the characterization of science and of
rationality in the context of the social roots of science and the social
critiq ue which an appropriately rational science should afford.
D1ALEKTIKA KONKRÉTNÍHO Kosík's question 18: How shall Karl Marx's understanding of science itself
TransIared from the Czech by Karel Kovanda with James Schmidl be understaod' And how can it be further developed' In his treatment of
the question of scientific rationality, Kosík drives blunt1y into the issues of
Published by D. Reidel Publishing Company, gravest human concern, not the least of which is how to avoid the
P.O. Box 17, Dordrecht, Holland pseudo~concrete, the pseudo~scientific, the pseudo~rational, the pseudo-
historicaL Starting with Marx's rnethodological approach, of "ascending
Sold and distributed in the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico froro the abstraet to the concrete", Kosík develops a critique of positivism,
by D. Reidel Publishing Company, Inc, of phenomenalist empiricism, and of "metaphysical" rationalisffi, counter-
Lincoln Building, 160 Old Derby Street, Hingham, posing them to "dialectical rationalism", He takes the category of the
Mass. 02043, U.S.A.
concrete in the dialectical sense of that which comes to be knawn by the
active transformation of nature and society by human purposive activity. In
his wide-ranging critique of contemporary science and culture, Kosik gives a
detailed accaunt and interpretation of Marx's own methadology, in Capital.
Kosík's understanding of science, nature, human nature, and culture
deserve a lively new audience with this translation, for the methodological
and philosophical understanding of social science must once more try to
come t.o terms with the genius of Karl Marx. Kosik' s insights into the
sciences are the outcome of his evident concern to read Marx once again,
All Rights Reserved faithfuIly and deeply. May we, for our part, paint brieOy to Kosík on
Copyright © 1976 by D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Rolland science?
No part of the material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced or HThe purely inteUectual process of science transforms man into an
utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying recording or by any informational storage and
abstract unit, integrated in ... a system, (and) this reflects the real
retrieval system, wi~hout written permission from the copyright owner metamorphosis of roan perfonned by capitalism".
" . through the methodological approach, reality itself is changed:
Printed in The Netherlands
methodology is ontologized".
VI EDITORIAL PREFACE

"Man can penetrate the mysteries of nature only because he forms a


human reality". TABLE OF CONTENTS
"Human praxis unites causality and purposiveness",
" ... cybernetics posed anew the question of what is specifically human".
", .. Marx preved this objective character oflaws of science ... indepen-
dent of the 8cientis1'8 subjective intentions".
Now we invite readers to think through Karel Kosfk's understanding cf v
Editorial Preface
these provocative themes in the philosophy of the sciences, which lead to rus
understanding of the concrete human tife.
L DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE TOTALITY
R. S. COHEN
M. W. WARTOFSKY The World of the Pseudo concrete and Its Destruction I
Center lar Philosophy and History ol Science, The Spiritual and IntellectuaI Reproduction of ReaJity 9
Bastan University Concrete Totality 17
October 1976 Notes 32

IL ECONOMICS AND PHILOSOPHY 36


Metaphysics of Everyday Ufe 37
Care 37
The Everyday and History 42
Metaphysics of Science and Reason 50
Horno oeconomicus 50
Reason, Rationalization, Irrationality 56
Metaphysics of Culture 61
The Economic Factor 61
Art and lts Social Equivalent 66
Historism and Historicism 77
Notes 86

1lI. PHILOSOPHY AND ECONOMY 93


Problems of Marx's Capital 93
lnterpretation of the Text 93
To Abolish Philosophy? 99
The Construction of Capital 106
Man and Thing, Or the Character of Economics 112
Social Being and Economic Categories 112
Philosophy of Labor 118
Labor and Economics 123
Notes 127
VIll TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I
IV. PRAXIS AND TOTALITY 133
Praxis 133
History and Freedom 140 DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE
Man 147
Notes 153 TOTALlTY
lndex oE Names 156

THE WORLD OF THE PSEUDOCONCRETE AND ITS DESTRUCTION

Dialectics is after \he 'thing itself. Bu! the 'thing itself does not show itself
to man immediately. To grasp it calls not only for a certain effort but a1so
for a de tour. Dialectical thinking therefore distinguishes between the idea of
a thing and the concept of a thing, by which it understands not only two
forms and two degrees of cognition of reality but aboye all two categories of
human praxis. Man approaches reality primarily and immediately not as an
abstraet cognitive subject, as a contemplating head that treats realíty
speculatively, but rather as an objective1y and practically acting being, an
historical individual who conducts his practical activity related to nature
and to other people and realizes his own ends and interests within a
particular complex of social relations. As such, reality stands out to.man not
primarily as an object of intuition, investigation, and theorizing, whose
opposite and complementary pole would be an abstraet cognitive subject
existing outside and beyond the world, but rather as the realm of his
sensory.--practical activity, which forms the basis for immediate practical
intuition of reality. In his practical-utilitarian treatment of things, with
re ali t y appearing as the world of means, ends, tools, needs and procuring,
the 'involved' individual forms his own ideas of things and develops an
entire system of appropriate intuitions for capturing and fixing the
phenamenal shape of reality.
'Real existence' and phenomenal forms ofreality are direetly reproduced
in the minds of agents of historically determined praxis as a set of ideas or
as categories of 'routine thinking' (considered only out of a 'barbarian habit'
to be concepts). But these phenomenal forms are diverse and often contradict
the law of the phenomenon, the structure of the thing, Le., its essential
inner kernel and the corresponding concept. People use money and carry
out the most complicated transactions with it without ever knowing, or
having to know, what money 1s. Immediate utilitarian praxis and corres"
ponding routine thinking thus a1low people to find (heir way abaut in the
2 CHAPTER 1 DlALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 3

world, to feel familiar with things and to manipulate them, but it does not Buí the phenomenon sirnilarly reveals the essence. Reveáling the essence is
provide them with a comprehension of things and of reality. That is why fue activity of the phenomenon.
Marx could have written that agents of social conditions feel at ease, as fish The phenomenal world has its structure, its order and its laws that can be
do in water, in the world of phenomenal forms that are alienated [rom their exposed and described. But the structure of the phenomenal world does not
internal connections and are in such isolatian absolutely senseless. They see yet capture the reIationship between this worId and the essence, If the
nothing rnysterious in what is through-and-through contradictory, and in essence did not show itself in the phenornenal world at aH, then the world
their contemplation they take no exception t.o the inversion of the raHonal of reaIity would be radicalIy and fundamentally distinct from that of
and the irrationaL The praxis we are taIking abaut here i5 the historically phenomena. The world of reality would be 'the other world' for man, as in
determined, one-sided and fragmentary praxis of individuals, based Oil the Platonism or Christianity, and the only world accessible to him would be
division of labor, the class differentiation of saciety and the resulting that of phenomena. But the phenomenal world is not something auton·
hierarchy of social status. What is formed in this praxis is both a particular omous and absolute: phenornena turn into a phenomenal world while
material environment of the historical individual, and the spiritual atmos- related to the essence. The phenomenon is not radically distinct from the
phere in which fue superficial shape of reality comes to be fixed as the essence, nar does .the essence belong to a different arder of reality. If this
world of fictitious intimacy, familiarity and confidence within which man were the case, the phenomenon would have no internal relation to the
moves about 'naturally' and with which he has his daily dealings. essence; it could not reveal the essence while covering it up, their
The coHechon of phenomena that crowd the everyday environment and relationship would be one of mutual externality and indifference, To
the routine atmosphere of human life, and which penetrate the conscious~ capture the phenornenon of a certaÍn thing is to investigate and describe
ness of acting individuals with a regularity, immediacy and self-evidence that how the thing itself manifests itself in that phenomenon but also how it
lend thero a semblance of autonomy and naturalness, constitutes the world hides in it. Grasping the phenomenon negotiates access to the essence.
of the pseudoconcrete. This world includes: Without the phenornenon, without this activity of manifesting and
the world of external phenomena which are played out on the surface of revealing, the essence itself would be beyond reach. In me world of the
real essential processes; pseudoconcrete, the phenomenai aspect of the thing, in which me thing
the world of procuring and manipulation, Le., of man's fetishised praxis reveals and conceals itself, is considered to be properJy the essence, and the
(which is not identical with the revolutionary-critical praxis of mankind); distinction betwecn the phenomenon and the essence disappears. Is thus the
the world of routine ideas which are externa! phenomena projected into distinction between the phenomenon and the essence the same as between
man's consciousness, a product of fetishised praxis; they are ideological the real and the unreal, or as between two different orders of reality? Js the
forms of the movement of this praxis; essence any more real than the phenomenon? Reality is the unity of the
the world of fixed objects which give the impression of being natural phenomenon and the essence. Consequently, the essence could be equal1y as
conditions and are not irnmediately recognizable as the result of man's unreal as the phenomenon, and vice-versa, if either one were isolated and in
social activity. this isolation considered to be the One and only <authentic' reality.
The world of the pseudoconcrete is the chiaroscuro of truth and deceit. Thus the phenomenon is aboye aH soroething that shows itself immedi·
It thrives in ambiguity. The phenomenon conceals the essence even as it ately, contrary to the concealed essence. But why does the <thing itself, the
reveals it. The essence manifests itself in the phenomenon, but only to a structure of the thing, not show itself immediately and directly? Why must
certain extent, partial1y, just in certain sides and aspects. The phenomenon one undertake a detour and exert effort in order to grasp it? Why is the
indicates something other than itself and exists only thanks to its opposite. "thing itself concealed froro immediate perception? In what way is it
rhe essence is not immediately given: it is mediated by the phenomenon concealed? It cannot be concealed absolutely; for if man can at all search
and thus shows itself in something other than what it is itself. The essence for the structure of the thing and if he wants to investigate this 'thing itself,
manifests itself in the phenomenon. lts manifestation in the phenomenon ir it is at aH possible to expose the concealed essence or the structure of
signifies its movement and proves that lhe essence is not inert and passive. society, then prior to any investigation roan already has to have a certain
4 CHAPTER 1 DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 5

cognizance that there exists something such as the structure of the thing, thing. In tbis process, the peripheral is not cast aside, it is not separated out
the essence of the thing, me 'thing itself, that there exists a hidden trum of as less real or as unreal. Instead, its character is demonstrated as being
things which is different from phenomena that reveal themselves imrnediate- phenomenal or peripheral by proving the truth of the thing in its essence.
1y. Man undertakes a detaur and exeris an effort in exposing truth only This division of the one which i5 a constitutive element of philosophical
because he somehow assumes that there 18 a truth to be exposed, and cognition - there is no cognition without division -- displays a structure
because he has a certain cognizance of the 'thing itself. But why is the analogous to that of human activity: for activity, too, is based on dividing
structure of the thing not accessible directly and immediately? Why i8 a the one.
detour necessary to capture it'! And, where dces the detour lead to? If the The fact that thinklng spontaneously moves in a direction counter to the
phenom enon of the thing is grasped in irnmediate perception, rather than character of reality, that it has an isolating and 'paralysing' effeet, and that
the 'thing itself, is it because me strueture of the ming is a reality of a this spontaneous movernent contains a tendency toward abstractness, is not
different order than lS the phenomenon? 18 it consequently a different in itself an immanent property of minking, but rather follows from its
reality altogether, one that is behind phenomena? practical function. AH activity is 'one-sided'3 because it pursues a particular
The essence, unlike phenomena, does not manifest itself to us directly, goal, and therefore isolates sorne moments of reality as essential while
and the concealed basis of things has to be exposed in a specific activity. leaving others aside, This spontaneous activity elevates certain moments
This is precisely why science and philosophy existo If me phenomenal form important for attaining particular goals and thus c1eaves a unified reality,
and the essence of things were coterminous, science and philosophy would intervenes in reality, 'evaluates' reality.
be superfluous. 1 The spontaneous inclination of 'praxis' and thinking to iso1ate phenom-
Since ancient times, effort aimed at exposing the structure of things and ena and to divide reality into what is essential and what is peripheral is
me 'thing itse1f has always been a matter for philosophy. Different always accompanied by an awareness o/ the whole in which and from which
significant philosophical trends are but so many variations of this basic certain aspects have been isolated. This awareness is a1so spontaneous,
problem and of solutions to it at different stages of the development of though it is 1ess c1early apparent to naive consciousness, and is frequently
mankind, Philosophy is an indispensable activity of mankind because the unconscious. Dirn awareness of a 'horizon of indeterminate reality' as a
essence of things, the structure of reality, me 'thing itself, me being of whole is the ubiquitous backdrop of all activity and thinking, unconscious
existents do not show themselves directly and immediately. In this sense, though it may be for naive consciousness.
philosophy can be characterized as a systematic and critical effort directed Phenomena and ph'enoroenal forros of things are spontaneously repro~
at capturing the thing itself, at uncovering the structure of mings, at duced in TOutine thinking as reality (Le" as reality itsel!) not because mey
exposing the being of existents. are on the surface and thus closest to sensory cognition, but because the
The coneept of the thing means comprehending the thing, and phenomenal form of things is the natural product of everyday praxis, The
comprehending the thing means knowledge of me thing's strueture, The everyday utilitarian praxis gives rise to 'routine thinking' - which covers
most proper characteristic of cognition is its dividing the one. Dialectics both familiarity with things and with their superficial appearance, and the
does not enter cognition from without or as an afterthought, nor is it a technique of handling things in practice - as a fonu of movement and
pr¿perty of cognition. Rather, cognition is dialectics itse1f, in one of its existence. But the world that exposes itself to roan in his fetishised praxis,
forms: cognitíon is dividing the one. In dialectical thinking, the terms in procuring and manipulation, is not a real world, though it does have a real
'concept' and 'abstraction' have the significan ce of a method that divides world's 'firmness' and its 'effectiveness'; rather, it is a 'world of appearances'
the one in order to intellectually reproduce the structure of the thing, Le., (Marx), The idea of a thíng postures as the ming itself and forms an
to comprehend it. 2 ideological appearance but it is not a natural property of mings and of
Cognition is realized as separation of the phenomenon froro the essence, reality; rather, it is the projection of certain petnfied historical conditions
of the peripheral from the essential, because only such a separation can into me consciousness of the subjec!'
demonstrate their internal connection and thus the specific character of the Distinguishing between the idea and the concept, between the world of
6 CHAPTER 1 DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 7

appearances and that of reality, between everyday utilitarian praxis of the world of appearances (of fixed ideas) is anchored in an inverted (reified)
peopIe and the revolutionary praxis of mankind, in one phrase: 'dividing the materiality. Marxist theory has to initiate the analysis by asking why were
one', is the mode by which thinking penetrates to the 'thing itself', peopIe aware of their own time precisely in these categories, and what kind
Dialectics is critical thinking that strives to grasp the 'thing itself and oi a time do people find reflected in them, With this question, the
systematically searches for a way to grasp reality. Dialectics i5 thus the materialist prepares the ground for destroying the pseudoconcrete both of
opposite of doctrinaire systematization or romanticization of routine ideas. ideas and of conditions, whereupon he can suggest a rational explanation of
Thinking that wants to know reality adequately will be satisfied neither the internal connection between the times and the ideas.
with abstraet schemes of th15 reality nor with equally abstraet ideas of it. It rhe destruction of the pseudoconcrete, the dialectical-critical method
therefore has to abolish* the apparent autonorny of the world of irnmediate of thinking that dissolves fetishised artifacts bOtll of the world of things and
everyday contacts. Such thinking, which abolishes the pseudoconcrete in of that of ideas, in arder to penetrate to their reality, 1S of course only
arder to reach the concrete, i8 also a process that exposes a real world under another aspect of dialectics as a revolutionary method af transfonning
the world of appearances, the law of the phenomenon behind the reality. To interpret the world critically, the interpretation itself must be
appearance of the phenomenon, real internal movement behind the visible graunded in revolutionary praxis. We sha11 see later on that reality can be
movement, the essence behind the phenomenon. 4 What lends these transformed in a revolutionary way only because, and only insofar as, we
phenomena a pseudoconcrete character is not their existence as such but the ourselves form reality, and know that reality 1S formed by us. In this
apparent autonomy of their existen ce. In destroying the pseudoconcrete, respect, the difference between natural reality and sacio~human reality is
diaIectical thinking does not deny the existence or the objective character of th1S, that though man can change and transforrn nature, he can change
these phenomena, but rather abolishes their fictitious independence by socio-human reality in a revolutionary way; but he can do so only because
demonstrating their mediatedness, and counters their clairn to autonomy he forms this reality himself.
wi th proving their derivative character. rhe real world, concealed by the pseudoconcrete, and yet manifesting
Dialectics does not consider fixed artifacts, formations and objects, the itself in 1t, is neither a warld of real conditions opposed to unreal anes, nar
entire complex of both 1he material world of things and that of ideas and of a world of transcendence opposed to a subjective illusion, but a world of
routine thinking, to be something original and autonomous. It does not human praxis. It is the comprehension of socio-human reality as the unity
accept thern in their ready-made form, but subjects them to investigation in of production and products, of subject and object, of genesis and structure.
which the reified forms of the objective and the ideal worlds dissolve, lose The real world is thus not the world of fixed 'real' objects leading a
their fixed and natural character and their fictitious originality, and show up transcendental existence behind their fetishised forms, as in sorne natural-
as derivative and mediated phenomena, as sediments and artifacts of the istic parallel to Platonic ideas; rather, it is a world in which things, meanings
social praxis of mankind. 5 and relations are conceived as products of social man, with man himself
Uncritical reflective thinking~ will immediately, Le., with no dialectical exposed as (he real subject of the social world, The world of reality is not a
analysis, causally relate fixed ideas with equally fixed conditions, and will secularized image of paradise, of a ready~made and timeless state, but is a
present this manner of 'barbarian thinking' as a 'materialist' analysis of process in which mankind and the individual reaUze their truth, Le.,
ideas. Since peopIe have been aware of their own time (Le., they have humanize man, The world of reality, unlike the world of the pseudo-
experienced, evaluated, criticised and grasped it) in categories of 'the concrete, is a world of realizing truth, a world in which truth is not given
callier's faith' ar of 'petit~bourgeois scepticism', the doctrinaire believes that and preordained, and as such copied, ready-rnade and irnmutable, in human
he has 'scientifically' analysed these ideas once he identifies their corres- consciousness, but rather a warld in which truth happens. This 1S why
ponding economic, soéial, or c1ass equivalents. Thls 'materialization' of human history can be the story of truth and the happening of truth,
caurse accomplishes nothing but a double mystification: the inversion of Destroying the pseudoconcrete rneans that truth is neither unattainable, nar
aHainable once and for a11 time, bui that truth itselfhappens, Le" develops
*See note on p. 99. and realizes itself.
8 CHAPTER 1 DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 9

The pseudoconcrete is thus destroyed in the following ways: (1) by the THE SPIRITUAL AND INTELLECTUAL REPRODUCTlON OF REALlTY
revolutionary-critical praxis of mankind which is identical with the
humanization of man, with social revolutions as its key stages; (2) by Because thlngs do not show man immediately what they are, and because
dialectieal thinking which dissolves the fe tishised world of appearanees in man does not have the ability to irnrnediately intuit things in their essence,
order to penetrate to reality and to the 'thing itself; (3) by the realization mankind arrives at the cognition of things and of their structure vía a
of truth and fue forming of human reality in an ontogenetic process; since detour. Precisely beeause this detaur is the only negoliable path to truth,
the world of truth is also the own individual creation of every human every now and then will mankind attempt to spare itself the trouble of the
individual as a social being. Every individual has to appropriate his own long journey and seek to intuit lhe essenee of things directly (mysticism is
culture and lead hls own life by himself and non-vicariously. man's impatience in the search for truth). But man is also in danger of losing
Destroying the pseudoconérete is thus not líke tearing down a curtaill to his way on this detour, or of getting stuek halfway.
discover a ready-made and given reality, existing independentIy of man's 'Self-evidenee,' far from being the evidence and clarity of the tl1ing itself,
activity hiding behind it. The pseudoconcrete i5 precisely the autonomous is the opaeity of the idea of the thing. What is natural shows up as
existen ce of man's products and the reduction of rnan to the level of unnatural. Man has to exert effort to emerge from his 'state of nature' and
utilitarian praxis. Destroying the pseudoconcrete is the process of forming a to become a man (man works himself up to being aman) and to recognize
concrete reality and of seeing reality in lts concreteness. IdeaHst trends have reality for what it is. Great philosophers of all limes and tendencies, Plato
either absolulized the subjeet, and deal with the problem of how to look at with his myth of the cave, Bacon with his irnage of idoIs, Spinoza, Hegel,
reality so that it be concrete and beautiful, or they have absolutized the Husserl and Marx, have all correctly characterized cognition as overcoming
objeet, and believe that the more perfectly the subject is eliminated from that which is natural, as supreme activity and 'use of force'. The dialectic of
reality, the more real reality is. The materialist destruction of the activity and passivity in human cognition is manifest particularly in the faet
pseudoconcrete by contrast results in the liberation of the 'subject' (Le., in that in order to lmow things in themselves, man has to transform them into
concrete seeing of reality as opposed to fetishist 'intuiting' of it) merging things for himself; to know things as lhey are independently ofhim, he has
with the liberation oí the 'object' (with the forming of a human to subject them to hi5 praxis; to find out how they are without his
environrnent in terms of humanly transparent and rational conditions), interference he has to interfere with thern. Cognition is not contemplation.
because the social reality of people forms itself as a dialectical unity of the Contemplation of the world i5 based on the results of human praxis. Man
subject and the objec!. knows reality only insofar as he forms a human reality and acts primordially
The eall 'ad fontes' that one periodieally hears as a reaclion against the as a practical being.
most diverse manifestations of the pseudoconcrete, as well as the positivist In order to come clase to the thing and lts structure, and to find access
methodological rule of 'presupposítionlessness', have their basis and to it, sorne distance is imperative. It is well known how difficult it is to deal
substantiation in the materialist destruction of the pseudoconcrete. The scientifically with current events, whereas analysing events past is relatively
return to 'the sources' takes on two entirely different forms, though. At easier, for reality itself has performed a certain elimination or ,a 'critique'.
times it appears as a humanist, scholarly, learned critique of sources, as an Science has to replicate this natural course of history artificially and
investigation of archives and of antiquities, from which true reality is to be experimentally. What is the basis of this experiment? It is the appropriate
derived. But in its more profound and more important form, which even and substantiated distance of science, from which things and events are seen
learned scholasticism finds barbarie (as testified by reactions to adequately and without distortion. (The importance of this thought
Shakespeare and Rousseau), the call 'ad fontes' signifies a critique of experiment which substitutes for real historical distance has been emphas-
civilization and culture, a romantic or a revolutionary attempt to discover ized by Sehiller, in the context of drama.)
productive activity behind products and artifaets, to find the 'real reality' of The structore of the thing, that is, lhe thing itself, can be grasped neither
the concrete man behind the reified reality of reigning culture, to dig out immediately, nor by contemplation ar mere reflection, but only by a certain
the authentie subject of history from under the sediment of fixed activity. It is impossible to penetrat.e to the 'thing itself' or to answer the
conventions. question, what the 'thing ¡tself is, without analysing the activity through
lO CHAPTER 1 DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE II

which the thlng is grasped. Such an analysis has to caver a180 the problem of this manifests itself in concrete acts of perceiving and experiencing in any
creating this very activity which negotiates access to the 'thing itself. These explicitly predicative formo Thus in the course of appropriating the wOrl,d
activities are different kinds or modes of human appropriation of the world. spiritually-practically, which is the basis for all o!her modes úf appropn-
Problems eJaborated in phenomenology under such descriptions as ation _ the theoretical, artistic, etc. - reality is perceived as an un-
'intentionality toward something', 'intention of meaninoe toward something' , differentiated whole af existents and af meanings, and it is implicitly
or as various 'modes of perception' have been interpreted on a materialist grasped in a unity of statements of fact and those of value. It takes
basis by Marx, as various kinds of human appropriation of the world: the abstraction and thematization, a project, to select out of this fun and
spiritual-practical, theoretical, artístic, religious, but also the mathernatical, inexhaustible world of reality certain areas, aspects and spheres, which naive
physical, etc. One cannot appropriate mathernatics, and thus grasp it, with naturalism and positivism would then consider to be the only true ones and
an intentionality that lS not appropriate for mathematical reality, e.g. with a the only reality, while suppressing the 'rest' as sheer subjectivity. The
religious experience or with artistic perception. Man lives in several worlds, physicalist image presented by positivism impoverishes the human world,
but to each of them there is a different key. One cannot move from one and its absolute exclusiveness deforms reality, because it reduces the real
world to another without the right key, Le. without changing the world to but one dimension and aspect, to fue dimension of extensity and
intentionality and the mode of appropriating reality. In modern philasophy of quantitative relations. In addition, it cleaves tbe human world, when it
and modern science, which have been permanently enriched by the concept declares the world of physicalism, !he world of idealised real values, of
of praxis, cognition represents one mode of man's appropriating the world; extensity, quantity, mensuration and geometric shapes to be the only
and every such mode of appropriatiolJ- has two constitutive elements reality, while ca11ing man's everyday world a fiction.
namely its subjective and its objective sense. What is the intentionality, wha;, In the world of physicalism that modern positivism considers to be the
is the view, the sense that ruan has to develop, to 'rig up', in order to grasp only reality, man can exist only in a particular abstract activity, Le. as a
and uncover the objective sense of the thing? The process of capturing and physicist, statistician, matllematician, or a linguist, buI. not in all of his
exposing the sense of the thing amounts al the same time to forming the potentialities, not as' a whole mano The physical world, a thematized mode
appropriate 'sense' in man with whlch he can comprehend the sense of the of cognition of the physical reality, is anly ane of the possible images of the
thing. The objective sense of the thing can be grasped if ruan cultiva tes the world, and expresses certaín essential properties and aspects of objective
appropriate sense. These sen ses with which ruan uncovers both reality and reality. Apart from the physical world there exist other worlds, too, and
the sense of reality are themselves an historical-social product. 7 equally justified ones: e.g., the artistic, the biological, etc.; in other v.:~r~s,
AH degrees of human cognítion, sensory or rational, as wel1 as all modes reality is not exhausted in the physical picture of the world. POSltlVlst
of appropriating reality, are activities based on the objective praxis of physicalism has substituted a certain image of reality for reality itself and
mankind, and are consequently in sorne degree connected with and in sorne has promoted a certain mode of appropriating the wor1d as the only true
way mediated by all other modes. Man always perceives more than what he one. Thereby it denied, first, the inexhaustibi1ity of the objective world and
sees and hears immediately. 111e building that I see in front ofme I perceive its irreducibility to knowledge, which is one of the fundamental theses of
prirnordially and immediately as 2n apartment h011se, a factory or as an materialism, and, second, it impoverished the human world by reducing the
historical rnonument, and this immediate sensory perception 1S realized in a wea1th of human subjectivity, formed historically through !he objective
certain mood which manifests itself as interest, indifference, astonishment, praxis of rnankind, to one single mode of appropriating rea1ity.
revulsion, etc. In the same way, the din I hear, I perceive first of a11 as the Every particular thing upon which man focuses his view, attention,
din of an approaching or departing plane, and lean tell by the very sound action or evaluation, emerges from a certain whole which envelops it and
whether it is a 'copter, jet, fighter or transport plane, etc. Thus in a certain which ruan perceives as an indistinct background or as a dimly intuited
way, al! of my knowledge and culture participates~in rny hearing and seeing, imaginary context. How does man perceive individual things? As absolutely
as do a11 my experiences, current or those buried in oblivion to be recovered isolated and unique, perhaps? Actually, he always perceives fuero in a
in certain situations, and a11 my thinking and judgement, although none of horizon of a certain whole, which is usually unexpressed and not perceived
DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 13
12 CHAPTER 1

explicitly. Whatever man perceives, observes, works Oil, is a part of a whole, Epistemology as the spiritual reproduction of society emphasizes t~e
and it is precisely tbis not explicitIy perceiyed whole which is the light that active charaeter of cagnition on alllevels, Elementary sensory knowledge 1S
illurninates and reveals the very uniqueness and significance of the unique not the result of passive perception but of perceptional activity, Yet, as
thing under observation. Human consciousness therefore has to be invest· incidentally follows from the central tenet of this work, every epistemology
igated both in its theoretical-predicative form, of explicit, substantiated is implicitly or explicitly based on a certain theory of reality, and
rational and theoretical cognition, and in its pre·predicative, holistically presupposes a certain concept of reality. Materialist epistem.ology, as ~he
intui~ive formo Consciousness is the unity of both forms which interrningle
intellectual reproduetion of society, is based on a eonception of reahty
and lllfluence one another, because they are based, united, Oil objective different from that of the method of reduction. Reduction presupposes a
praxis al1d on the spiritual-practical reproduction of reality. Denying or rigid substance and immutable, further irreducible elements, to which the
invalidating the first form leads to irrationalism and ta assorted varieties of diversity and variety of phenomena can in the 1ast anaJysis be redueed. The
'vegetative thinking', whereas denying ar underrating the second form leads phenomenon is considered explained when reduced to its ~sse.nce,. to a
to rationalisrn, positivism and scientism which in their one*sidedness general law, to an abstraet principIe. How untenable reduCtiO~lSm 1S for
inexorably produce irrationality as their own complemento social reality has been demonstrated by a well*known observatlOn: Franz
Yet why daes theoretical thinking tum into a 'universal medium' through Kafka 1s a petit-bourgeois intelleetual; yet not eve¡y petit*bourgeois
which everything that had been experienced in an expelience, in tuited in an intelleetuaI is a Franz Kafka. The method of reductionisrn subsumes the
intuition, imagined in an idea, performed in an acüon and felt in a feeling unique under the gene rally abstraet, and posits two unmediated poles:
has to once again make its passage? Why is the reality which man abstraet individuality on the one end and abstract generality on the other.
appropriates aboye aIl spiritually-practically, and on this basis also Spinozism and ph.ysicalism are the two most wide-spread varieties of the
artisticalIy> religiously> etc., the reality that man experiences> evaluates> and reduetionist methad whieh translates the wealth of reality into something
works on, why is it appropriated once again theoretically? A certain basic and elementary. AH the richness of the world is jettisoned inta the
'privileged character' of the theoretical sphere over all others can be abyss of an irnrnutable substance. For Spinoza, this method is just another
demonstrated in the faet that anything can become a tapie for theory and side of moral asceticism which proves t11at a11 wealth is actually non-wealth,
subjected to explidt analytieal investigation: aside fram art !here 1S a theory that everything concrete and unique is illusory, 111ere is a certain
of art, aside from sport there 18' a theory of sport> aside from praxis a theary intelleetual tradition that would consider Marx's theory to be dynamized
of praxis, What is this 'privHeged character' abaut? Daes perhaps the truth Spinozisrn; as though Spinoza's immutable substance were set in m.o~on. In
of art lie in the theory of art, and the truth of praxis in the theory of this form, modern materialism would be of eourse merely a vanatlOn on
praxis? Does fue impaet of art follow from the theory of art and the impact metaphysics. Modern materialisrn has not dynamised an i~mutable
of praxis from its own particular theory? These are indeed the assumptions substanee, but has posited the 'dynamics' and the dialectics of belllg as the
of every caricature and of every forrnalist-bureaucratic eoneept oftheory. 'substance'. Coming to know the substance thus does not amount to
Theory, however, determines neither the truth nor the impact of th1s or that reducing the 'phenomenan' to a dynamized substance, Le. to somethi~g
non-thearetical kind of appropriating reaIity, but represents rather the concealed behind phenomena as something independent of them; rather, lt
explicitly reproduced comprehension of the corresponding kind of is cognition of the laws of movement of the thing itself. The very move*
appropriating, whose intensity, truthfulness, etc. it influenees in its own ment of the thing, or the thing in motion, is lhe 'substance'. The
turno movement of the thing forms particular phases, forms and aspects that
Materialist epistemology, as the spiritual reproduetion of society, cannot be comprehended by reducing thero to a sub stance , but that are
captures the two*fold character of consciousness which both positivism and comprehensible as an explication of the 'thing itselr, Religion can be
idealism miss. Human consciousness is at once a 'reflection' and a 'project', materialistically comprehended not by finding the eartIlly kernel of religious
ít registers as well as eonstructs and plans, it both refleets and anticipates, is
artifads or by reducing them to material conditions, but only as an inverted
both receptive and active. To let the 'thing itseIr express itself, to add and mystified activity of man, the objeetive subjeet. The 'substance~ of roan
notrung and just let thjngs be as they are - th1s requires a special aetivity. is abjective activity (praxis), not sorne dynamized substance III man,
14 CHAPTER 1 D1ALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 15

Reductionism is (he method of 'nothing bu!'. The wealth of the world is cognizable by man immediately, though it is given immediately to his senses
'nothing but' a substance, irnmutable or dynamized. Therefore reductionism as the idea, the intuition, the experience. The whole that i5 irnmediately
cannot rationalIy explain new phenomena, ar qualitative development. lt accessible to man is a chaotic and opaque whole. A detour is necessary in
will reduce anything new to conditions and prerequisites; the new i5 arder to know and comprehend this whole, to clarify and explícate it: the
'nothing but' - the old 8 concrete 1S comprehensible by way of the abstracl, the whole by way of its
If the entire richness of rnan as a social being were reduced to the parts. Precise1y because the journey of truth 1S roundabout ~ der Weg der
statement that the essence of roan lS the production of tools, and if the Wahrheit ist Umweg ~ man can lose his way or get stuck halfway.
entire social reality were in the last analysis deterrnined by economics, in The method of ascending from the abstract to the concrete is a method
the sense of the economic factor, the following question would aTise: Why of thinking, in other words l it is a movement realized in the concepts and
do es this factor have to be disguised, why does it realize itself in forros that the life~element of abstraction. Ascending from the abstract to the concrete
are innately alien to it, 5uch as imagination and poetry?9 is not a transition from one leve1 (the sensory) to another (the rationa1); it i5
How can the new be comprehended? According to the aboye conception, rather movement in thinking and the motion of thought. If thinking i5 to
by reducing it to the oId, to conditions and prerequisites. New appears here ascend from the abstraet to the concrete, it has to move in its own
as something external, as a supplement to material reality. Matter is in life~element, i.e. on an abstract level which is the negation of sensoI)'
motíon but does not have the property of negativity.' o Ooly such a concept immediacy, ciadty and concreteness. Ascending from the abstract to fue
of matter that in matter itself discovers negativity, that is, the potentiality concrete is a movement for which every beginning is abstraet and whose
to produce new qualities and higher stages of development, can rnaterial- dialectics consists of transcending th1S abstractness, Ascending from the
istically explain the new as a property of the material world. Once matter is abstract to the concrete is therefore generany a movement [ram the part 10
grasped as negativity, scientific explanation no longer amounts to reduction, the whole and from the whole to its parts, froro the phenomenon to the
to reducing the new to prerequisites, to reducing concrete phenomena to an essence and from the essence to the phenomenon, from totality to
abstract base, and it instead becomes the explication al phenomena. Reality contradiction and from contradiction to totality, from the object to the
is explained not by reducing it to something other than what it is itseií, Out subject and floro the subject to the object. Ascending from the abstract to
by having it explicate i(self, in unfolding and illuminating its phases and the concrete, which amounts to materialist epistemology, is the dialectics of
aspects of its movement. 11 the concrete totality in which reality is intellectually reproduced on ail
The starting point of the investigation must be formalIy identical with the levels and in all dimensions. TIle process of thinking not only transforms the
result. The identity of tbis starting point must be rnaintained throughout chaotic whole of ideas into a cIear whole of concepts; but in this process,
!he whole course of thinking, as the only guarantee that thinking will not the whole itself is outlined, determined and comprehended, too.
start its journey with Virginia Woolf and end it with the Big Bad Wolf. But As we know, Marx distinguished between the rnethod of investigation
the sense of me investigation is in this, mal' in a spiral movement, it reaches a and that of exposition. Nevertheless, the method of investigation is
result which had not been known at the outset, and !hus that while the frequently passed over as something familiar, whereas t~e method of
starting poínt and the result are formally identical, thinking does in the end exposition is taken merely for a fcrm of presentation. It i5 ignored that
arrive at something different in content than what it had started with. precisely this rnethod renders the phenomenon transparent, raHonal and
l1ünking progresses from a vibrant, chaotic, immediate idea of the whole comprehensible. The method of investigation involves three stages:
toward concepts, to abstract conceptual determinations, and in summing
them up it returns to the starting point which no longer is an un- (I) Appropriating the material in detail, maslering il to (he last
comprehended thougb vibran( whole of immediate perception, but a richly historically accessible detail.
differentiated and comprehended whole of the concept. The joumey from (2) Analysing its different forms of development.
the 'chaotic idea of the whole' to the 'rich totality of many determinations (3) Tracing out their internal connections, Le. determining the unity of
12
and relations' is identical with comprehending reality. The whole i5 not different forms in the development of the materiaL
16 CHAPTER 1 DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 17
Without master,"ng th,"s method
, of"mves t"19a t"1011, any dialectics is but Explication is a method that proves the unfolding of the thing to be a
harren speculation. necessary transformation of the abstraet into the concrete, Ignoran ce ofthe
That with which science initiates its exposition is already the result of method of dialectical explication based on comprehending reality as a
res~arc~ and of a critical-scientific appropriation of the subject-matter. rhe concrete totality leads either to subsuming the concrete under the abstract,
begm~mg hof the presentation is a mediated beginning which like a germ or to skipping intermediate links and to creating forced abstractions.
contams t e construction of the whole work. But precisely what can and Materialist dialeciics as a method of scientific clarification of the
should serve as the beginning ol the exposition, Le. of the scientific socio-·human reality thus is not a search for the earthly kernel of spiritual
unfoldi~g (explkation) ofthe problematique, is not known at the beginning artifacts (as Feuerbach's reductionist, Spinozist materialism would have 1t),
of t~e m~es~gatlOn. rhe beginning of the exposition and the beginning of nar does it assign cultural phenomena to their economic equivalents (as
~e mvestIgatlOll ~re two different thíngs. rhe beginnL'1g ofthe investigation Plekhanov had taught, in the same Spinozist tradition), or reduce culture to
18 rando~ and ~rbltra~, the beginning of the exposition is necessary. the econornic factor. Dialectics is not a method ofreduction, buta metl10d
Ma.rx s CapItal begms - and this faet has sinee beeome trivial _ by an af spiritual and intellectual reproduction Di society, a method of unfolding
analySls of a commodity. But the knowledge that a commodity is a cell of and explieating social phenomena on the basis of the objective activity of
the capltahst soeIety, an abstraet beginning whose unfold,"no w,"ll reprod uee
• 1;>
the historical mano
the w~?le mternal strueture of the eapitalist soeiety - this origin of the
eXpOSltl,On results from an investigatio11, froro a scientific appropIiation of
¿
the. subJect-matte:'. comrno~ity is an 'absolute reality' for the capitalist
CONCRETE TOTALITY

soclety ,b~cause It lS the U111ty of all determinations, the gerrn of aH The category of totality, anticipated in modern thinking especially by
contradlctlOns, and as sueh can be characterized in Hegelian terms as the Spinoza with his natura naturans and natura naturata, has been elaborated
unity of being and not-being, of the differentiated and the undifferentiated, in German c1assical philosophy as a central concept for polemically
of .l~e~ttty and non-identity, AH other determinations are but richer distinguishing dialectics from metaphysics" The standpoint of totality,
def¡m~lOns ,and eoneretizat~~ns of 1his 'absolute' of the capitalist society. which grasps reality in its internal laws and uneovers necessary internal
The dlalectIes of the expOsltlon or of the explieation may 110t overshadow eonnections under superficial and haphazard phenomena, is juxtaposed
the centr~ pro~lem: how does scienee arrive at the necessary origin of the against the standpoint of empiricism that dwells on such haphazard
presen~atwn, l.e. of the explication? Not distinguishing or indeed phenomena and cannot arrive at a eomprehension of the development of
c~nfu.slDg ~he. beginning of the investigation with that of the exposition'(ex- reality. By the standpoint of totality we understand the dialectics of
phcatlOn! ~n mterpreting Marx's work beeomes a soUrce of the trivial and lawfulness and randomness, of parts and the whole, of products and
of the n,dlc~lous, The. beginning of the investigation is arbitrary but the producing, etc. Marx 13 adopted this dialectical concept, scoured it of its
pr.ese~tat~on IS an expllcation of the thing precisely because it presents the ideological mystifications and turned its new form into one of the central
thi~g l,n 11,S necessary internal developrnent and unfolding, Here, the true concepts of materialist dialectics.
begmmng l~ the .necessary beginning, and other determinations of neeessity But a strange fate befalls central concepts of philosophy, concepts which
stem f\~m/t, W~thout a necessary beginning, the exposition is no unfolding, expose essential aspects of reality. They always cease to be the exclusive
no explca lOn, ut me:e, ecleetic accumulation or skipping from one thing property of the philosophy which first employed and substantiated them,
:0 another, or finally, Jt IS ~ot the necessary internal unfolding of the thing and they gradually move into the public domain" As a concept expands, as it
ltself but only an unfoldmg of the reflection of the thing, of the becomes aeeepted and aehieves general reeognition, it undergoes a meta-
contemplatlOn of the thing, which in relation to the thing itself is an morphosis" The category of totality has also been well received and broadly
external, and arbitrary matter. The method of explieation is no evolutionist reeognized in the twentieth eentury, but it is in constant danger of being
unravelhng, but rather the unfolding, exposing and 'complicatin' f grasped one-sidedly, of turning into its very opposite and ceasing to be a
contradictions, the unfolding of the thing by way of contradictions" g o dialectical concepto The main modification of the concept of totality has
18 CHAPTER 1 DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 19

been its reduction to a methodological precept, a methodological rule for within which and fram which any particular fact (or any group or set of
investigating reality. This degeneration has resulted in tWQ ultima te faets) can be rational1y comprehended. The aceumulation of al1 faets would
trivialities: that everything is connected with everything eIse, and that the not yet amount to the cognition of reality, and neither would a11
whole is more than the suro of its parts. accumulated facts amount to a totality. Facts are the cognition of reality
In materialist philosophy, the category of concrete totality answers first only provided they are comprehended as facts and as structural parts of a
and foremost the question, what is reality. Only secondarily, and only after clialectical whole, Le. not as immutable, further irreducible atoms which,
having materialistical1y answered fue first question, can it be an epistemo- agg1omerated, compase reality. The concrete, that is, totality, is thus not
logical principIe and a methodological precepto Idealist trends of the 20th equal to all the facts, to a sum of facts or to the accumulation of al! aspects,
century have abolished the three-dimensionality of totality as a methodo- tbings and relations, for this set lacks tlle mast important feature - totality
logical principIe and have reduced it to a single dimension -- the reIatian of and concreteness. Without comprehending what facts signify, Le. without
the whole lo its parts. l4 In particular, though, lhey have radieally severed comprehending that reality is a concrete totality which for the purposes of
totality as a methodological precept and an epistemological principIe of the knowing individual facts or sets of facts turns into a structure of meanings,
cognition of reality from the materialist conception for which reality itse!! cognition of the concrete reality itself amounts to no more than mysticism
is a concrete totality. Thus severed, totality can no longer be substantiated or to a thing in itself unknowable.
as a coherent methodologieal prineiple. It will instead be interpreted The dia1ectics of the concrete totality is nol a melhod that would naively
idealistically and its content will be impoverished. aspire t.o know all aspect.s of reality exhaustively and to present a 'total'
Cognition of reality, its mode and its possibilily, depend in the lasl image of reality, with all its infinite aspects and properties. Concrete totality
analysis on an explicit or implicit conception of reality. The question, how is not a method for capturing and describing al! aspects, features, properties,
can reality be known, is a1ways preceded by a more fundamental question: relations and processes of reality. Rather, it ls a theory of reality as a
What is reality? ' concrete totality. This conception of reality, of reality as concreteness, as a
What is reality, indeed? If it were only a sum of facts, of the simplest whole that is struetured (and thus ·is not chao tic), thal evolves (and thus is
and further irreducible elements, tilen it wouid foHow tilat, first, concrete- not immutable and given once and for aH), and that is in the process oí
ness is the sum of al! facts, and that, second, reality in its concreteness forming (and thus is not ready-made in its whole, wilh only its parts, or
is principally unknowable because to every phenomenon one can array their ordering, subject to ehange l, has eertain methodological implications
further facets and aspects, further forgotten or as yet undiscovered facts, that will become a heuristic guide and an epístemological principIe for the
and by this infinite arraying prove the abstract and inconcre te character of study, description, comprehension, interpretation and evaIuation of certain
cognition. 'AH knowledge, whether intuitive or discursive', notes a leading thematic sections of reality, be it physics or literal)' criticism, biology or
contemporary opponent of lhe philosophy of concrete totality, 'must be of political economy, theoretical problems of mathematics or practical issues
abstract aspects, and we can never grasp the 'concrete structure of [social] of organizing human Efe and social conditions.
reality itself. 1 s In modern times, man's thinking has been leading to a dialectics of
There is a principal difference between the opinion that considers reality cognition, to a dialectical concept of cognition, which manifests itself
t.o be a concrete t.otality, Le. a structural, evolving, self-forming whole, and especially in the dialectical relation of tbe absolute and the relative truth,
the position that human cognition can, or cannot, achieve a 'totality' of the rational and the empirical, the abstract and the concrete, the premise
aspects and facts, Le. of al! properties, things, relations and processes of and the conclusion, thc assumption and the proof, etc. It has also, however~
reality. The second position takes totality as a sum of all facts. Since human been leading to a comprehension of the dialectics of objective reality itself.
cognition never can, in principIe, encompass all facts, for additional facts The possibilities of creating a unified science and a unified concept of
and aspects can always tum up, tbis position considers the standpoint science are based on the exposition of a more profound unity of objective
of concreteness or totality to be rnysticism. J 6 Totality indeed does not reality. The development of science in the 20th century has been
signify all faets. Totality signifies reality as a structured dialectical whole, noteworthy in that the more specialized and differentiated it becomes, and
20 CHAPTER 1 DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 21

the more new areas it uncovers and describes, the mOre c1earIy evident is the Enlightenrnent and in the heritage of Hegel who had also exarnined reality
internal material unity of most diverse and distant areas. This in tum leads (which he conceived as a systern) on this basis, describing interna1 structure
to a fTesh questioning of the relationships of mechanism and organism, of in terrns of mechanism, chemism and organismo But on]y the dialectical
causaJity and teleology, etc., and thus also of the unity of the world. The conception of the on tological and gnoseological aspects of structure and
differentiation of science at ane paint seerned to jeopardize the unity of system provides a fruitful solution and avoids the extremes of mathematical
scíence. It contained the danger of parcel1ing out the world, nature and formalism on the one side and of metaphysical ontologisrn on the other
matter into independent, isolated units, and of transforming scientists into side. Structural sirnilarities of various forms of human relations (language,
isolated pilgrims in their Qwn disciplines, each working out of context and economics, kinship patterns, etc.) can lead to a more profound under-
deprived of means of cornmunication. In fact, though, it has led to results standing and explanation of social reality only as long as both the structural
and consequences which actually further a more profound exposition and simílarities and the specificity of these phenomena are respected.
cognition of the unity of reality. This profound comprehension of the unity rhe dialectical conception of the relationship between ontology and
of reality has its counterpart in an equal1y profound comprehension of the gnoseology allows ane to detect the disparity and poor fit between the
specificity of various areas and phenomena as welL In sharp contradiction to logical structure (model), used to interpret reality or sorne area of it, and
the romantic disdain for natural sciences and technology, it was precisely the structure of thls reality itself. A certain model, structurally of a 'lower
rnodern teclmology, cybernetics, physics and biology that have highlighted arder' than the corresponding area of reality, can interpret this more
new potential for the development of humanism and for investigating that complex reality only approximately; the model can become the first
which is speciflcally human. approximation of an adequate description and interpretation. Beyond the
Attempts to create a new unified science stem from finding that fue lirnits of this first approximation, the interpretation is falseo The concept of
structure of reality itself is dialectical. The existence of structural mechanism wiU, for example, explain the rnechanism of a tirnepiece, the
similarities in areas that are quite diverse and internally quite different is mechanism of memory, and the mechanism of sociallife (the state, social
based on the fact that all areas of objective reality are systems, Le. relations, etc.). But only in the first instan ce will the concept ofmechanisrn
complexes of interdependent elements. exhaust the essence of the phenomenon, and adequately explain it; as for
The parallel development of different scientific disciplines, especially of the other two phenomena, this model wil1 explain only certaín facets and
biology, physics, chernistry, cybernetics and psychology, highlights the aspects, or a certain fetishised form of them, or perhaps it will offer a first
problem of organization, structure, wholeness, dynamic interaction, and approxirnation and a potential way of conceptually grasping them. These
leads to the recognition that the study of isolated parts and processes is phenomena are instances of a more complex reality whose adequate
insufficient. The main problem 1S 'organizing relations that result from description and interpretatíon cal1s for structurally adequate logical cate-
dynamic interaction and make the behavior of parts different, when studied gories (models).
in isolation or within the whole,.17 Structural sirnilarities form a starting It is important that contemporary philosophy know how to pick out the
point for a more profound investigation of the specificity of phenomena. real central issues and the content of concepts introduced in the varied,
Positivisrn has conducted a grandiose purification of philosophy from unclear and frequently rnystifying tenninology of different philosophical
remnants of the theological conception of reality, as a hierarchy of degrees schoo1s and tendencies. It should examine whether c1assical concepts of
of perfection. As the ultimate leveler it has reduced all reality to physical materialist philosophy, e.g. totality, are not more suitable for conceptually
reality. The one~sidedness of the scientistic conception of philosophy should grasping problems of contemporary science described in terms of structure
not overshadow the creditable destructive and demystifying role of modero and system. Both of these concepts might be implied in the concept of
positivismo Hierarchizing reality on a non-theological principIe 1S possible concrete totality.
only on the basis of degrees of complexity of structure and of forms of From this perspective one might also criticize the inconsistencies and the
movement of reality itself. Hierarchizing systems on the basis of the biases of those philosophical tendencies which reflect in a certain way the
complexity of tlleir internal structure fruitful1y continues in the tradition of spontaneous genesis of dialectics froro twentieth century science (Lenin).
22 CHAPTER 1 D1ALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 23

Such is the philosophy of the Swiss thinker Gonseth. Gonseth emphasizes cognition is essentially the distinction between two different conceptions of
the dialectical character of human cognition but his fear of metaphysics reality. If reality were a sum of facts, then human cognition could amount
prevents him fram satisfactorily establishing whether or not the objective only to abstract, systematic-anaIytic cognition of abstract parts of reality,
reality that human thinking comes to know i8 itself dialectical. According to whereas the whole of reality would remain unknowable. 'The object of
Gonseth, human cognition arrives at different horizons or images of reality scientific inquiry" says Hayek in his polemic with Marxism, 'ís never the
but never reaches the 'ultimate' reality of things. If he meant that reality totality of a11 observable phenomena in a given time and space, but always
cannot be exhausted by human cognition, and that it is an absolute totality, only certain selected aspects of it ... The human spirit can never encompass
whereas at every stage of its development mankind reaches only a certain the 'whole' in the sense of a11 different aspects of the real situation' .19
re.lative totality, Le. capture~ reality only to a certain degree, we could agree Precisely because reality is a structured, evolving, and self-forming whole,
wlth Gonseth. Sorne of hlS formulations have, however, an explicitly the cognition of a fact or of a set of facts is the eognition of their place in
relativistic character. Man's eognition has apparently nothing to do with the totality of this reality. In distinction froro the sumroative-systematic
reality itself but only with certain horizons or images of reality. These are cognition of rationalisro and empiricism which starts froro secure premises
historically variable but they never capture the fundamental, 'ultimate' and proceeds systematically to array additional facts, dialectical thinking
structure of reality. Reality thus evaporates and man is 1eft only with its assumes that human cognition proceeds in a spiral movement in which any
image. Gonseth improperly confuses the ontological question and the beginning is abstract and relative. If reality is a dialectical, structured who]e,
gnoseological one, the question of objective truth and the dialectic of then concrete cognition of reality does not amount to systematically
absolute and relative truth, as evident e.g. from the following ciear anaying facts with facts and findings with findings; rather, it 1S a process of
formulation: 'The natural world is such, and we are such, that reality is not concretization which proceeds from the whole to its parts and from the parts
given to liS in complete cognition [which is correct], in its essence [which is to the whole, from phenomena to ihe essence and from the essence to
incorrect] ,.18 Cognition that L.., severed from nature, m~tter and objective phenomena, from totaHty to contradictions and from contradictions to
reality cannot but fall into a degree of relativism, for it is never more than totality. It arrives at concreteness precisely in this spiral process of
fue cognition or expression of images or horizons of rcality, and cannot totalization in which all concepts rnove with respect to one another, and
formulate or recognize how objective reality itself comes to be known mutua11y illuminate one another. Neither does furt."'1er progress of dialectical
through these horizons or images. cognition leave individual concepts untouched; such cognition is not a
The methodological principie for dialectica11y investigating objective summative systematization of concepts erected upon an immutable basis,
reality is the standpoint of concrete totality. This implies' that every constructed once and for a11, but is rather a spiral process of interpenetra-
ph.enomenon can be conceived as a moment of a whole. A social hon and mutual illumination of concepts, a process of dialectical,
phenomenon is an historieal faet to the extent to which it is studied as a quantitative-·qualitative, I'Cgressive~progressive totalization that transcends
moment of a certain whole, that is, to the extent to which it fulfils that abstractness (one~sidedness and isolation). A dialectical conception of
two-fold role which makes it an historical fact in the first place: the role of totality means that the parts not only internally interact and interconnect
defining itself and of defining fue whole; of being bolh fue producer and fue bofu among fuemselves and wifu the whole, bul also Ihal Ihe whole cannol
product; of determining and being determined; of exposing while being be petrified in an abstraction superiOr' to the facts, because precisely in the
decoded; of acquiring proper meaning while conveying the sense of interaction of its parts does the whole fonn itself as a whole.
something eIse. This interconnectedness and mediatedness of the parts and Opinions as to whether concreteness as the cognition of a11 facts is
the whole a1so signifies that isolated facts 'are abstractions, artificially knowable or not are based on the rationalist--empiricist idea that cognition
uprooted moments of a whole wruch become concrete and true only when proceeds by the ana1ytic--summative method. This idea is in turn based on
set in the respectíve whole. Similarly, a whole whose moments have not th,e atomist idea of reality as a sum of things, processes and facts. Dialectical
been differentiated and determined is merely an abstract, empty whole. thinking, by contrast, grasps and depicts reality as a whole that is not only a
The distinction between systematic-additive cognition and dialectical sum of relations, facts and processes, but is also the very process of forming
24 CHAPTER 1 DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 25

them*, theÍr structure and their genesis. The process of forming the whole Aecording to materialism, social reality is known in its conereteness
and of forming a unity, the unity of contradictions and its genesis, aU (totality) at the point when the eharaeter of social reality is exposed, when
belong to the dialectical whole. HeracHtus expressed the dialectical concept the pseudoconcrete is abolished and when social reality is known as the
of reality in a great mctapllor of the cosmos as a fire kindled and quenched dialectical unity of the base and- the superstructure, with man as its
according to rule, and he especially emphasized the negativity of reality: he objective, socio~historical subject. Social reality is not known as a concrete
described fire as 'need and satiety'?O totality as long as man is intuited primarily 01' exclusively as an object in the
Three basie concepts of the whole, or totality, have appeared in the framework of totality, and as long as the primary importance of man as the
history of philosopllical thinking, each based on a particular concept of subjeet of mankind's objective-historical praxis remains unrecognized. The
reality and postulating corresponding epistemological principIes: conereteness, the totality of reality is thus not a matter ofwhether the faets
(1) the atomíst~rationalist conception, from Descartes to Wittgenstein, are complete and whether horizons can change and shift; rather, it involves a
which holds reality to be a totality of simplest elements and faets; fundamental question: What is reality? As for social reaHty, this question
(2) the organicist and organicist~dynarnic conception which formalizes can be answered when reduced to a different one: How is social reality
the whole and emphasizes the predominance and priority of the whole aver formed? This type of questioning, whieh establishes what social reality is by
its parts (Schelling, Spann); way of establishing how it is formed, eontains a revolutionwy eoncept of
(3) the dialectical conception (Heraclitus, Hegel, Marx) which grasps society and mano
reality as a structured, evolving and self·forming whole. Turning back to the question of the faet and its importance for the
The concept of totality has been attacked from two sides in the cognition of social re,ality, we have to emphasize (apart from the gene rally
twentieth century. Far empiricists, as for existentialists, the world has aeknowledged position that every faet is comprehensible only in context
collapsed, it has ceased to be a totality and has tumed into chaos. and in a whoIe 22) one other even more important and more fundamental
Organizing it i5 a mattcr for the subject. This transcendental subject aI the point which. is usually ignored: that the very eoneept 01 faet is detelmined
subjective perspective, fOI which the totality of the world has collapsed and by the overall eonception of social reality. What an historical fact i8, is only
has been substituted by a scattcr of subjective horizons, introduces arder a partial question of the main one:' What is social reality?
into the world's chaos.
21 We agree with the Soviet historian 1. Kon, that elementary faets have
The subject who comes to know the world and for whom the world turned out to be something very complex, and that science which in the
exists as the cosmos, divine arder, or as totality, is always a social subject, past used to deal with unique facts is now orienting itself more and more
and the activity of knowing the natural and the socio~human rea1ity is the toward processes and relations. The relationship between facts and their
activity of a social subject. Severing society from nature goes hand in hand generalizations is ane of interconnection and interdependence; just as
with not grasping that socio-human reality is equally a reality as nebulae, generalizations would be impossible without faets, there are no scientific
atoms or stars are, although it is not an equal reality. The suggestion will facts that would not contain an eIernent of generalization. An historical fact
follow that the reality of nature is fue only real one, and that human reality is in a sense not only the prerequisite- for investigation but is also its
is less real than that of rocks, meteorites or suns; or that only one reality result. 2 3 However, if facts and generalizations dialectical1y interpenetrate, if
(the human one) can be eomprehended, whereas the 'other' (the natural every fact carries elements of generalization and if every generalization is a
one) can at best be explained. generalization of facts, how is one to explain this logical mutuality? This
10gieaI relationship expresses the fact that a generalization is the internal
conneetion of facts and that a fact itself mirrors a certain complexo The
omological essence of every fact reflects the whole reality, and the objeetive
*Translating the concept of Bildung into Czech is as problema tic as translating it into significance of a fact depends on how richly and how essentially it both
English. Kosík employed the word 'vytváret', ane specific form (the imperfective
aspect) of the word 'tvorit', 'tú create', 'tú form'. Concepts related to Bildung have encompasses and mirrors reality. This is why Oile fact can state more than
been rendered as the process of forming, to form, and formative. another fact. This, too, is why it has more to state or less, according to the
26 CHAPTER 1 DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 27
method and the subjective approach of the scientist, Le. according to how Mystifieation and people's false consciousness of events, of the present
well the scientist questions t11e objective content and signiflcance ofhis fact. and the past, is a part of history. The historian who would consider false
Dividing facis by significance and imporiance follows not fmm subjective consciousness to be a secondary and a haphazard phenomenon and would
judgement but from the objective cantent of the facts themselves. Reality deny a place in history to it as to something false and untrue would in fact
exists in a ceriain sense only as a sum of facts as a hierarchized and
j be distorting history. While Enlightenment eliminated false consdousness
differentiated totality of facts. Every cognitive process of social reality is a from history and depicted the history of false consciousness as one of errors
circular movement. Investigaban both starts fram the facts and comes back fuat could have be en avoided if onJy people had been more farsighted and
to them. Does something happen to the facts in the process cf cognition? rulers wiser, romantic ideology, On the contrary, considered fa1se consdous-
Cognition of historical reality i8 a process of theoretical appropriation, Le. a ness to be true, to be the only one that had any effect and impact, and was
critique, interpretation and evaluation of facts; an indispensable prerequisite therefore the only historiea} reality.24
of objective cognition IS the activity of rnan, the scientist. This activity, Hypostatizing the whole and favoring it over its parts (over faets) is one
which discloses the objective content and meaning of facts, is the scientific path that leads to a false totality instead of to a concrete one. If the whole
method. A scientific method is fruitful to the degree to which it manages to process represented a reality which would be indeed genuine and higher
expose, interpret and substantiate the wealth of reality that is objectively than facts, then reality could exist independently of facts, independently in
contained in tlüs or that particular faet. The indifference of certain methods particular of facts that would contradict it. The formulabon that hypo-
and tendencies lo facts is well known; it is an inability to see in facts statizes the whole over the facts and treats it autonomously provides a
anything important, Le. their proper objective content and meaning. theoretical substantiation for subjectivisrn which in tum ignores facts and
Scientific method is a means for decoding facts. How did H ever happen violates them in the name of a 'higher reality'. The facticity of facts is not
that facts are not transparent but pose a problem whose sense science must their reality but rather their fixed superficiality, one-sidedness and
first expose? A faet is coded reality. Naive consciousness finds facts opaque immobility. The reality of faets is opposed to their facticity not so much as
because of their perpetual two-fold role, discussed aboye. To see only one a reality of a different order and independent of facts, but rather as an
facet of facts, either their immediacy or their mediatedness, either their internal relation, as the dynamics and the contradictory character of fue
determinacy or their determining character, lS to encode the code, Le. to not totality of facts. Emphasizing the whole process over faets, ascribing to
grasp the fact as a code. In the eyes of his contemporaries, a politician tendencies a reality higher than to facts, and the consequent transformation
appears as a great politician. After his death it turns out that he was merely of a tendency of facts into a tendeney independent of facts, are aH
an average politician and that his apparent greatness was an 'il1usion of the expressions of a hypostatized whole predominant over its parts, and thus of
times', What is the historical fact? The illusions that had influenced and a false totality predominant over the concrete totality. If the process as a
'created' history, or the truth that carne into the open only subsequentIy, whole arnounted to a reality higher than facts, rather than to the reality and
and at the crucial time had 110t existed, had not happened as a reality? An lawfulness of facts themselves, it would become independent of facts and
historian is to deal with events as they real1y happened. Yet, what does this would lead an existence different from theirs. The whole would be
mean? ls real history the history of people's consciousness, the history of separated froID the facts and would exist independently of them. 25
how people were aware of their contemporary scene and of events, or 1S it Materialist theory distinguishes between facts in two different contexts:
an history of how events rea11y occurred and how they had to be reflected in the eontext of reality where faets are set primordially and originally, and
in people's consciousness? There is a double danger here: one can eHher ID the context of theory where they are arrayed secondarily and mediately,
recount history as it should have happened, Le. infuse it with rationality and after having been tom out of the original context. But how can one discuss
logic, or one can describe events uncritically, without evaluation, which of a context of reality where facts are originally and primordially, if the only
cOUrse amounts to abandoning a fundamental feature of scientific work, way to know this eontext is through faets that have been torn out of it?
namely the distinction between the essential and the peripheral, which is the Man cannot know the context of reality other than by extracting facts from
objective sense of faets. rhe existence of science is based on the possibility it, isolating them and making them relatively autonomous. This is the basis
ofthis distincUon. There would be no science without it. of all cognition: dividing the one. Al! cognition is a dia1ectical oscillation
i "

CHAPTER 1 DIALECT1CS OF THE CONCRETE 29


28
(dialeclical as opposed lo melaphysical, for which bofu poles would be a ready-made or formalized whole determining the parts because the genesis
constant magnitudes and which would record thelf external, ref1e~lVe and development of totality are components of its very cietermination.
relations), and ascillatian between facts and context (totality), ,m oscüla- Froro the methodological perspective, this calls for an examination of
tian whose mediating active center is the method of investigation. how totality originates and of $e internal sources ol its development
Absolutizing fue activity of fue method (aboul Ihis activity itself Ihere is no and movement. T otality is not a ready-made whole, later filled with a
doubt) begets the idealistic illusían that thinking generates the concrete, or content and with properties and relations of its parts; rather, totality
that facts first acquire sense and significance only in man's head. concretizes itself in the process ol forming its whole as well as its contento
The fundamental question of materialist epistemology26 concerns the The genetic-dynamic character of totality is emphasized in the remarkable
relation of concrete and abstraet totalities and the possibility of ane fragments of Marx's Grundrisse: 'While in the completed bourgeois system
changing int.o fue other: how can the thought process of intellectually every economic reIation presupposes every other in its bourgeois economic
reproducing reality stay on the level of concrete totality, and not, s,ink ~nt? form, and everything posited is thus also a presupposition, this is the case
an abstraet totality? When reality is radically severed from factlclty, 1t lS with every organic system. This organic system itself, as a totality, has its
hard to recognize new tendencies and contradictions in facts: because even presuppositions, and its development lO its totality consists precisely in
befare it investiga tes anything, false totality considers every fact to be subordinating a11 elements of society to itself, or in creating out of it the
predelermined by a onee-and-for-all established and hyposlatized evolution- organs which it stilllacks. This is historically how it beco mes a totality. The
ary tendency. Despite its claims to a higher order of reality, this tendency process of becoming this totality forms a moment of its process, of its
will itself degenerate into an abstraction, Le. into a reality of a low~r or~er development'.28
fuan is that of empirical facts, if it is conceived of not as an hlstoncal The genetic-dynamic conception of totality is a prerequisite for
tendency of facts themselves but as one existing beyond, outside, aboYe and rationally grasping the genesis of a new quality. Prerequisites that original1y
independently of faets. had been historical conditions for fue genesis of capital, appear after its
False totalization and synthetization show up in the method of the emergence and constitut1on as results of capital's own self~rea1ization and
abstract principie which leaves aside the wealt~ of reality, Le. its reproduction. They are no longer conditions of its historical genesis as
contradictory character and its multiple meanings, and deals only with facts much as results and conditions of its historical existence. Individual
Ihat aeeord wilh Ihis abstract principie. The tolalily lo which fuis abstraet elements (such as money, value, exchange, labor power) fual hislorically
principie mighl be promoled amounts to an empty lolality which treats fue preceded the emergence of capitalism, that had existed independently of it
wealth of reaHty as an irrational 'residue' beyond coroprehenslOn. The and compared with capitalism had led an 'antediluvian' existence, are after
method of the 'abstract principIe' distorts the whole picture of reality (of an the emergence of capital incorporated into the process of its reproduction
historical event of a work of art) and is equally insensitive to its details. and exist as its organic moments. Thus in the epoch of capitalism, capital
lt is aware of p~rticu1ars, registers thero, but does not understand them since turns into a structure of meanings that determines the internal content and
it fails to grasp their significance. Instead of uncovering the objective sense the objective sense of its elements, a content and sense that in the
of facls (delalls), il obfuscates il. \t abolishes fue wholeness of the pre-capilalisl phase liad been differen\. The forming of a totality as a
investigated phenomenon by decomposing it 1nto two autonomous parts: structure 01 meanings is thus also a process which forms the objective
Ihal which agrees wifu Ihe principie and can be inlerpreled by il, and Ihat content and meaning 01 all its elements and parts as well. This interconnec~
which contradicts fue principIe and therefore remams in darkness (with no tion, as well as the profound difference of conditions of genesis (which are
raüonal explanation or comprehension of it), as an unilluminated and an independent, unique historical prerequisite) and of conditions of
unc1arified 'residue' of the phenomenon. mstorical existence (which are historically produced and reproduced fOID1S
The standpoint of concrete totality has nothing to do with the holistic, of existen ce), involve fue dialectic of the lagical and the historical: logical
organicist or the neo-romantic concepts of wholeness which hypostatize fue investigation indicates where historical investigation begins, and that in turn
whole ov:r its parts and mythologize i1.'2 '7 Dialectics cannot grasp totality as complements and presupposes the 10gicaL
30 CHAPTER 1 DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 31

lnsisting on the question of what is primary, whether totality or influencing one another. rhe subject vanishes, or more precisely, the place
contradictions, or indeed dividing contemporary M arxlsts ' m'ttw
o o camps..29 of the real subject, Le. of man a') an objective--practical subject, is taken by
according to what they prefer, demonstrates an absolute laek of comprehen- a subject that has been mythologised, reified and fetishised: by the
sion of materialist dialectics. rhe question is not whether to recognize the autonomous movement of structures. Materialisticaliy conceived totality is
priority of totality ayer contradictions or vice versa, precisely ?ec~use ~~ch formed by man's social production, while for structuralism, totality arises
a division strips both totality and contradictions of theu dmlechcal from the interaction of autonomous series of structures. In 'bad totality',
character: without contradictions, totality is empty and static; outside social reality is intuited only in the form of the object, of ready~made
totality, contradictions are formal and arbitrary. Th,e dialectical relationship results and facts, but not subjectively, as objective human praxis. 111e fruit
of contradictions and totality, of contradictions within totality and the of human activity lS divorced from the activity itself. The dual movement
totality of contradictions, of the concreteness of a totality formed by from product to producer and from producer to product 31 in which the
contradictions and the lawful character of contradictions within totality, a11 producer, creator, man, stands above his artifacts, lS replaced in relativistic
this is one of the distinctions that set apart the materialist and the 'bad totality' by a simple or a complex movement of autonornous
structuralist conceptions of totality. Further: totality as a conceptual means structures, Le. of results and artifacts taken in isolation, through the
of comprehending social phenornena is abstract as long as it is not stresse~ objectivation of objective--intellectual human praxis. Consequently, in
that this is a totality of the base and the superstructure, of theu structuralist concepts 'society' enters lnto art only from without, as social
interrelation, mutual roovement and development, with the base playing the determinismo It is not intrinsic to art, subjectively, as the social man who is
determining role. And finally, even the totality of the base and the its creator. Aside from idealism, the second basic feature of the structura-
superstructure is abstract when it ls not demonstrated that roan is the r~al list conception of totality is sociologism. 3 2
historical subject (Le., of praxis), and that in the process of SOCIal False totality appears in three basic forms:
production and reproduction he forros both the base and the superstructure, (1) As empty totality which lacks reflection, the determination of
that he fonns social reality as a totality of social relations, institutions and individual moments, and analysis. Empty totality excludes reflection, Le.
ideas and that in this process oí fonning the objective social reality he alBO the appropriation of reality as individual moments, and the activity of
form~ himself as an historical and social being with human senses and analytical reason. 3 3
potentialities, realizing thereby the infinite process of 'humanizing man'. (2) As abstraet totality which formalizes the whole as opposed to its
Concrete totality, as the dialectical-materialist standpoint of the parts and ascribes a 'higher reality' to hypostatized 'tendencies'. Totality
cognition of reality (we have several times emphasized its derivative thus conceived is without genesis and developroent, without the process of
character, compared with the ontological problem of reality), thus signifies forming the whole, without structuration and destructuration. Totality is a
a complex process with the following moments: destruction of the e/osed whole.
pseudo concrete, i.e. of fetishist and fictitious objectivity of the pheno- (3) As bad totality, in which the real subject has been substituted by a
menon, and cognition of its real objectivity; further, the cognition of the mythologized subject.
phenomenon's historical character which in a peculiar- way rcveals fue Important concepts of materialist philosophy, such as false conscious~
dialectic of the unique and of the genera1Jy human; and final1y, fue ness, reification, subject--object relationship, etc., lose their dialectical
cognition of fue objective content and meaning of the phe.nomenon, of its character when they are isolated, tom out of the materialist theory of
objective function and lts historical place within fue SOCIal whole. When history and severed from other concepts which together form a whole and
cognition does not destroy the pseudoconcrete, when it does not expose the an 'open system' that lends them real meaning. The category of totality also
phenomenon's real historical objectivity under its fictitious objectivity, an~ loses its dialectical character when it is conceived only 'horizontal1y' , as tl1e
when it -consequently confuses the pseudoconcrete wüh the concrete, lt reIabon of parts and the whole, and when other of its organic features are
3
becomes a captive of fetishist intuiting and results in abad totality. o Social neglected: such as its 'genetic-dynamic' dimension (the forming of the
reality is then conceived of as a sum or a totality of autonomous structures whole and the unÍty of contradíctions) and its 'vertical' dimension (the
D1ALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 33
CHAPTER 1
32 phenomenon ~ essence
.' henomenon and the essence). The dialectic o~ the world of appearances ~ real worId
dmlectlc of the P pplied in Marx's analysis of slffiple external appearance of the phenomenon - law of the phenomenon
henomenon and the essence was a . real existence - internal essential concealed kernel
p. . The most elementary and ordmary pheno-
capitahst commod1ty ex.chao;" a ca ita1ist society ~ simple commodity
visible movement - real internal movement
i idea - concept
menhon of ev~i,~:~ p¡~~ple play th~ roles of simple buyers and sellers, false consciousness - true consciousness
exc ange - m :.. b. a superficial appearance that 15 doctrinaire systematization of ideas (,ideology') ~ theory and science.
shows under further .mveShgatiOnse~:ale dee processes of the capitalist
s 'Marxism is an effort to detect behind the pseudo~immediacy of the reified economic
world the social relations that formed it and that are concealed behind their own
determined and m~dtated b~ ~s x loitati¿n of wage labor. The freedom creation'. A. de Waelhens, L'idée phénomenologique de l'intentionalité, The Hague,
society - by the eXlstence ao 1~ e p 1 ed and realized in the capitalist 1959, p. 127f. The characterization offered by a nO,n-Marxist author is a symptomatíc
d
and equality of simple exchange¡ls evde ~Pck of 'reedom 'A worker who testimony of phiIosophy in the twentieth century, for which the destruction of the
duction as znequa ay an a . J' . th pseudo-concrete and all manner of alienation has become a most pressing problem.
system of pro,. 3 rs to the seller in the same function, In e Various philosophies differ in the mode of solving it, but the problematique itself is
buys commodltles for s. appe~ 3 _ as the king who does the same. All shared by both positivism (d. Carnap's and Neurath's struggle against metaphysics, real
same equality - m the form 0. s: ,34 or imagined), and phenomenology and existentialism. Characteristically, it took a
Marxist philosopher, Tran-Duc-Thao, whose work was the first serious attempt to
distinction between thero is extmgUlshhed . and the essence and the
. 1 lation of the p enomenon '. confront phenomenology and Marxism, to expose the authentic sense of Husserl's
Th¡e mte~naf :~e contradictions of this relation, are dimensions WhlCh phenomenological method and its internal connection with philosophical problems of
deve opmen o the twentieth centur)'. Tran-Duc-Thao fittingly characterized the contradictory and
. telyieas aConcrete totality . By contrast, paradoxical characterof the phenomen(lIogical destruction of the pseudoconcrete: 'In
grasp th~. reahty. c~ncrhe , ~~ aspects produces an abstract view and the ordinary language, the world of appearances has arrogated the whole sense of the
hypostatIzmg reahty s P enome notion of reality ... Appearances present themselves in the name of the real worId and
leads to apologetics. eliminating them took the form of bracketing the world ... The authentíc reality to
which one was returning paradoxically took on the form of the irreality of pure
consciousness'. Tran-Duc~Thao Phénoménologie et materialisme dialectique, París.
1951 pp. 223f. [Eng. transo Phenomenology and Dialectical Materialism, D. Reídel,
Dordrecht and Boston, forthcoming].
6 Hegei has characterized ret1cxive thinking thus~ 'Rel1ection is that form of mental
activity which establishes the contradiction and which goes from the one to the other,
NOTES but without effecting their combination and realizing their pervading unity'. Hegel,
, s (lnly the immediate phenomenal forms of Philosophy of Religion, Lendon, 1895, pp. 204f Cadapted). See also Marx, Grundrisse,
lThe minds of peopIe .re~ect aIway cture If the ¡atter were the case, of what use p.88.
relations, rather than tilen mterna1 stru E i 27 June 1867 Marx-Engels, Werke, 7Cf. Marx, 'Critique of Hegel's Doctrine of the State', in Early Writings, New York,
would scjence be?' (Marx's lette: to ~t~~i!'nce would be S~lperfiuous if the outer 1975, p. 174 el passim.
8 Positivism of the Viennese sehool played a positive role in destroying the
Berlin, 1967ff., vol. 31, p. 31(3)U.··· directly coincided.' (Marx, Capital, New York,
appearance and the essence o llngs h 1 Form as contrasted wit.h the pseudoconcrete, when it opposed surviving metaphysical conceptions by stating that
7) 'Fer the p enomena j' 11 h m'na matter is not something behind phenomena or the transcendence of phenomena, but
1967, vol. 3, p. 81. .
,'"
'.. -' hulds that holds with respect to apeno e
essential relation, the same dl~~e~ce er appear directly and spontaneously as current that it is rather material objects and processes. CL Neurath, Empirische Soziologie,
and their hidden substratum. e for~e discovered by science.' (Marx, Capilal, vol. 1, Vienna 1931, pp.59-61 [Eng. tram~.. in Empiricism and Sociology, Vienl1a Circ1e
odes of thought; Collection, Vol. 1, pp 3'58-64, D. Reide1, Dordrecht and Boston, 1973 J.
m ,the laiter must HS . .,
p. 542; emph. KOSlk) n el 'L'ancienne et la nouvelle econom19ue, 9 This problematique will be further developed in chapters 'The Economic Factor' and

'J.Certain philosophers (e.~. G. G: ~~~o~ ~f abstraetion' and oí" 'concept' e~clUS1Vely 'Philosophy 01' Labor'.
Esprit, 1956, p. 515) asc.nb.e the mI ath by which philosophy can arnve at the l°Polemics against dialectícal materialism relentlessly impute to modern materialism
t Hegel. In reality, tlllS 18 the on y. p the mechanical and metaphysical concept of mai.ter of eighteenth-century theories.
s~ructure of the thing, Le. to a grasp °d lL t s of Uds practica! 'one-sidedness' opposed
f Why should only the spirit, and not matter, have the property of negativity'? Sartle's
'M rx Hegel and Goethe were aH a v~c~ e thesis that materialism cannot be the philosophy of revolution (cf. his 'Materialism and
a, ' 'd d ' f romanttclstS. f f 1 Revolution', in his Literary and Philosophical Essays, New York, 1962, pp. 198~256)
to the fictitious 'all-Sl e ness o . 11 constructed upon the distinction o a se
4 Marx's Capital is methodolo.g lca ¡Y h' . d the main categories of conceptually also stems from a metaphysical concept of matter, as indirectly acknowIedged by
d h 1 graspln cr o t mgs, an Merleau-Ponty: 'Occasionally, the justified question is raised, how could materialism
~~:s~::::s:e:~ty tu~;:: investiga~ien are the following pairs:
34 CHAPTER J D1ALECTlCS OE THE CONCRETE 35
possibly be dialectical (Sartre, 'Materialism and Revolution'), how could matter in the ~urpo~ ~ach other, this whole must have existed prior to its parts The wholc is not
striet sense of the word contain the principie of productivity aod of generating novelty, n er~ h
¡r 0 m the parts, but the parts had to spring from the whole; Schelling We¡·ke
¡Mumc , 9 2 7 , voL 2, p, 279. . , ,
which is referred to as dialectics'. (Temps modernes, 1, p.521.) AH arguments
conceming the acceptance or the rejection of the 'dialecHes of oature' orbit araund 29 . ' G!"u.n d"
28Marx ,
l~sse,p.278(emp~.K.K~Slk),[PenguinBooksed.,1973.J
this question. R ThlS OPlllIO; appeared at the mternahonal philosophical colloquium on dialectics in
11 The German word entwickeln is a 1.ranslation of the Latin explicatio and means m~~:~dm~~~ thf:~~~I.in September 1960. My paper 'Dialectique du concret' p~le-
'Unfolding, clear structuration of a whole that had beeo dark, muddled aod
mysterious'. (J. Hoffmeister, Goethe und der deutsche Idealismus, Leipzig, 1932, (l~he tenn 'b~d totality' was coined by Kurt Konrad who in his ma nificent olemic
:gtms~ ~ormahs.m discriminated between the concrete totality of ma~erialism ;nd the
3

pp. 120L) Both Goethe and Marx use fue word in this sense.
1'2 See Marx, Capital, voL 1, p. 19. ?li:~ut: of ~O~~~l:~t Z~d s~~rc~Jr,a~:~~;,e~9~~rt Konrad, Svár obsahu a formy [The
13 A detailed explication of the 'position of totality' as a methodological principle of
Marx's philosophy is presented in Lukács' well-known History and Class Consciousness, eL. L.e~llIz: ,'e'est par co.nsi~ération des ouvrages qu'on peut découvrir l'ouvrier'.
31;

Cambridge, Mass., 1971. L. Coldmann further developed Lukács' thought; see, e.g., 33 IhiS .l:.sue Wil¡ be dealt WIth In detail in the chapter 'Historism and Historicism'
~ en.ique o fue economic concept of 10tality, for which a11 cats are black
Tlle Hidden God, London, 1961.
) 40 ne classic example is Karl Mannheim and holistic structuralist theories tha1 stem ~?~~e:;;. thePhenomen¿l~gays
Id1egRcl's argu:n.ent with Schelling, in his <Introduction' to
. m. omanhclsts are obsessed with t tal't b ' . .
from his work.
¡ s K. R. Popper, poverty of Historicism, New York, 1964, p. 78. ~~~~r~~z~ i~c~s ~ullne~s
the d ~f r~l~tio~~, t~i:~~ l:h:nr~~;~~i~~~a~~~
and determ,inac y
16See Popper, op. cit.
17 L. von Bertalanffy, 'General System Theory' in General Systems, 1, (1956), p. 1. ?eneral ~~d ;r~:~:t ~~~;yt~i~:n_s~~~, ~~:s~~s~~~t~o~:f~e~ ~:ob~ ~hs~;~;icaul~ntoT~i~
18 F. Gonseth, 'Remarque sur riMe de complementarité', Dialectica, 1948, p. 413. ~h~h~e~~~n:~~son /orthe1he futility wi~h w~ich roman~icists attempted to Wdt; a ~ovel.
19 F. A. Hayek,Scientisme el sciences sociales, Paris, 1953, p. 79. lCounter Revolution with in B P ° N v¡~c~ous totahty 01 the romanticists and romanticist art is dealt
lA
34 . van rx, ove lstlsches Dasein ZüIich 1953 pp 90 96
in Science, Glencoe, 1952. J Marx, Grundrisse, p. 246; eL also p. 2s'1. ' ,.,.
2 oK. Freeman, OO., Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers, Oxford, 1952, p. 65.
21 CharacteristicaUy, the first major post-war philosophical clash between Marxism and
idealism was over the problem of totality. 1'here are clear practical eonsideraUons
behind this theoretieal argument: Can reality be changed in a revolutionary way? Can
socio-human reality be changed in its foundations and as a whole, Le, in its totality and
totally, or are only partial changes practicable and real, with the whole being either an
immutable entity 01 an elw;ive horizon? See the polemic between G. Lukács and
K. Jaspers at 'Rencontres lnternationales de Geneve' of 1946, in J. Benda, ed., L'Esprit
Européen, Neuchatel, 1947.
The close connection between problems of totality and of revolution appears,
appropüatelY modified, in Czech conditions as well: see K. Sabina's '1839 conception
of totality as a revolutionary principIe, in K. Kosík, Ceská radikáln(demokracie lCzech
Radical Democracy], Prague, 1958.
22 See C. L. Becker, '\Vhat are Historical Facts?', Western Political Quarterly, 8, 1955,

no. 3, pp. 327~40,


nI. Kan, Filosofskii idealism i krizis burzhoaznoi istoricheskoi mysli, Moscow, 1959,
p.237.
2 41'hi5 is e.g. the error of H. Lévy-Bruhl in his essay 'Qu'est-ce que le faH historique?'
Revue de synthese historique, 42, 1926, pp, 53~59. L Kon misinterprets Lévy-Bruhl's
position, in his book mentíoned aboye, and his polemic thU$ misfires.
250ne can trace here the genesis of al! objective idealistic mystifications. A valuable
analysis of this problematique in Hegel is presented in E. Lask's Fichte's Idealismus
und Geschichte, in Lask, Gesammelte Schnften, vol. 1, Tübingen, 1923, pp. 67L, 280,
338.
2~ For the time being wc shallleave aside the question, how sockr-human reality itself
undergoes change and is transformed from a concrete to a false totality and vice versa,
Schelling's great early thoughts about nature as a unity of product and productivity
"27
have not yet been sufficiently appreciated. Evcn at this stage, however, his thought
demonstrates a strong tendeney toward hypostatizing the whole, as evident from the
following quote, dated 1799: 'lnasmuch as a11 parts of an organic whole carry and
CHAPTER 1I DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 37
phenomenal appearance amounts to c10sing the door to the cognition of
reality.
ECONOMICS AND PHILOSOPHY To investigate how economics exists for man is also to seek the most
fun~amental made of this reality's givenness. Before economics becomes a
tOPIC far. scientific considerations, explanations and interpretations, it
already eX1sts for man in a particular manifestation.

One W onders. how appropriate i5 an investigation that reaches directly fOI


MET APHYSICS OF EVER YDA y LIFE
the essence and leaves aH the inessential behind as just excess baggage.
Such investigation pretends to be something it is not. 1t claims to be Carel
scientific, yet it takes the most essential thing ~ the distinction between The primary and elementary mode in which economics exists for man is
what is essenlial and what is peripheral- fer granted and beyond careo Man does not take care but care takes care of mano One is not
investigating. It does not strive fOI the essential through a complex process careworn or carefree; rather, care is both in the carewom and in the
of regressing and progressing which would at once c1eave reality into the carefree. Man may free hímself of care but cannot set care aside. 'In Hfe man
essential and the peripheral and substantiate such cleaving. lnstead, it leaps belongs to care,' Herder has said. What then is care? To start with care is
over phenomenal appearances without ever investigating them and in so not a psychologicaI state or a negative frame of mind which wouId ~ternate
doing seeks to know both the essence and how to reach it. The directness of with a differe~t, positive one. Care is the subjectively transposed reality of
'essential' thought skips the essential. Its chase after the essential ends in man as an obJective subject. Man is always already enmeshed in situations
hunting down a thing without its essence, a mere abstraction or triviality. and relati~nship~ through his existence which is one of activity _ though it
Befare an individual ever reads a textbook of political economy and may mamfest ltself as absolute passivity and abstention. Care is the
learns about the scientifically formulated laws of economic phenomena, he e~tanglement of the individual in a network of relationships that confront
already Uves in an econornic reality and understands it in his own way. h1m. as the practica1Mutilitar~an world. Therefore, objective relationships
Perhaps our investigation should then start by questioning the untutored ~an.lfest themselves to the Individual - in his 'praxis' rather than in rus
individual? What promise might his answers hold, though? He might answer IntUlting -- as a ~orld of procuring, of means, ends, projects, obstac1es and
the question 'What is economics?' in words expressing his idea of it or succ~sses. Cafe IS the pure activity of the social individual in isolation.
regurgitating the answers of others. His answers wil1 be mere echoes of those Re~lity cannot primarily and irnmediately manifest itself to this involved
read or heard elsewhere. Similarly, his idea of economics will hardly be an subJect as a set of objective laws to which he 1S subjected; on the contrary it
original one, since its content will not measure up to reality. He wholives ~ppears as activity and interference, as a world which on1y the active
closest to economic reality and experiences it a11 his Hfe does not necessarily l11volvement of the individual Sets in moHon and gives sense too This world is
have a correct idea of economics, Le. of what he lives in. lmportant for the formed. throu~ ~e involvement of the individual. Far from being merely a
authenticity of our further reasoning is not how peop1e answer the question set of Ideas, 1t IS aboye a11 a certain kind of praxis in its most varied
about economics but rather what economics is to them, prior to any modifications.
questioning and any contemplation. One always has a certain understa~ding Care is not the everyday consciousness of the struggling individual One
of reality that precedes explication. Itself an elementary layer of consclOUS- ~a: ~e would shed during leisure. Care is the practical involvement o'f the
ness, this pre-theoretical understanding is the basis for the possibility of the mdlvldual in a tangle of social relations conceived from the position of his
culture and the cultivation through which one ascends from a preliminary p.e~sonal, individual, subjective involvement. These relations are not objec~
understanding to a conceptual cognition of reality. The belief that reality in :lVlse~: ~1ey are not the subjectMmatter of science or of objective
its phenomenal appearance ís a peripheral and negligible issue for philo- lllvest¡g~tion, but are rather the sphere of individual involvernent. Therefore
sophical cognition and for man leads to a fundamental error: ignoring the the subJect Cannot intuit them as objective laws of processes and of
38 CHAPTER Il DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 39
phenomena; from the perspective of his subjectivity, he sees thero as a world rellect the qualities of a particular philosopher's thought or of philosophy as
related to the subject, having meaning for thi8 subject, and created by the ~uch: rather,. 11 expresses in a certain way changes in the objective reality
subject. Sínce care i5 the entanglement of the individual in social relations ltself. The Sh1ft froro "labor' to 'procuring' reflects in a mystified fashíon fue
seen from the perspective of the involved subject, it also amounts to a process of mtensified fetishization of human relations, a fetishization
trans-subjective world seen by thai subject. Cafe i5 the world in the subject. through which the human world reveals itself to the everyday consciousness
The individual is not only that which he considers himself or the world to ras fixed in a philosophical ideology) as a ready-made world of devices
be: he is also a part of the situations in which he plays an objective impleroents and relations, a stage for the individual's social movement fO;
trans-individual role of which he may be quite unaware. In hi8 subjectivity, ~iS ~~itiative, employment, ubiquity, sweat, in one word - as procuring.'The
man as care is outside himself, aiming at something else, transcending hi5 mdlvIdual moves about in a ready~made system of devices and implements,
subjectivity. Yet roan i5 subjectivity not only in being outside himself and in procures them as they in turn procure hiro) and has long ago 'lose any
transcending himself through it. Man's transeendence means that through aw~rene~s of this world being a product of mano Procuring penneates his
his aetivity he is trans·subjective and trans·individual. His Hfe-long eare en tIre . hfe. Work has been fragmented mto a thousand independent
(cura) eontains both the earthly elemen!, directed al the material, and the operatlOns, each of them with its own operator and exeeutor be it a
element aspiring upward, to the divine;I a 'care' is ambiguous, and the production or a white-col1ar jobo The manipulator faces not the wo~k but an
question arises: Why this ambiguity? ls it a product and an attifact of abstracny disintegrated segment of it which does not provide an overview of
Christian theological thought for which the ordeal of this world marks the th~ work a~ a whole. TIte manipulator perceives the whole as a ready.made
only sure path to God? 1s theology a mystified anthropology, or is tlung; of lts genesis there exist only details, and these are in and of
anthropology a secularized theology? Theology can be secularized only themselves irrational.
because theological topies are in reality mystified problems of anthro- Procuring is praxis in its phenomenally alienated form which does not
pology. Man's spanning of the earthly and the divine elements 1S a point lo the genesis of the human world (the world of people and of human
consequence of the dual nature of human praxis, which in its subjectively culture, of a culture that humanizes nature) but rather expresses the praxis
mystified form appears as the duality of 'care'. ?f .eve~yd.ay m~niPulation) with rnan employed in a system of ready-made
The subject is determined by a system of objective relations, but acts as a tlnngs, 1.e., lffiplements. In this system of implements, roan himself
con cerned individual whose activity forms a network of rela tions. Care is: becomes an object. of manipulation. The praxis of manipulation (procuring)
(1) the entanglement of the social individual in a system of social transforms people mto manipulators and into objects of manipulation.
relations on basis ofhis involvement and his utilitarian praxis; .Procuring is manipulation (of things and of people), lts motíons repeat
(2) the aetivity of this individual whieh in the elementary form appears druly, ~ey have long ago become a habit and are performed mechanically.
as caring and procuring; The relfi~d ch~ract.er of praxis expressed in the term 'procuring' signifies
(3) the subject of activity (of procuring and caring) which appears as that mampulatlOn IS not a matter of creating a work but of a roan who
laek of differentiation and anonymity, cons~med by p:oc~ring, 'does not think' about the work. Procuring is man'~
Procuring is the phenomenal ílspect of abstraet labor. Labor has been practIcal behavlOr III a world that is ready-made and given; it amounts to
divided up and depersonalized to the extcnt that in all its spheres- attending and manipulating implements in a world, but in no way to the
material, administrative, and intellectual - it appears as mere procuring and process of forming a human world, TIle philosophy that had offered a
manipulation. To observe that the place occupied in German classical descr.iption of the world of care and procuring met with extraordinary
philosophy by the category of labor has been taken over in the twentieth acclalm because this particular world is the universal surface level of
century by mere proeuring, and to view this metaroorphosis as a process of twentieth century reality. This world does not appear to man as the reality
deeadence represented by the shift from Hegel's objective idealism to that he would have formed but as a ready-made and impenetrable world in
Heidegger's subjective idealisro, is to highlight a certain phenomenal aspect which manipulation appears as involvement and aetivity. An individual
of the historical process. The substitution of 'procuring' for labor does not manipulates the telephone, the automobile or the electrk switch as
40 CHAPTER II DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 41

something ordinary and unquestioned. It takes a break~down fOI him to conseiousness as a reified world of manipulation and procuring. Procuring as
discover that he Uves in a world of functioning implements which constitute the universal reified image of human praxis is not the process o[ producing
a mutually interlocking and interconnected system. A break-clown indicates and fom1ing a11 objective-practical human world, but is rather lhe
that 'implements' exist not in the singular but in the plural: that the manipulation of ready-made implements as of the total of civilization's
telephone receiver 18 useless without the mouthpiece, the mouthpiece resources and requirements. The world of human praxis 1S objective-human
without me wiring, the wiring wifuout electric current, current without the reality in its genesis, produetion and reproduetion, whereas the world of
power station, the power station without coal (raw material) and procuring is one of ready-made implements and their manipulation. Since
machinery. A hammer or a sickle are not implements (apparatuses). both the worker and the eapitalist Uve in this twentieth century world of
Breaking a hammer i8 a perfectly transparent matter with which a single procuring, fue philosophy of this world might appear to be more universal
person can deaL A hammer is not an implernent but a to01: it points not ,to than the phílosophy of human praxis. Thi5 fictitious universality results
a whole system of implements conditioning its own functioning but to the from its being a philosophy of mystified praxis, of praxis- not as a human,
smallest cirele of producers. In the patdarchal world of lhe plane, lhe transforming activity, bu t as the manipulation ot things and people. Man as
hammer and the saw it is impossible to capture the problems of implements care lS not merely 'thrown' into the world that is already there as a
and apparatuses created by the modern industrial world of the twentieth ready-made reality; rather, he moves about in this world - itself a ereation
century.2 of man - as in a complex of instruments he knows how to manipulate even
Procuring as abstract human labor in its phenomenal form creates an without knowing their functioning and the truth of their being. In the
equally abstract world of utility in which everything is transformed into a proeess of procuring, man as care manipulates the telephone, the TV set, the
utilitarian instrument. ln this world, things have no independent meaning elevator, the car and the subway, oblivious of the reality of technology and
and no objective being; they aequire meaning only insofar as they are of the senSe of these instruments.
manipulable. In practical manipu1ation (Le. in procuring) things and people Man as eare is involved in social relations and at the same time has a
are implements, objects of manipulation, and acquire a meaning only in a certain relationship with nature and develops a certain idea of nature.
system of general manipulability. lile world discloses itself to the concerned Recognizing the human world as one of utility reveals an important truth:
individual as a system of meanings a11 of which point to a11 others, and the that this is a social world, in which nature appears as humanized nature, Le.
system as a whole points back to fue subject for whom things have these as the object and material base for industry. Nature is the laboratory and
meanings. This reflects, first, the complexity of modern civilization in which raw-material base for procuring, and man's relationship with it resembles
particularity has been transcended and its place taken by absolute that of a conqueror's relationship, a ereator to his material. This, however, is
universality. Second, behind the phenomenal form ofthe world ofmeanings only one of a11 possible relations, and the image of nature based on it
(which when absolutized and separated from objective objeetivity leads to exhausts neither the truth of nature nor the truth of mano 'Nature is
idealism) there transpire the contours of the world of man's objective praxis sometimes reduced to being a workshop and to providing raw material for
and of its artifacts. In this world of rneanings, the objective material praxis man's produetive activity. This really is how nature appears to mal1 -- the
forms not only the meanings of things as the sense of things, but also the producer. But the entirety of nature and its significan ce cannot be reduced
human senses which negotiate man's aeeess to the objective meaning of to this role oruy. Reducing the relationship between man and nature to that
things. The objective-practical and the sensory-practical world has of a producer and his raw material would infinitely impoverish human Jife.
dissolved in the perspective of care and has been transformed into a world Such a reduction would indicate that the estlletie aspects ofhuman life and
of meanings outlined by human subjectivity. This lS a sta tic world in whieh of man's relation with the world have been uprooted -" and more: the 10ss
manipulation, procuring and utilitarian ealculation represent the movement of nature as something created neither by man nor by anyone eIse, as
of the concerned individual in a ready-made and fixed reality whose genesis something eternal and uncreated, would be coupled with the 10ss of the
is obscured. TIle bond of the individual with social reality ls expressed and awareness that man is a part of a greater whole: compared with it, man
realized through care; but this reality discloses itself to coneerned be<,omes aware both of his smaUness and of his greatness. '3
42 CHAPTER [] DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 43
In care, the individual is a1ways already in the future and tums the what sense does this uncover? The everyday 1S aboye a11 the organizing of
present into a means or a too1 fOI fue realization of projects. Cafe as the people's individual Uves into every day: the replicability of their life
individual's practical involvement favors the future in a certain way, and functions is fixed in the replicability of every day, in the time schedule for
turns it into fue basie time dimension, in whose light he grasps and 'realizes' every day. The everyday is the organizing of time and the rhylhm which
fue present. The indivídual appraises the present and the past by the govern the unfolding of individual Jife histories. The everyday has its
practical projects he lives for, by his plans, hopes, fears, expectations and experience and wisdom, its sophistication, its forecasting. It has lts
goals. Since cafe i8 anticipation, it invalidates the present and fastens Onto replicability but also its special occasions, its routine but a1so its festivity.
the future which has not yethappened. Man's time dimension, and his being The everyday is thus not meant as a contrast to the unusual, the festive, the
as a being in time, are disclosed in cafe as a fetishised future and fetislüsed special, or to History: hypostatizing the everyday as a routine over History,
temporality: because it is ahead of the present, cafe considers the present as the exceptional, is itself the result of a certain mystification.
not as the authentic existence, as 'closeness to being', but rather as a flight. 4 In the everyday, the activity and way of life are transformed into an
Care does not reveal the authentic character of human time. In and of itself, instinctive, subconscious, unconscious and unrefiected mechanism of acting
the future does not overcome romanticism or alienation. In a certain way it and living: things, people, movements, tasks, environment, the world - they
even amounts to an alienated escape from alienation, Le. to fictitiously are llot perceived in their originality and authenticity, they are not tested
overcoming it. 'To Uve in the future', <to anticipate' in a sense denies tife: and discovered hut they simply are there, and are accepted as inventory, as
the individual as care lives not his present but his future, and since he components of a known world. The everyday appears as the night of
neglects that which lS and anticipates that which is not, his life occurs in indifference, of the mechanical and the instinctive, 1.e. as the world of
nothingness, Le. in inauthenticity, while he himself staggers between blind familiarity. At the same time, the everyday is a world whose dimensions and
'resoluteness' and resigned 'waiting'. Montaigne knew thi5 form of potentialities an individual can control and ca1culate with his abilities and
alienation well. s resources. In the everyday, everything is 'at hand' and an individual can
realize his intentions. This is why it is a world of confidence, familiarity,
The Everyday and History and routine actions. Death, sickness, births, successes and failures are a11
Every mode of human existence or being-in-the-world has its everyday. accouniable events of everyday life. In the everyday, tbe individual develops
The Middle Ages had its everyday which was segmented among different relations on basis of his own experience, his own possibilities, his own
c1asses, estates and corporations. Though the everyday of the serf differed activity, and therefore considers the everyday reality to be his own world.
from those of lhe monk, the wandering knight or the feudal lord, they all Beyond the limits of thls world of confidence, famíliarity, immediate
shared a common denomínation, one single basis determining the tempo, experience and replicability which the individual can count on and control,
rhythm, and organization of !ife - lhe feudal society. Induslry and there begins another world, the very opposite to the everyday, The collision
capitalism introduced not only new tools of production, new c1asses and of these two worlds reveals the truth of each of them. The everyday
polítical institutions but also a new manner of the everyday, one essentially becomes problema tic and reveals itself as the everyday when it is
different from that of previous epochs. disrupted. It is not disrupted by unexpected events or by negative
What is the everyday? The everyday is not privacy, as opposed to public phenomena: the exceptional and the festive on the level of the everyday are
Bfe. Nor is it so-called profane life as opposed to an exalted official world: an integral part of it. Inasmuch as the everyday represents the organizing of
both the scribe and the emperor Uve in the everyday. Entire generations, millions of people's lives into a regular and replicable rhythm of work,
mi1lions of people _have lived and stil1 Uve the everyday of their Uves as action and Hfe, it is disrupted only when millions of people are jolted out of
though it were a natural atmosphere, and they never pause to question its this rhythm. War disrupts the everyday. It forcefully drags millions of
sense. What is the sense of questioning the sense of the everyday? Might peopIe out of their environment, tears them away from their work, drives
such questioning perhaps suggest an approach that would expose the essence them out of their familiar world. Although war 'Uves' on the horizon, in the
of the everyday? At what point does t11e everyday become problematic and memory and in the experience of everyday living, it is beyond the everyday.
44 CHAPTER 11 DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 45

War is History. In lhe collision of war (of History) with the everyday, the wmch transform it into the 'religion of the workaday', of acquiring the form
latter is overpowered: for millions, 1he customary rhythm of life is ayer. of eternal and immutable conditions of human life? How did the everyday
This collision of the everyday and History (war), in whicb one (particular) which is a product of history and a reservoir of historicity end up severed
everyday has been disrupted and no other habitual, mechanical and from History and considered the antinomy of history, Le, of change and of
instínctive rhythm of acting and living has yet been established, reveals both events? The everyday is a phenomenal world which reveals reality in a
the character of the everyday and that of History, and their relationship., certain way even as it conceals 1t. 6
Folk wisdom has it that ane will even get used to the scaffold. That is, In a certain way, the everyday reveals the truth about reality, for reality
even in the most extraordinary, least natural and least human of outside the everyday world would amount to transcendental non-rea1ity, Le.
environments, peopie develap a rhythm of Ufe. Concentration camps had to a formation without power or effectiveness: but in a way it also conceals
their everyday, and indeed even the persan an death row has hi8. Two kinds it. Reality is contained in the everyday not immediately and in its totality
of replicability and substitution operate in the everyday, Every day of the but mediately and only in some aspects. An analysis of fue everyday a110ws
everyday can be substituted for another corresponding day, the everyday for reality to be grasped and described only to a certain extent. Beyond the
makes this Thursday indistinguishable from last Thursday or from last year's limits of its 'potentialities' it falsifies reality, In this sense one grasps the
Thursday. It merges with o!ber Tbursdays and it would be preserved, Le. it everyday from reality, rather than vice versa. 7
would differ and emerge in rnemory; only if there were something spedal Tbe melhod of !be 'philosophy of care' is al once mystifying and
and exceptional to it. At the same time, any subject of a given everyday can demystifying in that it presents tbe everyday in a particular reality as
be substituted for any other subject: subjects of the everyday are inter- though it were the everyday as such. I.t does not distinguish between the
changeable. They are best described and branded with a number and a stainp. everyday and the 'religion' of the workaday, Le. lhe alienated everyday.
The c1ash of the everyday with History resuIts in an upheaval. Hislory This method takes the everyday to be inauthentic historicity, and the
(war) disrupts the everyday, but the everyday overpowers History - for transition to authenticity to be a rejection of the everyday.
everything has its everyday. In this clash, the separation of the everyday If !be everyday is the phenomenal 'layer' of reality, lhen the reified
from history, a separation which is the starting and permanent vantage point everyday 1S overcome not in a leap fraID the everyday to authenticity but in
of everyday consdousness, proves in practice to be a mystification. The practica1ly abolishing both tbe fetisbism of lhe everyday and tbal of
everyday and history interpenetrate. Intertwined, their supposed or History, that is, in practically destroying reified reality both in lts
apparent character changes:- the everyday no longer is that for which routine phenomenal appearance and in its real essence. We have demonstrated that
consciousness takes it, in the same way as History is not that as what it radica11y separating fue everyday from variability and historicity on the one
appears to routine consciousness, Naive consciousness considers the every- hand leads to a mystification o[ history which then appears as the Emperor
day to be a natural atmosphere ar a familiar reality, whereas History appears on horseback and as History, and on the other hand leads to emptying the
as a transcendental reality occurring behind its back and bursting into the eve1yday) to banality and to the 'religion of the workaday'. Divorced from .
everyday in form of a catastrophe into which an individual 1S thrown as history, the everyday becomes emptied to the point of being absurdly
'fatally' as cattle are driven to the slaughterhouse. The cleavage of life immutable. Divorced from the everyday, history turns into an absurdly
between the everyday and History exists for this consciousness as fate. powerless giant which bursts into the everyday as a catastrophe but which
While the everyday appears as confidence l familiarity, proximity, as 'home', nevertheless cannot change it, Le. cannot eliminate its banality 01' fill it with
History appears as the derailment, the disruption of fue everyday, as the content. The plebeian naturalism of the nineteenth century beheved that
exceptional and the strange. This cleavage simultaneously splits reality into the importance of historical events lies not in how and why they developed
the historicity of History and lhe ahistoricity of lhe everyday. Hislory but in how they influenced the 'masses'. But a mere projection of 'grand
changes, the everyday remains. The everyday is the pedestal and the raw history' lnto the Uves of ordinary people does not e1iminate the idealis1ic
material of History. 1t supports and nourishes History bu t is itself devoid of view of history. It even strengthens it in a sense. From the point of view of
history and outside of history. What are the circumstances of the everyday official he roes, only fue so,called exaIted world, lhe world of grand deeds
46 CHAPTER Il DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 47
and of historical events which overshadow the emptiness of everyday life, 1) and false collectivity (the fetishised we). The materialist (hesis which
rightful1y belongs into history. Conversely, the naturalist cancept negates states that man is an ensemble of social conditions but neglects to mention
this exalted world and [acuses Gn a scatter of daily events, on mere records who is the subject of these 'conditions' 8 leaves it to the 'interpretation'
and documentary snapshots of ordinary life. This approach, however, to fil1 in the blank either with a real or with a mystical subject, with the
deprives the everyday of its mstorical dimension as much as the idealistic mystified 1 or the mystified we. Both transform the real individual into a
approach dúes. The everyday is taken as eternal, in principle immutable, and tool and a mask.
thU8 compatible with any epoch in history. The subject-object relation5hip in human existence is not identical with
The everyday appears as the anonyrnity and tyranny of tlle impersonal the relationship of the internal and the external, or with that of the isolated .
power which dictates every individual's behavior, thoughts, taste and even pre- or nonNsocial subject and th~ social entity. The subject is already
hi8 protest against banality. The anonymity of the everyday, expressed in constitutively permeated with an objectivity which 1S the objectification of
the subject of this anonymity, that is in the someone/noNone, has its human praxis, An individual might be submerged in objectivity, in the world
eounterpart in the anonymity of historieal aetars described as 'history of manipulation and procuring, so completely that his subject disappears in
makers'. Historical events consequently appear as the work of no-one and it and objectivity itself stands out as the real, though mystified, subject. Man
thus of a1\, asthe result of anonymity shared both by the everyday and by might disappear in the 'external' world because his lS the existence of an
History. objectiv-e subject which exists only by producing a subjective~objective
What does ane mean by saying that the fir5t and farem05t subject of the historical world. Modern philosophy discovered the great truth that roan is
individual i5 anonymity, that man understands himself and the world aboye not born into condUions 'proper' but 1S always 'thrown,9 into a world. He
a11 on basis of care and of procuring, on basis of the world of manipulation has to check for himself its authenticity or ínauthenticity: in struggle,
in which he is submerged? What does one mean by saying that 'Man ist das, 'practical life', in the process of his own life history, in 1.he course of
was man betreibt'? What does it mean, that an individual is first immersed in appropriating and changing, of producing and reproducing reality.
the anonymity and facele5sness of the someonefno-one which acts in him, In the course of the practical-spiritual evolution of the individual and of
thinks in him, protests within him on his behalf and on behalf of the f? mankind, the undifferentiated and ornnipotent rule of anonymity event-
Through his very existence, lUan is not only a social being which i5 already ually collapses. In the course of ontogenesis and phyiogenesis, its un-
enmeshed in a network of social relations. He is a]so acting, thinking and differentiated character diversifies into human and general human features
leeling as a social subject even before he is or indeed could be aware of this on the one hand, the appropriation of which transforms an individual lnto a
realit,y. Routine consciousness (the 'religion') of the everyday'takes human human individual, and into particular, non-human, historically transient
existence for a manipulable object and treats and interprets it accordingly. features on the other hand, of which an individual has to free himself, ifhe
Since man identifie5 with his environment, with what is at hand, what he 1S to work his way toward authenticity. In this sense, man's evolution
manipulates and what is onticaUy c10sest to him, his own existence and progresses as a practical process of separating the human and the
understanding of it tum into something distant and unfamiliar. Familiarity non-human, the authentic and the inauthentic.
Is an obstac1e to knowledge. Man can figure out his immediate world of We have characterized 1he everyday as a world with a regular rhythm in
procuring and manipulation but cannot 'figure out' himself because he which man lloves about following mechanical instincts, and with a feeling
disappears in and merges with the manipulable world. The mystifying- of familiarity. Reflection over the sense of the everyday leads to the absurd
demystifying 'phílosophy of care' describes and postula tes this reality but consciousness that there IS no sense to lt. 'What a bore to put on a shirt in
cannot explain it. Why does man first of a11 disappear in fue 'externaP world t11e morning. Then the breeches over 11. To crawl into bed at night and out
and interprets himself from it? Man is primordially what bis world is. Th1S again in the morning. To keep setting one foot in front of the other with no
derivative existence determines his consciousness and prescribes the way in prospect 01 it ever changing, It's very sad. And to think that millions have
which he i5 to interpret his own existence. The subject of an individual is done it before us and millions will do it again ... >1 o What 1S essential,
first of all a derivative subject, both in tenns of false individuality Cthe false however, is not the consciousness of the absurdity ofthe everyday, but the
48 CHAPTER II DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 49

question of when daes one come to feflect upon it. One questions the sense shares a substantial cornmon trait with philosophical nihilism: in both, a
of the everyday with its automatisrn and irnmutability not because it Usel! particular historical form of the everyday ls considered the natural and
would have becorne a problem. Rather, its problematization reflects a immutable basis for a11 human coexistence. In one instance, the alienation
problematization of reality: primordial1y, one seeks not the sense of the of the everyday is reflected in consciousness as an uncritical attitude, in the
everyday but the sense of reality. The feeling of absurdity is evoked not by ather as a feeling af absurdity. Ta behald the truth af the alienated
reflection about the automatism of the everyday. Rather, reflection about everyday, one has to rnaintain a certain distance from it. To do away with
the everyday is a consequence of the absurdity that historieal reality has its familiarity, one has to 'force' it. What is the kind of society and what is
forced upon the individual (Dan ton). the kind of world whose peopIe have to 'turn into' lice, dogs and apes in
Man can be man only if he can perform various Jife functions order for their real image to be represented adequately? In what 'forced'
automatically. The less these activities impinge upon his consciousness and metaphors and parables must one present man and his world, to make
reflection, the better suited they are and the better service they Tender. The peopIe see their own faces and recognize their own world? One of the main
more complicated man's life, the more numerous are the relations he enters principIes of modern art, poetry and drama, of painting and film-making is,
into; and the more functions he performs, the more extensive ís the we feel, the 'forcing' of the everyday, the destruction of the pseudo-
necessary sphere of automated human functions, customs, procedures. The concrete. 1 2
process of automating and mechanizing the everyday of human life is an Presenting the truth about human reality is rightJy felt to be sornething
historical process. The boundary between the possible and necessary sphere other than this reality itself, and it is therefore insufficient. It lS not enough
of automation, on the one hand, and the sphere which in the best human for the truth of reality to be presented to man; man has to perform th1S truth.
interest cannot be automated, on the other hand, is consequently one that Man wants to Uve in authenticity and to realize authenticity. An individual
shifts in the course of history. With an increasingly complex civilization, cannot by himself effect a revolutionary change in conditions and eradicate
man has to subject ever more extensive spheres of his activity to evil. Does this imply that as an individual, man has no irnmediate
automation, in arder to maintain enough space and time for genuine human relationship to authenticity? Can he live an authentic life in a world that is
problems. 11 The impossibility of automating certain liJe functions can be inauthentic? Can he be free in an unfree world? Does there exist one single
an obstac1e to human Ufe itself. trans-personal and trans-individual authenticity, or is there a permanent
Inasmuch as the shift from the inauthentic to the authentic is an choice, accessible to anyone and to aH? In the existential modification, the
historical process which is realized both by mankind (a c1ass, a society) and subject of the individual awakens to his own possibilities and elects them.
by the individual, an analysis of its concrete fOTITIS has to cover both of He changes not the world, but his attitude toward ir. The existential
these processes. A fcrced reduction of one process to the other or their modification is not a revolutionary transformatian of the world but the
identification will transpire in the sterility and triviality of answers that drama of an individual in the world. In the existential modification, the
philasaphy might affer ta fue prablems they pose. individual liberates himself from the inauthentic existence and chooses
The pseudoconcrete of the alienated everyday world ls destroyed an authentic one among others, by considering the everyday sub specie
through estrangement, through existential modification, and through mortis. In that way he invalidates the everyday with all its alienation and
revolutionary transformation. lllOUgh this list does have an hierarchical rises aboye it, but at the same time he negates the sense ofhis own activity.
aspect to it, every form of destruction maintains its relative independence, Choosing authenticity sub specie mortis leads to aristocratlc romantic
and to that extent cannot be substituted by another formo stoicism (under the sign of death 1 live authentically, on the throne or
The world of everyday familiarity is not a known and a recognized one. in chatns) or is realized as choosing death. This form of existential
In order to present it in its reality, it has to be ripped out of fetishised modification is, however, not the only way, or even the most frequent or
intimacy and exposed in alienated brutality. Experiencing the workaday life the most adequate way for an índividual's authentic realization. It, too. is
naively and uncritically, as though it were the natural human environment, only an historical choice with a quite precise social and class contento
50 CHAPTER II DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 51

MET APHYSICS OF SCIENCE AND REASON is based on certain presuppositions, bu1 ignores their significan ce and their
historical character. Rightly or wrongly, the Physiocrats identified eco-
Horno oeconomicus nomics, conceived in its elementary scientilic form with the bourgeois form
Man as care is the pure subjectivity in whích the whole world is of production. This was in turn studied in terms of the 'material1aws' that
submerged. In this chapter we sha11 trace the transition to the other arise from the character of production and are independent of will, polities,
extreme, to 1he subject who objectifies himself. In arder to understand who etc. 14 A theory of society as a system emerges only when society itselfhas
he is, lhe subject becomes objectual (objektálnlj*. The subject is no longer beeome a system, when it has not only been sufficiently differentiated, but
mere involvement and activity that forms the world: now he becomes when tms differentiation has led to multilateral dependence, and this
integrated in a transindividual law1ike whole as Qlle of its components. dependence has itself become independent ~ Le., when society is con-
However, this incorporation transforms the subject. The subject abstracts stituted as a differentiated whole. Capitalisrn is the first system in this sense
from his subjectivity and becomes an object and an eIernent of the system. of the word. Only on the basis of a reality grasped and comprehended in
Man becornes a unit determined by its function in a lawlike system. He this way, in form of a natural arder, Le. only on the basis of economics as a
seeks to comprehend himself by abstracting from his subjectivity, and turns system 01 laws that man studies, will one pose a secondary question,
into an objectual being. The purely intellectual process of scienee concerning man's relation to this system. Homo oeconomicus is based on
transforms man into an abstract unit integrated in a scientifically analysable the idea 01 a system. Horno oeconomicus 1S man as a component of a
and mathematically descríbable system, This reflects the real metamorphosis system, as a functioning element of a system, who as such must be equipped
of man performed by capitalismo Only under capitalisrn díd economics with essentiaJ features indispensable for running the system. The suggestion
develop as a science. Antiguity and the Middle Ages knew an econorny, and that the science of ecanomic phenomena is based on psychology and that
a few scattered facts of economics, but not economics as a science, the laws of economics are just an elaboration, refining and objectivation of
The foremost question of modern science is, 'What is reality and how is it psychologyl5 uncritically aceepts the phenomenal form of reality as though
cognizable?' Galileo answered: AH 1S real that can be described math- it were reality itself. Classical science equipped the 'econornic man' with
ematical1y. To create a science of economics which would express the laws severa! basic characteristics, including such fundamental ones as rational
of economic phenomena, it was necessary to establish the turning point at behavior and egoísmo If fue 'horno oeconomicus' of classical science is an
which the individual becomes the general, the arbitrary the lawlike. The abstraction, it is a reasonable abstraction: not only in the sense of
inception of political economy as a science feH in a peried when the verstdndig but especially in 1he sense of vernünftig. lts 'abstractness' is
individual, the arbitrary and the randem acquired the fonu of the necessary determined by the system, and only outside the system does horno
and the law1ike, when the totaHty of social movement arose 'from ,the oeconomicus become an abstraction devoid of content. The system
conscious will and particular purposes of individuals', when it became (economics as a system) and hamo oeconomicus are inseparable magnitudes.
independent of 1hese purposes, and when 'the social relations ofindividuals Helvetius' theory of interest and Ricardo's ecanomic theory are based on a
to ane another [appeared J as a power over the individuals that [had J become cornmon foundaban whose hidden character had led to many mis-
autonomous, whether conceiveq as a natural force, as chanee or in whatever understandings. Take for example the idea tha1 the psychology of egoism
other form,.13 Science (political econorny) takes this emancipation ofsocial (interest) - the laws of economics being definitions of a force called
movemen1 as something primary, given and irreducible, and posits the task egoism - is directly analogous to a physical mechanism, Egoisrn can be
of describing the laws of this movement. The science of economic considered the mainspring of human activity only in the framework of a
phenomena tacitly and unconsciously presupposes the idea of a system, .Le. system which takes it fOI granted tha1 pursuing one's private interests wi11
of a certain differentiated whole whose laws can be traced and defined ]ust create general welfare. What is this 'general welfare' that appears as the
as in the physical world. Thus the 'new science' is n01 presuppositionless; it result? lt 1S the presupposition and the ideologicalpremise that capitalism is
the best system possible.
*objektální is a Czech neologism 01' Kosík. The German translation renders it as
objekthaft. -TI.
Interaction of as few as two people forms a system. More precisely, the
52 CHAPTER II DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 53

interaction of two people is an elementary model of a social system. system of economic relations to be set in rnotion and for it to function as a
Mandeville's vain young lady and the crafty mercer, Diderot's Jacques mechanism?' The concept of a system is a fundamental groundplan of
Fataliste 15a and 11i5 master, Hegel's master and slave, a11 represent certain science. Certain Iaws are exposed on its basis behind the apparent chaos of
concrete models of human relations, presented as a system. A system is empírical phenornena. Before studying the empírical and factual nature of
more than the sum total of participants because people and their relations phenomena, there already exists the idea of a system, of an inte11igible
form something new, something transindividual, in a system and as a principIe permitting the study of these phenomena. Innumerable chao tic
system. This is particularIy conspicuous in Mandeville whose peopIe are of a individual acts, seemingly arbitrary and random, are reduced to and
certain kind only inasmuch as they aet; but they can aet only in the interpreted as instances of a characteristic and typical movement. 1 8 The
framework of a particular system of relations which in tum presupposes, introduction and application of the concept of a system is linked (1) with a
requires and shapes particular peop/e. 1 6 certain scheme or model, an explicative principle of social phenomena, and
What kind of man, and with what psychological endowment, must the (2) with quantification and mathematical methods, Le. with the possíbility
system form in arder for it 10 function? Even if it does 'forro' peopIe with of formulating economic laws in mathematical terms. 1t was in principIe
an instinct for earning and an instinct for saving, with rationalized behavior possible to introduce mathematics into economics because science takes
directed at maximum effect (utility, profit, etc.), it still does not follow that economic phenomena to be a system of repetitive regularities and laws.
peopIe are identical with these abstractions. Rather, it means that these Classical econoroics presupposed a key turning point at which the
basic characteristics are sufficient for the syst.em to function. Not theory, subjective becomes the objective, and took it as a starting point without
but reality Uself reduces man to an abstraction. Economics is a system and a investigating it further. Questions of how this turning poin t migh t be possible
sel of laws governing relations in which man is constantly being transformed and what exactly happens in it were not. entertained. This unconcern
into the 'economic rnan '. Entering the realm of economics, rnan is contains a potential for mystification~ and assorted pro tests against the
transformed The moment he enters into economic relations, he is 'reification' of roan in classical political economy have been based precisely
drawn,- irrespective of his wi11 and consciousness - into situations and on tbis 'unconcern.' Por classical economics, man exists exclusively as a part
lawlike relations in which he functions as the horno oeconomicus, in which of the system, and studies even hímself only by looking at himself as a part
he exists and realizes himself only to the extent to which he fulfills the role of the system. The ideal of scientific cognition of roan consists in
of the economic mano Thm economics 1S a sphere of tife that has the abstracting to the utmost froro his subjectivity, from random features and
tendency to transforrn man into the economic man and t.hat draws him into idiosyncracies, of turning man into a 'physical magnitude' that can be
an objective mechanism which subjugates and adapts him. Man is active in constructed, described and eventually even formulated roathematically, as
the economy only imofar as the economy is active, Le. insofar as it any other magnitude of classical mechanics.
transfonns man into a certain abstraction, insofar as .H absolutizes, The transition from roan as 'care' to the 'economic man' is not merely a
exaggerates and emphasizes certain features while ignoring other, random shift in perspective. The problem is not t11at in the first case man is intuited
ones which are unnecessary in the context of the economic system. This as subjectivity which knows nothing of the objectivity of social context,
reveals how nonsensical are such contemplations that would divorce the while in the second case that same man ls investigated in an objective
'economic man' from capitalism as a system. Horno oeconomicus is a fiction transindividual context. The main problem is elsewhere. With what appears
only when considered as an entity independent of the capitalist system. 1 7 as a shift in view or in perspective, the very subject"matter of the
As an element of the systern, though, horno oeconomicus is a reality. Thus investigation changes, and objective reality turns into an objectual reality, a
classical economics begins not with the 'economic man' but with the reality of objects. Physis turns into physics, nature is reduced to mere
system, and for the purposes of this system il posits the 'economic man' as a natura naturata. In what appears as a shift in perspective, man is
well-defined elernent of irs constmction and functioning. Man is not defined transformed into an object and is investigated as though he were on the
in and of himself but wit.h respect to the system. 111e primary question is same level as any other thing or object. The human world turns into a
not, 'What is rnan?' but rather, 'How does rnan have to be equipped for the physical world and the science of man tums into the science of man-object,
54 CHAPTER II DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 55

Le. into social physics. 19 A mere shift in perspective, intended to reveal real world for man to live in. They amount to an unreal world of privacy,
certain aspects of reality, actually forms a reality that is altogether dzfferent, irrelevance, of the romantic.
or rather, substitutes one thing for another while being oblivious of this Romantic apologists have reproached Smith, saying that in his system,
substitution. The substitution involves more than the rnethodological people are 'tom out of al1 natural. and moral bonds, their relations are
approach to reality: through the methodological approach, reality itsel! is completely contractual, revocable, and assessable in terms of money. AH
changed. Methodology is ontologized. 20 Vulgar economics is the ideology that takes place among them is the market. They are so distilled a people
of an objectual world. It does not investigate its internal relations and laws that they hardly harbar any real drive for pleasure: only the drives for
but systematizes the ideas that agents of thi8 objectual world, Le. people earning and saving llove the econorny',22 But posing the question in tbis
reduced to objects, harbor abaut themselves, abaut the world and way is foreign to classical economists as well as to Marx. It is a romantic
economics. Classical economics also deals with an objectual reality but reaction to the reality of capitalismo Classical economics sees the question
rather than systematizing agents' ideas about this reified world, it searches thus: What necessary feature must ruan have for the capitalist system to
for its internallaws. But if reification - the world of things and of reified funcHan? By contra8t, the romantic cancept af a secondary system ~ which
human relations - is reality, and if science investigates it, desclibes it and defines man from the system and reduces him to the system's requirements,
searches for its internallaws, then what rnakes science itself fal1 for illusions leaving no place for the whole man to assert himself, since only some of his
and reification? This happens because science views this objectual world not potentialities and functions can be realized in different spheres 23 - is a
merely as a particular forro and as an historically transient penod ofhuman superficial, degenerated and romantic paraphrase of the cla~sical theory. The
reality but describes it instead as natural human reality. fullness in whose name romantic apologists protest the abstract and distilled
What appeared as a mere shift in perspective was in fact a substitution of character of the 'economic man' is the fullness of a patriarchal rnan with
realities: an objectual reality was substituted for an objectíve one. 21 Social undeveloped potential. Or does perhaps the free rnodern man see as his ideal
reality was conceived in terms of nature in its physical sense, and economic a fullness that binds the individual from cradle to grave with a single
science in terms of social physics. Objective reality was therefore trans- organization in which he can develop his limUed abilities? Is it not a great
formed into Qn objectual one, into a world olobjeets. advantage of modern times that man can move about freely in rnany worlds
The reality which classical economics describes by way of its own and can (wi th certain historical and c1ass limitations) transfer from one to
method is not an objective one. Classical economics does not describe the another, that he 1S bound only by certain functions, and only for a limited
human world in its alienated form, nor does it demonstrate how time, to the 'organism' (Le. to economics as a necessity of Jife), which is
socio-historical relations of people are masked by the relations and precisely how he cultivates his abilities? Is it Dot a manifestation of rnan's
movement of things. Instead, it describes this reified world and its laws as progress through history that he has the capacity to live simultaneously in
though it were the real human world, for this is the only human world af several worlds, that he can perceive and experience different worlds? rhe
which classical economics is aware. ful1ness of rnodern man is of a different kind than that of the romanticized
Man becomes a reality only by becoming an element of the system. patriar chal man and it is found elsewhere. The ful1ness of earlier eras was in
Outside the system he is unreal. He is real only to the extent to which he is constraints on form and shape while the ful1ness of modern man is in the
reduced to a function of the system and to which the requirements of the unity of diversities and contradictions, The very ability to act and live in
system define him as hamo oeconomicus. He is real only to the extent to more than one world is progre ss, when compared with guild constraints and
which he cultivates those abilities, ta1e11ts and inclinations that the system constrained fullness. Romantic disparagement fOI systems and for abstract-
requires for its own operation. Other talents and capacities which are not ion forgets that the problem of man, of his freedom and his concreteness, is
indispensable for the system are superfluous and unreaL 111ey are unreal in always one of his relation to the system. Man always exists in a system, and
the true and original sense of the word. They cannot be actualized and being one ofits components he is reduced to certain aspects (functions) and
realized, they cannot become the real activity of man, or transform into a to certain (one-sided and reified) forms of existence. At the same time, he is
CHAPTER II DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 57
56
always more than a system, and as man he cannot be reduced, to on~. :?e force, power and reasonableness of real subjects - sacially acting peopIe.
existence of the concrete roan spans the distance between his lrreduClblhty Reasan is fue reason of an individual. The reasonableness of his reason 15
to a system and the possiblity to transcend it, and hi5 actual location and not, however, in its presuppasitionlessness but rather in including reasonable
practical functioning in a particular system (ofhistorical circumstances and assumptions among the assumptions 01 his own reasonableness. Therefore,
whi1e it lacks the immediat.e evidence of the Cartesian reason, reason is
relatians l.
mediated by a reasonably organized and reasonably shaped (social) reality.
Reason, Rationalization, Irrationality . . Dialect.ical reason not only seeks to know reality reasonab1y but also, and
The recurrent observation (Marx, Weber, Georg Lukács, C. WnghtMI11s) in particular, to shape it reasonably. But this had been the goal of rationalist
that the rationalization of modern capitalist society goes hand in ha~d w~th reason as welL Where then do they differ? How did it happen that
the 1055 of reasan, and that with advancing rationalization irratlO~ahty rationalist reason sought to shape reality reasonably yet did so unreasonably,
spreads as wel1, correctIy pinpoints a,n import~,t s.ym~tom o~ OU~ t1m~s. so that the end product is a reality at once rationalized and irrational? Is the
t is it J'ustified to J'uxtapose the relgn of rationahzatlOll and lrratlOnahty
Y e, difference between dialectical and rationalist reason mere1y a methodo-
,24 hU . th
against the 'independent reason of the Cartesian mano ? We ~ a see m ,e lagical or an epistemological ane, a result of substituting structural-genetic
following that the independent reason of the CarteSIan roan IS the prod.uct cognition, cognition of the concrete totality, for analytical-sunuuative
of rationalization and of irrationality. To juxtapose the consequence agamst cognition? The starting point of rationalist reasan is the atomized
the cause amounts to not beholding the essence of the problem. The individual. Rationalist reason created modern civilization with its tech-
uestion of how rationalization is transformed into a force that exc~udes nology and its scientific achievements, but it also formed the rational
qrea, son of how' rationalization begets irrationa1ity, can
. be systeroatlcally
.. b individual, capable of exact scientific reasoning, as well as irrational forces,
studied only by penetrating to the starting point of thlS inverSlOn, Le. y an against which the 'rational individual' is powerless.
h.istorical analysis of reason. Rationalist reason thus officiates at the cradle both of modern science, as
Cartesian reason is the reason of a liberated isolated individual wha finds its foundation and its substantiation, and of the modern world with its
in his own consciousness the only certainty of hiroself and of the world. rationalization and irrationality.2 s Rationalist reasan forms a reality which
This reason not only buttresses contemporary science, the science .of it can neither grasp and explain nor organize in a consistent and rational
rationalist reasan, but also permeates contemporary reality., c?mple~e ~lth fashion. This inversion is not a mystical transforrnation; it happens because
its rationalization and irrationality. In its consequences and m lts reahzation, the starting point of the en tire process 1S the rationalist reason of an
'independent reasan' turns out to be dependent .and .subordinated to its own individual, Le. both a particular historical form of reason, and the reason of
products, the sum of which is unreasonable .an~ uratlOnaL In the s~bsequent a particular historical form of an individual. This reason must leave certain
inversion, independent reason loses both lts mdependence and lis reason- rea1ities beyond the scope of reason: either because they cannot be captured
ableness, and manifests itself as something dependent and unreasonable, by this re asan and in this sense are irrational (the firsi meaning of
while roducts of this reason show up as the very seat of. rea~on and irratianality), or because they cannot be govemed and controlled by this
autono~y. Reason no longer resides in the individual man and In h1S reason reason, because they escape its rule and are irrational in this sense (the
but outside the individual and outside individual reason. Unreason becoroes second meaning of irrationality).
the reasan of modern capitalist society. The reason of society transcends :he This reason leaves aside something. irratianal (in the indicated two
reasan, powers and abilities of the individual, ?f the agent af Cartes1~ meaníngs of the word) and at the same time lorms this irrational as a form
reasan. Reason is tran5cendence. Cognition of th15 transcendence and lis
laws is called science, subjecting to it 15 called freedom (freedom as the
0: of its own realization and existen ce. Ratianalist reason assumed that the
individual can 'use his reasan for everything' and in th1S sense it opposed
recognitio n af necessity'). Marx exposed these transcendental laws. as a any autharity and tradition. It wanted to investigate and know everything
mystification of reason or as a mystified subject. This transce~dence 1S the with its own reaSOn. Apart froro this positive aspect which is a pennanent
false subject whose force, power and reasonableness are nounshed by the leature of modern thaught, it also contained a negative aspect: a certain
58 CHAPTER II DIALEcncs OF 'filE CONCRETE 59

naiveté with which it ignored the faet that an individual is not only the both in theory and in practice between the sphere of the efficient, i.e. the
subject who posits but is himself posited;* that as soon as it is realized, the world of rationalization, resources and technology, and the sphere ofhuman
reasan of an atomised individual necessarily produces unreason because it values and meanings which in a paradoxical fashion become the domain of
takes itself as immediately given and dces not indude, in practice or in the irrational.
theory, the totality of the world. Rationalization and irrationality are two The unity of the capitalist world 29 is thus effected as a cleft between the
incarnations oi rationalist reason. Rationalization of reality and the world of calculation, manipulation, control, exact sciences, quantification~
concurrent transformation ofhuman reality into an objectual reality, as well rule over nature, utility, in short: the world of objectivity, on the one hand,
as the irrationality and unreason of conditions which are at once and the world of art, inner feelings, beauty, human freedom, religion, in
impenetrable and ungovernable, a11 stem from the sarne foundation. Hence short: the world of subjectivity, on the other hand. This is the objective
also the possibility of mistaking the rational (ractonální) for the efficient grou~~ w~ich has time and again provoked attempts at an apparent or real
(racionelní). [f value judgements are excluded from science, and if science can reUl1lftcatlOn of the world or at complementing its one-sidedness: Pascal's
rationally justify only the effectiveness of fue means but not the 'logic of the heart' as a complement of Descartes' discursive method veritas
appropriateness of the goals when dealing with human behavior (for otherwise aesthetica. as ~ complement of veritas logica (Baumgarten): trans-
it would lose its scíentific character), then the influence of reason is limited cendentahsm WhlCh would overcome physicalism. 30
merely to issues of action techniques. Furthermore, the overall issues of Despite the he:oic endeavor to explain everything rationally and to apply
means, manipulation and techniques which pertain to the sphere of 'reason' reason to everythmg,31 c1assical rationalism of the ] 7th and 18th centuries
become radically divorced froro values and goals, Le. from the subjective pr~duce,d a wave of real or apparent irrationalism, lt grasped reason and
human world which is then abandoned to unreason, Le. to irrationality. This rattonalIty m~taph:sical1y and consequently failed to fulfil its oWl1 programo
26
conception appears both in Max Weber and in the philosophical Very clear dlalectIcal elements were, nevertheless, germinating even within
presuppositions of the mathematical and logical work of von Neumann and the general metaphysical tendency, as demonstrated by the case of Leibniz.
Morgemtern. 27 It considers as rational (in our terminology: efficient) such In ~urn,. con,temporary 'radical rationalism' of logical empiricists provokes
behavior which leads to an effective use of resources to goal achievement with an .lfratI~nalls~ re~ction by simply excluding vast domains of reality from
mínimum energy expenditure, or to maximum advantages, Science provides ratlOna1 mvestlgatlOn and by abandonmg them with voluntary defeatism to
men with instructions on how to use resources efficiently and what means to me,taphysics and mythology. It is understandable why even non-Marxist
employ in arder to reach a given goa1. However, it excludes discussions of the phlloso.p~ers who strive for a dialectical synthesis of scientific thinking and
goal itself or of its justification and rationality. 'The rational character of om ~ho c~ItIcally continue in c1assical tradition, trying to formulate a modem
activity is gauged merely by the appropriateness of the means employed: goals ?Iale.ctIca! rationalism, do not wish to share "this pessimism which leaves to
are not subject to any purely rational evaluation'? 8 lfratlOnallsm and suggestion not only the humanities but all that concerns
Since the efficient and the irrationa1 share a common origin~ they can our ~ctions, mor.al and poJitical problems that transcend the purely
coexist in harmony, as manifest in the rationalization of the irrational and tec1mlcal sphere, l.e. that touch on philosophy'. 3 2 Rational scien tism that
in the irrational consequences of rationalization. This concept of reason and ~xcl~des rational philosophy from science i8 necessarily complemented by
this reality of reason equate reason with technology: they take technology lIratlOnal tendencies such as Lebensphilosphie, existentialism neo-
as the perfect expression of reason and reason as the technique of behavior romanticism, Scientism and a11 manner of irrationalism are complen~enta:ry
and action. Splitting scholarship into the sciences and fue humanities, products.
separating the methods of erkliiren and verstehen, as wel1 as the recurrent Metaphysical reason petrifies the rational and the irratlona], grasps
naturalization and physicalization of social phenomena and the spiritual- t~em as once-and·for·all given and immutable, and in this sense divides the
ization of natural ones~ a11 manifest with great c1arity the cleaving of reality: hlsto~ically ~hlf:ing boundaries of man's cognition and the process of his
the reign of rationalist reason is this deft petrified. Human reality is divided formm~ reahty mto two ontological spheres: the existent of the raUonal and
*A very unclear phrase in the Czech original.-Tr the eXIstent of the irrational. On the contrary, the history of modem
60 CHAPTER II DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 61

dialectics has demonstrated that dialectical reasan abolishes these historical


METAPHYSICS OF COLTURE
boundaríes and lhal on behalf of man, on behalf of ratíonaJíly ín lhe broad
sense, it gradually conquers 'afeas' which metaphysical reasan had con- The Economic Factor
sidered an exclusive domain of irrationalism. Just as Hegel in his time found What is the economic factor and how did the beliefin economic factors
an ingenious answer to 1he historical alternative between rigid TaHonal origina te? In the course of metaphysical-analytical investigations, different
thought and irrational dynamisrn, an answer which arnounted to a aspects of the social whole are transformed into special autonomous
philosophical argument for dialectical reason, namely that '1here exists a categories, Individual moments of man's social activity -law, moraIs,
higher type of rationality than that of abstract rigid thought',33 SO too are polities, economics - are transformed in people's heads into autonomous
modern natural sciences and 1he materialist dialectical philosophy of the forces which determine human activity. After isolating these individual
twentieth century consciously or spontaneously arriving at an adequate aspects of the social whole and transforming them into abstractions, one
solution to the problem of the rational and the irrational in dialectical studies their interconnections, such as the dependen ce of law on the
reason, 'economic factor'. TIlis way of thinking turns products of man's social
Dialectical reasan is the universal and necessary process of cagnition and activity into autonomaus force s which gain supremacy over roan. Any
of forming reality. It leaves nothing outside itself, and therefore becomes synthesis of these metaphysical abstractions can therefore only be an
the reason both of science and thinking, and of human freedom and reality. external one, and any interconnection of the abstract factors a formal and
rhe unreason of reason, and thus the historicallimitation of reasan, is in its mechanistical1y causal one. The factor theory was perhaps appropriate when
denial of negativity, rhe reasanableness of reasan is in that it assumes and prerequisites for a science of society were only just being developed; but the
anticipa tes negativity as its own praduct, in that it grasps itself as a very SUCcesses of specialized social science research have resulted in
continuing historical negativity, and thus knows that its own activity is in substituting a superior scientific view - the synthetic investigation - for the
postulating and solving contradictions. Dialectical reason daes not exist factor theory.
outside realily nor does it leave reality outside itsel! 1t exists only through We have followed almost word for word the argument of Labriola and
realizing its reasonableness: that is, it forms itse(f as dialectical reason only Plekhanov who are credited with having studied the origin and the historical
insofar as it forms in the course of histary a reasanable reality. role of the factor theory, However profound was the distinction they made
The main features of dialectical reason can be summed up in the between the 'economic factor' and the economic structure (and we shall yet
fallowing paints: (1) The histarical character of reason as opposed to the return to this distinction), their analysis is deficient in one point, According
transhistoricity of rationalist reason. (2) In contrast to the analytical- to both thinkers, the 'economic factor' and the belief in social factors were
summative appraach of rationalist reason which proceeds from the the result of reflection, a concomitant feature of underdeveloped scientific
elementary to the complex and progresses from once-and-for-all determined thinking. 34 Such conclusions deal only with the impact or with the
starting points to the sum-total of human knowledge, dialectical reason consequences of factors but not with the problem of their origino Decisive
proceeds from phenomena to the essence, from parts to the whole, etc., and and primary 1S not the underdevelopment of scientific thinking or its
conceives of progress in knowledge as a dialectical process of totalization limited, one-sided analytical form, but rather the disintegration of social
which ineludes the reversibility of basie principIes. (3) Dialectieal reason is being, the atomization of the capitalist society. 'Factors' are primordially
the capacity for rational thinking and cognition as well as a process of products not of thlnking and of scientific investigation but of a definite
rationally forming realily, Le. lhe reaJízation of freedom. (4) DíalectícaJ historical form of development: in the course ofwhich artifacts ofpeople's
reasan is negativity which places every completed step in cognition and in social activity become autonomous, in this form turn into factors, and
realization of man's freedom into a context of evolutionary totality where it traverse into uncritical consciousness as autonomous forces independent of
transcends it, both in theory and in practice. It does not confuse the relative man and hís activity. We dísagree with Plekhanov's and Labriola's
with the absolute but grasps and realizes the dialectics of the relative and interpretation of the origin of economic and other factors, and suggest that
the absolute in an historical process, theirs is a one»sided approach srnacking of Enlightenment. However, we
62 CHAPTER II DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 63
completely accept their distinction between the economic factor and the life. The primacy of economics in the developrnent of society is supposed tn
economic structure. 'Does this mean that the economic factor and the be only empirical and not necessarily inevitable, and it 1S supposed to
economic structure are Ofie and the same? Df course not, and ji i5 quite disappear at that point in development at which the acquisition of material
curious that MI Kareyev and his partisans have not understood this,.35 goods becomes a secondary matter, thanks to the great advance in
The distinction between the economic structure Ca fundamental concept production forces. In other words, economics plays according to this
of Marxist materialism) and the economic factor (a much~used concept of opinion a decisive role in relatively backward societies where due to
vulgar sociological theories) offeIs the key to comprehending the central underdeveloped production forces peopie have to devote most of their
importance of political economy in the system of social sciences, and the energies to problems of producing and distributing material goods,
priority of economics in the life of society.36 The cardinal question, very Economics is grasped exlusively in a quantitative sense, as one particular
important for grasping Marxism and its various concepts, is the following: kind of human activity that is temporarily prevalent within the totality of
Could pre-Marxist politicaJ eeonomy have beeome the basis for a scientific, this activity. Emancipating people from the quantitative domination of
Le. for a materialist eoneeption ofhistory? To comprehend the significance economic activity thus signifies the emancipation of society from the
of economies both as the economic structure of society and as the science primacy of economics. But cutting down working hours, a prerequisite for
of the relations involved in it amounts to clarifying the very character of emancipating peopie from the primacy of the economic factor, in no way
eeonomics: economics is not a factor of social development, and the science .eliminates the fact that peop1e will be entering into certain social relations
of economics is consequentIy not a science of this factor. 111e critique of production even in a free society, and that even then, production will
which argues mal me malerialist theory of history holds only for me have a social character. The fetishism of economics and the reified character
capitalist epoch because this 1S when materialist interests prevail and when of labor will disappear and exhaustive physical labor will be done away
the economy becomes autonomous (while Catholicism prevailed in the with. All tms will allow peopIe to devote themselves more to non·pro·
Middle Ages and poHties in antiquity) demonstrates glaring lacunae in its ductive, i.e. non·economic activity. NevertheIess, the economic sfructure
grasp of Marx's theory. The prevalence of politics in antiquity, of wiIl continue fa maintain its primacy as the fundamental basis of social
Catholicism in the Middle Ages and of economics and material interests in relations. More precisely: People will be emancipated fmm the supremacy
modern times is explicable precisely on basis of the materialist theory, by 01 the economic factor only in one particular economic structure, i.e. a
elucidating the economic structure of each of these societies. Therefore communist one. We might point to the character of those c1asses which in
when bourgeois ideology admits that material interests and the so-called past societies had been free from the 1mmeruate struggle for material goods
economic aspect do play an important role in modern society, and and in trus sense had not been under the supremacy of the economic factor.
benevolently concedes that Marxism has 'correctly' and 'inspiringly' pointed The character of these classes, the content and significance of their activity
th1S out (even though being proverbially one'sided, it did not cover the complete with the fact that it had been an unproductive activity were a11
whole truth), it 1ets its very own presuppositions fall victim to its own consequences of the economic structure oftheir societies,
mystification. Its benevolence concerning Marxism is ridiculous. The In his criticism of the factor theory, Kurt Konrad demonstrated that it is
prevalent role of the economic factor 37 observed by various bourgeois the fruit and the residue of a fetishist intuiting of society which mirrors
thinkers before Marx (Harrington, Madison, Thierry, etc.) itself calis for a social relations as relations among things, The factor theory turns social
materialist interpretation, Le., it has to be interpreted on basis of the movement upside down. It considers isolated products of human objective
economic structure of capitalism and its peculiarities. The suspected or spiritual praxis to be 'agents' of social development, though in reality fue
autonomy of economics in the capitalist society, an autonomy that had only agent of social movement is man hirnself, in the process of producing
not existed in previous societies, is an autonomy of reified social relations, and reproducing bis sociallife.
and is therefore related only to one particular historical form of economics. Making the distinction between the economic structure, a categol)' of
A different opinion has it that in an overall view of history, Marxisrn Marxism, and the economic factor, a category of sociologism, is a
does not recognize the necessary prevalence of this or that sector of social prerequisite for scientífically substantiating and proving the primacy of
64 CHAPTER II DIALECTICS QF THE CONCRETE 65

economícs in the life of society. The factor theory avers that one privileged therefore abstract scale of the propertied and the propertyless, of the
factor - economics - determines a11 other factors: the 8tate, law, art, wealthy and the poor, of those disposing and not disposing with property,
politics, moraIs. In so doing it avoids the question ofhow the social whole, etc. In other words: The concept of economics 1S reduced in this conception to
Le. society as an economic formation, originates and 1S formed, lt takes its the old 'factor theory' with economics taken as wealth, property, force of
formation for granted, as a given faet, as an uninvolved external form Dr money, power of ownership, etc. 11lis theo¡y leads to the superficial
arena in which the ane privileged factor determines a11 the others. By polemical conclusion that an economically powerful individual need not be
contrast, materialist theory starts out from the opinion that the social whole a real agent of power.4 o The construed one·sidedness of 'economic
(the s()cio~economic formation) i3 formed and constituted by the economic determinism' is countered with a pluralist determinism of economics,
structure. The economic structure forms the unity and continuity 01 al! power, and social status. This is actually an opinion that regresses to the
spheres af social bie. 3 8 Materialist monism - as opposed to aH manner of atomistic factor theory. Economics, power and social status constitute for
pluralist theories - does not consider society to be a series or a cluster of Max Weber independent autonomous series that lead a transhistorical
factors, some of which appear as causes and others as effects. To face the existence. In reality however (a) economic position, (b) social status with
choice between mechanical causality, where one factor is the cause and the hierarchy of social prestige, honor, respect 1 etc. and (c) the division of
another the effect, and pluralist interaction, Le. mere continuity which política! power a11 enjoya relative autonomy only within and on the basis ol
excludes any causality and substitutes functionality, assignation, etc. fol' it, a particular socio-economic formation, in whose framework they funcHon,
is in itself a consequence of a particular view of reality. This view has first interpenetrate and interact. The opinion that social status and political
extracted certain isolated abstractions from social reality, promoted them to power are not 'in the 1ast analysis' dependent on economics and on the
ontological existents (factors), and then backtracked and introduced these economic structure of society, but rather constitute three independent,
metaphysical constructs into various contexts, interactions or causal autonomous series, influencing ane another, is an optical musion, a result
dependences. Naturally, the metaphysical point of departure necessarily of grasping economlcs simplistically as the one factor around which other
leaves its mark on a11 this activity?9 A metaphysical standpoint has been factors have to be arrayed in the interest of 'completeness'. It is true that
smuggled into the question itself. ownership of money (Geldbesitz) 1S not in and of itself a status
Materialist monism considers society to be a whole which is formed by qualification, just as poverty is not in and of itself a disquaHfication. But
the economic structure, i.e. by the sum of social relations that people in even though property or poverty represent economic status rather then class
production enter into with respect to means olproduction. It can provide a membership, the concrete impact of this for social status and for politics
basis for a complete theory of classes, as well as an objectíve criterion for will still depend on the socio-economic structure. Por example, the problem
distinguishing between structural changes that affect the character of the of quixotism can be interpreted as one of transferring values such as status
entire social order, and derivative, secondary changes that only modify the honor from the oId, vanishing order in which they had functioned normally
social order without fundamentally altering its character. Contemporary to a society whose structure and hierarchy of values are different. Old values
apologies of capitalism (e.g. the opinion that class differences have been function in it as extraordinary, and have an entirely opposite impact or
abolished in the most advanced imperialist countries) are based on theories significance. The change in the lunctioning o f certain values is not
which confuse the economic factor and the economic structure. We primordially a result of subjective evaluation but 01 an objective change in
therefore feel it as no coincidence that the extensive apologetic 1iterature social relations. Similarly with problems of power, of the power structure
concerning c1asses stems from Max Weber who considered the ability to and of changes in ii: they cannot be grasped on basis of the economic factor
dispose with property on the market to be decisive for class membership. (af wealth, pawer af property, etc,) but anly from the laws af this ar that
This is an approach which completely wipes out the difference between the social formation's economic structure. To sum up, one might say: The
ownership of means of production, and the one hand, and of goods, on the distribution 01 wealth ('economics'), the hierarchy and structure oi power
other. In the place of the fundamental class dichotomy - between the ('power'), and the gradation of social status ('prestige ') are all detennined
exploiters and the exploited -- Weber introduces an autonomous and by lawlike relations that in a given periad 01 development stem Iram the
66 CHAPTER 11 DlALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 67
economic structure af a social arder. Questions arise as to how 15 power means he has used to describe it, over the appropriateness, fidelity and
distributed in a given society, who lS the agent of power, how i8 it artistic precision with which he has reflected this or that aspect of reality,
executed ~ that is, questions conceming the nature of the hierarchy of taking it a11 the time tacitly for granted that the rnost obvious and most
power; further, as to what is the seale and gradation of social prestige, who familiar thing, the thing least in need of any questioning and investigation, is
receives the honors and how, who i5 the revered authority and the hero and none other than reality itself. Yet what is reality? How fruitful can
who the heretic and the 'devil', in other words, what is the character and arguments about realism and non-realism be if they c1arify secondary
seale of social status; and final1y, in what way i5 wea1th distributed, how matters while leaving the cardinal question in the dark? Does this discussion
does society break down into the propertied and the poor (or shall we say not require a 'Copernican turn' which would stand the whole up-side~down
the propertied and the less propertied) - that is, concerning the distribution set of problems back on firm ground, c1arify the cardinal question, and thus
af wealth. Weber and his sehaol consider all these problems to be furnish the prerequisite for solving a11 others as well?
autonomous anes, Yet they a11 derive froro the economic structure of social Every idea of realism Of non·realism is based on a conscious or
formations, and only on this basis can they be rationally explained. unconscious conception of reality. What is considered realisrn or non~realism
Emphasis on the unity of social reality formed by the economic structure in art always depends on what reality is and how it is conceived. A
might of course become a hindrance to scientiflc investigation if this unity materialist examination of the problem therefore begins by positing th1S
were mistaken for a metaphysical identity, and if the concrete totality of dependence as fundamental.
social reality were to degenerate into abstract wholeness. This explains how Poetry is not a reality of a lower order than is economics. It is an equally
contemporary sociology could have achieved certain positive results even human reality, though of a different type and different fonu, with a
though it has abandoned the monistic methodological point of departure different mission and significan ce. Economi¿s does not beget poetry,
and has switched to a detailed examination of particular arcas or moments directly or indirectly, mediately or immediately. Rather, man forms both
of social reality for which it has created entire independent scientific econornics and poetry as artifacts of human praxis. Materialist philosophy
disciplines (sociology of power, sociology of art, sociology of culture, cannot buttress poetry with economics. Nor can it garb economics as the
sociology of knowledge, s0c1010gy of religion, etc.). In turn, mere insistence one and only reality into assorted less real or ahnost imaginary disguises
on the correct - potentially correct, that is - point of departure will in and such as politics, philosophy Or arto Instead it has to ask the primary question
of itsel/, without realizing the truth of this starting point in its concrete a~out the origin of economics itself. He who takes economics as something
totality, lead only to boorish repetitiveness, and will stagnate in a gIven and further irreducible, as the ultimate original saurce of everything
metaphysical identity or in an empty totality. and the only real reality which canllat be questioned further, transforms
economics into a result, a thing, an autonomous historical factor, and
Art and Its Social Equivalent fetishises it in the process. Modern materialism is therefore a radical
PhilosophicaJ questioning radical1y differs from walking around in cireles. philosophy because it does not treat man's artifacts as the limit of analysis
But who is 10st in cirdes and who is posing philosophical questions? Circular but penetrates to the roots of social reality, i.e. to man as the objective
reasoning operates 'With tl1e naive unconscious idea that the confining circle subject, to rnan as the being that forms social reality, Only on the basis of
of questions is of its own making. The problems have been outlined, the the materialist determination of man as the objective subject, Le. as a being
questiol1s proposed, and reasoning now concentra tes on refining its own that uses natural materials to form a new, socio-human reality, in
concepts. However, who was it who outlined and selected the problems? accordance with laws of nature and based on nature as an indispensible
Who drew the circ1e that constricts reasoning? condition, can we interpret economics as the basic structure of man's
Arguments about realism and non~realism lead to recasting definitions objectification, as the master plan, the matrix of social relations, as the
more precisely, to reforming concepts, to substituting words for other elementary level of human objectivation and the economic base determining
words, but a11 this bust1e is based on an unexpressed and unexamined the superstructure. The primacy of economics is not the result of sorné of
presupposition. People argue over the artist's attitude to reality, over the man's creations being more real than others but rather of the central
68 CHAPTER Il DIALECTlCS OF TIlE CONCRETE 69
importance of praxis and work in the process 01 forming human reality. ideologists, wreaking havoc as the economic factor, Jhe prímordial cause of
Renaissance conte:mplations of roan (and Renaissance discovered roan and his social reality. The history of social theories records dozens of names, and we
world for the modern era) began with work, conceived in the broad sense of could add others, of people for whom economics had acquired this
creating¡ Le. as somethlng that distinguishes roan from beast and pertains mysterious autonomy. These are the ideologists of the 'economic factor'.
exclusively to roan: God daes not work, though he creates, but roan both We wish to emphasize that Marxist philosophy has nothing in common with
creates and works. In Renaissance, creating and working were still united, fuis ideology.
The new-born human world was as fresh and translucent as Botticelli's Venus Marxism is no mechanical rnaterialism that would reduce social con~
stepping out of a seashell in springtime. Creating is something exalted and sciousness, philosophy and art to 'economic conditions' and whose
elevating. There is a direct connection between work as creating and the anaIytical activity would entail revealing the earthly kernel of spiritual
elevating creations of work: creations point at their creatar - roan - who artifacts. Materíalist dialectics on the eontrary demonstrates how a concrete
stands abave them, and testífy not only to what he has become and has historical subject uses his material-economíe base to forro corresponding
achieved but to all that he can yet be, They annunciate his actual creativity ideas and an enUre set of forms of consciousness. Consciousness is not
but even more so his infinite potentialities. 'AH that surrounds us is our own reduced to conditions; rather, attention is focused on the process in whicha
work, the work of men: all the houses, palaces, cities, marvellous buildings, concrete subject produces and reproduces a social reality, while being
all over fue country. They resemble the work of angels and yet are the work historically produced and reproduced in it fiimsel[ as well.
of men ". Seeing such marvels we understand that we can create even The uncritical assignment of rigid and unanalysed intellectual phenomena
better, more beautiful, more refined, more perfect things than hitherto to equally rigid and uncritica11y conceived 'social conditions', an approach
.41 so frequently attributed to Marxists and presented as a11 but the principIe of
Capitalism cuts this direct link, separates work from creating, creations their method, is in fact characteristic of a number of idealist authors, lt
from their creators, and transforms work into uncreative, exhausting serves them as a scientific interpretation of reality. Wi1dest idealism mus
drudgery. Creating is art whereas industrial labor is rote, something routine, ends up hand in hand with the most vulgar materialism,42 One of the most
repetitive, and thus unworthy and self·devaluing. Man, ín Renaissance the widespiead instances of this symbiosis concems the problem of romanti-
creator and subject, sinks to the level of a creation and an object, to the cism. One section of the literature explains romantic poetry and philosophy
level of tables, machines, hammers. Having lost control over the material on basis of the economic weakness of Germany, the impotence of the
world he had created, man loses reality itself as wel1. The real reality is now German bourgeoisie at the time of the French Revolution, or by the
fue objective world of things and of reified human relationships. In fragmentation of Germany and the baekwardness of its conditions at the
comparison with lí, man appears as the SOlirce of mistakes, subjectivity, time. lt seeks the truth about fIXed rigid artifacts of the mind, which in this
imprecision and arbitrariness - in a word, as an imperfect reality. By the sense remain uncornprehended and external, in the eonditions of a certain
19th century, the supreme reality no longer reigned in the heavens as the periodo Marxism however - and this is its revolutionary contribution - was
transcendental God, the mystified idea of man and nature, but had the first to propose that the truth of social consciousness is in social being.
descended down to Earth as transcendental 'economics', the material Conditions, however, are not being. Substituting 'conditions' for 'being'
fetisrused product of mano Economics turned into the economic factor. results in a number of other misconceptions: the idea that romanticism is
What i8 reality and how lS it formed? Reality is 'economics', and anything merely a surn of props attributable to a particular historical instance of
else i8 a sublimation or a disguise of 'economics'. What then is econorrllcs? romanticism - such as the Middle Ages, an idealised, people. phantasy.
'Economics' is the economic factor, Le. that component of the fetishised romanticised Nature, Desire, etc. - although in faet, romanticism con-
social being which has achieved autonomy and indeed supremacy over the tinuously comes up with new pIaps and díscards old ones; the idea that
powerles8 disintegrated man, atomised in the capitalist 8ociety. In this romanticism differs from non-romanticisrn in that the one c1ings to the past
fetishised forro or deformation it entered the consciousness of 19th century and the other turns toward the future, a1though precisely romantic trends of
70 CHAPTER Il DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 71

the twentieth century have in faet proven that fue future, too, is an Man has formed hlmself on basis ofwork, in work and through work, not
important category of romanticism; the idea that romanticism and non- only as a thlnking being, qualitatively different from a11 other higher
romanticism differ in that the ane yeams for the Middle Ages while the other anirnals, but also as the only being in ilie universe we know of eapable of
i8 attracted to antiquity, although in faet antiquity - and anything else, fOI forming reality. Man is a component of nature and is himself nature. At the
that matter - can also be the subject of romantic longing, sarue time, though, he is a being which, having mastered both 'exteTnal' and
This concept thu8 presents on the ene hand conditions that form the his own natures, forms a new reali ty in nature, one that is irreducible to the
cantent of consciousness, and on the other hand a passive consciousness, latter. The world that ruan constructs as a socio·human reality steros from
molded by these conditions. While the consciousness 18 passive and conditions independent of man, and is unthinkable without them. Yet it
impatent, conditions are determining and omnipotent. What are these represents a different quality, irreducíble to these conditions. Man stems
'conditions', though? Ornnipotence is not a necessary quality of 'con- from nature and is a part of it even as he transcends it. He relates freely to
ditions', just as passivity i8 not an eternal quality of consciousness. rhe his creations, steps away froro thero, questions their meaning and questions
antinomy between 'conditions' and consciousness is one of the different his own place in the universe. He is not c10sed within himself and hls world.
transitory bistorical forms of the subject-object dialectics which in turo is Beeause he forms a human world, an objective social reality, and thus is able
the basic factor of fue dialectics of sodety. to transcend its situation, conditions and assumptions, man grasps and
Man does not exist without 'conditions' and is a social being on1y interprets the extra-human world as well, the universe and nature. Man can
through 'conditions', The contradictio.n between roan ~nd 'con~itio~~> th,e penetrate the rnysteries of nature only because he forms a human reality.
antinomy between an impotent conSClOusness and orompotent condlt1onS, Modern technology, experimental laboratories, cyclotrons and missiles all
is an antagonism within 'conditions' themselves and a split within roan disprove the suggestion that cognition of nature is based on mere
himself. Social being is not equivalent to conditions, circumstances, or to eontemplation.
the economic factor, a11 of which, taken in isolation, are defonnations of Human praxis thus appears in yet another light: as the arena for the
that being. In certain phases of social development, man's being 1S cleft metarnorphosis of the objective into the subjective and of the subjective
because the objective aspect of his being, without which he ceases to be man into the objective. It is the 'active center' in which human intentions are
and turns into an idealistic vision, is separated from human subjectivity, realized and laws of nature discovered. Human praxis unites causality and
activity, from bis potentialities and possibilities. In this historical split, the purposiveness. And if we take human praxis as a fundamental social reality,
objective side of man is transformed into alienated objectivity, a dead, it becomes obvious that based on praxis, human consciousness fulfills two
inhuman objectivity (into 'conditions' or the econoroic factor), and human indivisible basic functions: of registering and of projecting, of fact~finding
subjectivity is transformed into a subjective existence, squalor, need, and of planning. lt is at once a reflection and a project
emptiness, mere abstraet possibility, a yen. The dialectical character of praxis imprints an indelible stamp on all
Man's social character is evident not on1y through his being nothing human creations, including art. A medieval cathedral is an expression or an
'Nithout an object, but particularly in that he manifests his reality in objective image of the feudal world but at the same time i5 a constructive eIernent of
activity. In producing and reprodudng sociallife, Le. in forming himself as a i1. The cathedral not oruy artistically reproduces medieval reality, it a1so
socio-historical being, man prodl.lces the following: produces it artistically. Every work o[ art has an indivisible two:fold
(1) material goods, the material,sensory world based on work, character: it expresses reality but also forms it. It forms 'a reality that exists
(2) social relations and institutions, the sum of social conditions, and, neither beyond nor before the work itself but strictly in the work only,
(3) based on these, he produces ideas, emotions, human qualities and The patridans of Amsterdam are reported to have angrny rejected
corresponding human senses. . Rembrandt's 'Night Watch' (1642) in which they did not recognize
Without a subject, these social products of roan would be senseless, while themselves and which impressed thern as distorting reality. Is reality
without material means and objective creations, the subject would be a mere truthfully known only when one recognizes oneself in it? This suggestion
speeter. The essence 01 man is the unity o[ objectivity and subjectiJ1ity. would assurne that man knows hirnself, knows what he looks like and who
72 CHAPTER Il DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 73

he is, that he knows reaUty and can tell what reaUty is, independently of art partial areas of the socio-human reality and establishes truths about them
and philosophy. But from where does man know al! this, and from where through specialized sciences. He has furthermore two different 'means' that
comes the certainty that what he knows is indeed reaUty itself and not lead hirn to cognition of human reality as a whole and to disclosing fue
merely his idea of it? The patricians defended their idea of reality against truth of reality in its own reality: philosophy and arto This is what the
the reality of Rembrandt's work .nd fuus equated fueir prejudices with spedal position and fue spedal mission of art and philosophy are based on.
reality. They believed reality was contained in their ideas and thus that Because of their vital and indispensable function, art and philosophy are
their ideas were reality. It followed logically that an artistic expressíon of insubstitutable-an'd irreplaceable. They are, Rousseau would say, inalienable.
reaUty should translate their ideas into the language of sensor)' artistic Reality disc10ses itself to roan in great arto Art in the proper sense of the
painting. Reality was known and the artist should only depict and mustrate word is at once demystifying and revolutionary because it ushers roan away
ii. But a work of art does not depict ideas of reaUty. As work and as art, it from his ideas and prejudices about reality, and into reality itself and its
both depicts reality and forms it, sirnultaneously and insep.rably: the trufu. True art and true philosophy'3 revea! tlle truth of history: they
reality of beauty and arto confrant mankind vvith its own reality.44
Tradiriona! interpretations of the history of poetry, philosophy, Which is the reality that manifests itself to man in art? Is it a reality
painting, music, etc., recognize that all great artistic and intellectual which he already knows and now wants to appropriate in a different
currents emerged in a struggle with ingrained ideas. But why is this so? We manner, Le. through sensory intuition? Suppose Shakespeare's plays were
hear references to the weight of prejudice and tradition. 'Laws' have been indeed 'nothing but,4 5 an artistic rendering of class struggle in the era of
invented according to which artifacts of the mind evolve in an historical primitive accumulation, and that a Renaissance palace was indeed 'nothing
alternation of two 'etemal' types (classicism and romanticism) or swing as a but' an expression of the emerging class power of the capitalist bourgeoisie.
pendulum froro one extreme to another. These 'interpretations' interpret The question that would then arise is, why do these social phenomena
nothing. They only obfusc.te the problem. which exist in and of themselves independently of art have to manifest
Assumptions of contemporary science are based on the Galilean themselves in art once agaín? And in a form whichno less disguises their real
revolution. Nature is an open book and roan can read in it, providíng of character, and tlius in a way both conceals and reveals fueir true essence?
course that he has mastered the language in which it is written. Sin ce the This c-onception assumes that the truth expressed in art is attainable also by
language of nature is the 'lingua mathematica', rnan cannot interpret nature a different path; the sale difference being that while art presents this truth
scientifical1y and control it practical1y unless he has mastered the language 'artfully', in graphic sensory images, in sorne other form this truth would be
of geometrical fIgures and mathematical symbols. A scientifIc understanding less impressive.
of nature is denied to him who has not mastered mathematics. For him, rhe Greek temple, the medieval cathedral and fue Renaissance palace all
natUre (that 1S, nature in one of its aspects) ls mute. express reality but they also simultaneously form it. Of course, they form
What is the language in which the book of fue human world and of more than the an tique , medieval or Renaissance reality, more than the
socio·human reality is written? How does this reality disclose itself, and to architectonic elements of these societies. As perfect works of art, the reality
whom? If the socio-human reality knew its own reality, and ifnaive everyday they form is one that transcends the historicity of their respective worlds.
consciousness knew it, philosophy and art would tum into an inessential This transcendence lays bare the specificity of theír reality. The reality of a
luxury, recognized or rejected according to momentary need. Philosophy Greek temple is different from that of an antique coin. The latter lost its
and art would rnerely be repeating in a conceptuallanguage ofideas or in a reality with the demise of the antique world. It is invalid and does not
metaphorical one of emotians something that would have been known even function as a means for paymen t or for hoarding. With the demise of the
without fuem and fu.at for man would exist independently of them. historical world, functional elements lose their reality too: the antique
Man seeks to grasp reality but frequently merely 'gets hold of its surface temple loses its immediate social function as a place for worship and for
or false image. How then does reality disc10se itself in its own reality? How religious ceremonies, the Renaissance palace is no longer the visible sym bol
does the truth of human reality reveal itself to man? Man learns about of power and the actual seat of the Renaissance prince. But even with fue
74 CHAPTER Il DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 75
demise of the historical world and with the passing of their social functions, attempt to causally conjoin this uninspired rigidity with 'the spirit', with
the antique temple and the Renaissance palace stm do not lose their artistic philosophy and poetry. The result is vulgarization. Sociologism reduces
value. Why 1S this? Do they express a world which survives despite having social reality to conditions, circumstances and historical determinants
disappeared in its own historicity? How does it survive and in what? As a which, when deformed in this way, assume the form of natural trungs. The
sum of conditions? As material worked ayer by people who impressed their relations between 'conditions' and 'historical circumstances' conceived in
own character into it? A Renaissance palace points to an en tire Renaissance this way, and philosophy and art, can in principie be none other than
world: extrapolating from a palace, Oile can decipher the contemporary mechanistic and external. Enligh tened sociologism endeavors to eliminate
man's attitude to nature, the degree of realization of human freedom, the this mechanicism by introducing a complicated hierarchy of real or artificial
organizaban of space, the expression of time and the conception of nature. 'mediating links' (and 'economics' is then connectcd with art only
However, a work of art expresses an e11tire world only insofar as itforms iL 'indirect1y'), bUl lhis amounls lo lhe 10i1 of Sisyphus. For maleriaJisl
It fonns a world insofar as it discloses the truth of reality, ¡nsufar as reality philosophy which has introduced the revolutionary question: How is social
speaks out through the work of arto In a work of art, reality addresses mano reality formed?, this reality exists 1101 only in the form of 'objects',
We started with the opinion that 10 examine both art's relationship to conditions and circumstances, but aboye a11 as the objective activity of man
reality and the derived concepts af realism and non-realism, ane has to who hirnself forms conditions as objectified components of human reality.
answer the question: What is reality? On the othe1' hand, the very analysis of According to sociologism which, characteristically, substitutes conditions
works of art has also led to the main question, the main subject of our for social being, the human subjed reacts to conditions as they change. He
consideration: What is socio-human 1'eality and how is it formed? is an immutable set of emotional and intellectual abilities which capture,
If the relation of social reality to a work of art were considered study and depict these conditions in arts and sdences. As conditions change
exclusively in tem1S of the conditions and historical circurostances which and unfold, the human subject goes along and takes snapshots of them. He
determined the work's genesis, then the work itself and its artistic character becomes a recorder of conditions. Sociologism tacitIy assumes that while
would acquire an extra~sodal character. If that which is social were economic formations alternate throughout history, while thrones fall and
predominantly or exclusively fixed in the form of reified obiectivitv. then revolutions prevail, man's ability to 'perceive' the world has remained
subjectivity would be grasped as something extra-social, as ; fact ~hich i5 unchanged since antiquity.
not formed and constituted by social reality, though it is conditioned by it. Man perceives and appropriates reality 'with a11 rus senses', as Marx has
If the relation of social reality to a work of art were conceived as conditions stressed, but fue very senses which reproduce man's reality are themselves a
of the times, as the historicity of circumstances, or as the social equivalent, socio~historical product, too,47 Man has to develop a particular sense if
the monism of materialist philosophy would collapse. Its place would be objects, events and values are to have sense for him. F or the man who lacks
taken by a dualism of conditions and people: conditions would outline such a sense, people, things and creations also lack sense and are senseless.
tasks, people would react to them. In modern capitalist society, the Man exposes the sense of things by forming a human sense for things. A
subjective moment of social reality has been severed from the objective one, person with devcloped senses has consequent1y a sense for evcrytrung
and the tW? aspccts confront each other as independent substances: as pure human, while a person with underdeveloped senses is closed to the world
objectivity on the one side and reified objectivity on the other. Hence a and 'perceives' it not universally and totally, sensitively and intensively, but
double mystification: the automatism of conditions, and the one~sidedly and superficially, from the viewpoint ofhis own 'world', which
psychologizaüon and passivity of the subject. But social rcality is infinitely is a one-sided fetishised segment ofreality.
more variegated and concrete than conditions and circumstances, precisely We do not criticise sociologism for having concentrated on conditions
because it includes human objective praxis which forms these conditions and circumstances, in order to interpret culture, but for not having grasped
and circumstances. Circumstances are the fixed aspect of social reality. The the significance of conditions by themselves, or in their relation to culture.
moment they are severed from human praxis, froro man's objective activity, Conditions outside history, conditions without a subject are not .only a
they become something rigid and uninspired. 4 6 'Theory' and 'method' petrified and mystified artifact but also lack a11 objective sense. 'Conditions'
76 CHAPTER 1I DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 77

in this forro lack what is rnost important even from the methodological entirely drops out o[ the materialist conception of hist01y. Plekhanovist
perspective - namely a proper objective meaning. Instead, they acquire a analyses of art faH because they are based on a concept of reality which
fa1se sense that depends on the opinions, reflection and education of the lacks the constitutive elements of objective human praxis. 1t lacks the
scholar. 48 Social reality ceases to be for research what it is objectively, i.e. a 'human sensory activity' which cannot be reduced to 'psyché' or to the
concrete totality, and disintegrates into two independent heterogenous 'spirit of the times'.
wholes which 'method' and 'theory' then strive to uníte. The break,up of
the concrete totality of social reality leads to petrifying conditions an ane Historism and historicism
pole, and the spirit, psyché and the subject on the other poleo Conditions Marx's famous fragment on antique art shares the fate of many a brilliant
are then either passive and are set in motion and given scnsc by the spirit, thought: the sediment of commentaries and the self-evidence of daily
psyché, Dr by the active subject in the farm of an 'élan vital', or cIsc they references to it have obscured its true sense. 5 2 Was Marx investigating the
are active and become the subject thernselves. Psyché or consciousness then rneaning and the tirneless character of antique art? Was he intending to solve
has no other function than to examine, in an exact or in a rnystified way, problems of art and beauty? 15 the pa5sage in question an isolated expression
the scientific laws of these conditions. or is it bound with other opinions of the author? What is its proper sense?
It has been trequently observed that Plekhanov's method faíls in the Why do those commentators faH who consider exclusively its literal
study of problems of art. 49 Its failure is rnanifest both in its non-critical immediacy and take it for an invitation to resolve the question of Greek
acceptance of ready-rnade ideological constructs for which it then seeks an art's ideal character? And why do also those interpreters faH who consider
econornic or a social equivalent and in fue conservative rigidity with which Marx's immediate answer as satisfactory, without pausing to wonder why
it fences off its own path to comprehending modern art, considering the manuscript abruptly ends in the middle of developing an idea which is
impressionism to be the last word of 'modernism'. It seems, however, that left incomplete? ..
the theoretical and philosophical origins of tbis failure have not been ln this fragment which otberwise deals with tbe method of palIllcal
sufficientIy examined. Plekhanov never ove reame the dualism of conditions economy, the methodology of social sciences and with problems of the
versus psyché because he never fully comprehended Marx's concept of materialist concept of history, considerations of art are of secondary
praxis. Plekhanov quotes Marx's Theses on Feuerbach and notes that to a importan ce. Marx 1S not specifical1y investigating the Greek epos, but uses it
certain degree they contain the program of modern materialismo If as an example fer solving other, more general problems. He focuses
Marxism does not want to concede that in some spheres idealism is attention not on explaining the ideal character of antique art but on
stronger, it has to be able according to Plekhanov to present a materialist formulating problems of genesis and validity: the socio~historical constraints
explication of al! aspects of human Hfe. 5 o After this introduction, of art and ofideas are not identical with their va/idity. The main issue is not
Plekhanov presents his own interpretation of Marx's concepts of 'human problems of art but the formulation of one of the cardinal questions of
sensory activity', praxis, and subjectivity: 'The subjective aspect of human materialist dialectic: the relationship between genesis and validity l con-
life is precisely the psychological one:', "human spirit", emotions and ideas ditions and reality, history and human reality, the temporal and the eterna1,
of peopIe'SI Plekhanov thus distinguishes between psychology, psychic between relative and absolute truth. To solve a problem, one must first
states, or the state of the spirit and maraIs, emations and ideas, on the one formulate it. Outlining a problem is of course somcthlng other than limiting
hand, and economic conditions on fue other hand. Emotions, ideas, the it. To outline, to formulate a problem means to trace and determine its
state of the spirit and morals are 'materialistically c1arified' when c1arified interna! relations with other problems. The maio problem concerns not the
on the basis of economic history. It is perfectly clear that Plekhanov parts ideal character of antique art but is more general: How and why does a
ways with Marx in the cardinal point at which Marxist materialism has work of art outlive the conditions in which it had originated? In what and
succeeded in transcending both the weaknesses of all previous kinds of why do Heraclitus' thoughts survive the society in which they were
materialism, and the strong points of idealism: that is, in its grasp of the developed? Where and why does Hegel's philasophy outlive the elass
subject. Objective praxis, Marx's most important discovery, consequently whose ideology it had then formed? The actual question 1S a general one.
78 CHAPTER II D1ALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 79

Only in the light of this general formulatian can a specific question be moment of social reality, and if one admits determinisrn as the only 'link'
grasped and solved. And on the contrary, the general problem of absolute between the w ork and social reality, then the work which is a relatively
and relative truth, of genesis and validity, can be exemplified Oil basis of the autonomous structure of rneanings changes into a structure that is absolutely
fully comprehended specific problern of antique art. 53 The problems of a autonomous: concrete totality turns, again, into fa1se totality. Two
work of art are to lead liS to the problems of the eternal and fue temporal, different meanings are hidden in the thesis of social determinism of the
of the absolute and the relative, of history and reality. A work of art - and work, First, social determinism meaos that social reality is related to the
in a sense works in general, inc1uding those of philosophy and science - is a work as a deistic God~Mover would be; it gives the first impulse, but once
complex structure, a structured whole which conjoins diverse elernents in a the work is created, it changes into a spectator who observes the
dialectical unity: ideas, themes, composition, language,5 4 The relationship autonomous development of his creation without influencing its fate any
of a work lo social reality cannot be adequately dealt with by declaring that further. Second, social determinism means that the work is sornething
a work is a structure of meanings which is open toward social reality and is secondary, derivative, mirrored, whose truth lS not contained in the work
determined by it both as a whole and in its individual constructive elements. itselfbut is outside i1. If the truth of the work of art is not in the work itself
Conceiving of the relation of the work to social reality as one of the but in conditions, it wi11 be necessary to know a11 about these conditions. in
determinants to what is determined would reduce social reality merel.y to arder to comprehend the work. Conditions are supposed to be the reahty
social conditions, Le. to 'something' that is related to the work only as an the work reflects. But in and of themselves, conditions are not realit.y; they
external prerequisite and as an externa1 determinant. 5 5 TIle work of art is are reality only insofar as they are fue realization, fixing, and development
an integral component of social reality, a constructive elemen'l of this reality of the objective praxis of man and his hist.ory, and insofar as they are
and a manifes'lation of man's social-intellectual production, In arder to grasped as such. The trulh of a work (and for us, a work is always a 'real'
comprehend the character of a work of art it will not suffice to have a work of art or of philosophy, as opposed to 'writings') is not in the situation
'sociology of culture' deal with its social character and with its relationship of the times, in social determinism or in the historicity of conditions, but in
to society, to examine its socio-historical genesis, impact and reception, or socio-historical reality as the unity of genesis and replicahility, and in the
to have historical research investigate its biograplücal and socio-biographical development and realizatioo of the subject~object relationship as a
aspects. specifically human existence. The historism 01 social reality is not the
A work of art is indubitably socially determined, Uncritical thinkíng, historicity oi' conditions.
however, reduces this relationship to the only connections between social Only now have we arrived at the point from which we can return to ~e
reality and art, and thus distorts the character of both. The thesis about original question: How and why does a work outlast the conditions in WhlCh
social determinism tacitly assumes that social reality remains outside the it had originated? If the truth of a work 1S in the conditions, it survives only
work. The work thus effectively turns into something extra-social, it does insefar as it ls a testimony to these conditions. A work testifies to its times
not constitute social reality, and thus has no internal relation to social in t.wo senses. First, by simply looking at a work we recognize which era it
reality. An analysis of the work could deal with the social determinism of belongs to, which society engraved its mark on i1. Second, we look at the
the work separately, in a general introduction or an appendix, it could be wark seeking t11e testimony it offers about its time and c~nditions, ,We .take
placed befare the brackets, as it were, but it would not enter the actual it as a document. In arder to examine the work as a teshmony to ltS tlmes
structure of the scientific analysis; indeed, it would not even belong there, or as a mirror of its conditions, we first have to know these conditions, Only
In this relationship of mutual externality, both social reality and fue work after comparing the conditions with the work itself can we decide whether
itself degenerate: if the work, a certain structure of meanings, does not the work rnirrors its era in a straight or a crooked way, whether it testifies
enter the analysis and investigabon of social reality, then social reality tums to its times tiuly or no1. But every cultural creation fulfils the funcHon of a
into a mere abstract framework or into general social detenninism: concrete testimony or document, A cultural creaHon that mankind looks upon
totality turns ilito a false totality. If one does not investigate the work as a exclusively as a testimony is not a work. It is a specific quality of works that
structure of meanings whose concreteness is grounded in its existence as a they are not primarily or exclusively a testimony to their times. They do of
80 CHAPTER II DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 8J

course testify to the time and conditions of their genesis as well; but apart tradition, as sociologism would have it 56 but through tot.alization, Le.
¡rom this they are (or are in the process of becoming) constitutive elements reviving. The work's life is not the result of its autonomous existence but of
of the existence of mankind, of classes and nations. Characteristic of works the mutual interaction oi the work and mankind. The work has alife
i5 not historicity, that is, 'bad uniqueness' and irreplicability, but historism, because
Le. the capacity for concretization and survivaL (1) fue work itselfis infused with reality and truth, and because of
By outlasting the conditions and fue situation of its genesis, a work (2) the 'life' of mankind, Le. of a producing and perceiving subject.
proves its vitality. lt hves as long as Hs influence lasis. The influence of a Every component of socio-human reality has to demonstrate this subjec-
work in eludes an event that affeets both the consumer of the work and the tive-objective structure in one farm or another.
work itself. What happens to the work 15 an expression of what the work is. The life of a work of art can be conceived as a manner of existence of a
That something happens to the work does not mean that it IS abandoned to partial structure of meanings, integrated in sorne way in the total structure
the play of the elements. On the contrary, it means the internal ofmeanings - in socio-human reality.
power of fue work is realized over time. In the COUrse of this concretization A work that has outlasted the time and conditions of its genesis is
the work acquires different meanings, We cannot a1ways say in good frequently credited with the quality of timelessness. 1s temporality perhaps
conscience that every one of fuem had been intended by the author. While sornething that gives in to time and becomes its prey? And conversely, does
creating, the author cannot foresee a11 variants of meanings and all the timelessness overpower and subjugate time? Tirnelessness of a work would
interpretations that will be imputed to his work. In th1S sense the work is lite rally mean its existence without time. The idea of a work's timelessness
independent of the author's intentions. On the other hand, though, this cannot, however, rationally cope w ith two basic problems: (1) How can a
independence and autonomy are fictitious: the work is a work and líves as a work, 'timeless' in character, originate in time? (2) How can one proceed
work because it calls for interpretations and because it has an influence of from the timeless character of a work to its temporal existen ce, Le. to it.s
many meanings. What are the grounds for the possibility of concretizing concretization? Conversely, the key question for eveIY anti-Platonic concept
the work, for it acquiring various historical forms during its 'lifetime'? 1S this: How can a work generated in time acquire a 'timeless' eharacter?
Clearly there has to be something in the work that makes this effect What does it mean to say that a work withstands time or that it survives
possible. There exists a certain span within which concretizations of the bad times? ls it resistant to decay and destruction? Or perhaps ,does the
work are conceived as concretizations of this particular work. Beyond the work cease to exist altogether as it resists time, and place s time outside
limits of this span, one talks about distortions, lack of comprehension and itself, as something external? Is eternity the exclusion of time and is
about subjective interpretations of the work. Where is the borderline timelessness the arresting of time? The question, 'What does time do to a
between an authentic and an inauthentic concretization of a work? 1s it work?' can be answered by another question: What do es a work do with
contained in the work itself or is it outside the work? How does a work that time? We arrive at the eonc1usion, paradoxical at first, that the timelessness
Uves only in and through individual concretizations outlive every particular of a work is in its temporality. To exist means to be in time. Being in time 1S
one of them? How does it manage to slough them off one after another, not movement in an external continuum, but temporality, Le. the realizing
demonstrating its independence on them? The life of a work points beyond of a work in time. The timelessness of a work is in its temporality as
the work itself~ at something that transcends it. activity. The timelessness of a work does not mean its permanence outside
The work's life is incomprehensible from the work itself. lf the work's time or without time. Timeless permanence would amount to a Hupor, to
influence were its property as radiation is a property of radiurn, then the 10ss of 'life', of the ability of the work to set itself in time. The greatness of
work would Hve, Le. exercise an influence, even when 'unperceived' by a a work cannot be gauged by its reception when it first appears. Great works
human subject. The influence of a work of art is not a physical property of have been rejected by their contemporaries, others have be en recognized as
objects, books, paintings or sculptures, i.e. of natural or artificial objects. It seminal immediately, yet others '1aid on the shelf for dozens of years before
is a specific mode of existence of the work as of a socio-human reality. The 'their time' carne. Whatever happens to a work is a form of what the work
work Uves not in the inertness of its institutional character or thanks to is. The rhythm of its 'temporality' depends on its nature: whether its
82 CHAPTER II DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 83

rnessage holds for every time and eyery generation, whether it has something the form af a general prerequisite and as a speczfic historical resulto
to affer only at certain times, or whether it must first 'hibernate' in arder to History is a history only because it inc1udes both fue historicity of
be revived later. This rhythm of reviving and of temporality 15 a constitutive conditions and the historism of reality, because it contains ephemeral
e1ement uf the work. historicity which recedes into the past and does not return, as well as
It is a curious coincidence that adherents ofhistorical relativism converge historism, Le. the formative of that which endures, the self-formative and the
with their opponents, with advocates of natural rights, at a central paint: creative. Man is a1ways an historical being which never exits from the sphere
both schools eliminate history. The basic thesis of historicism, that ruan of history. He thus stands, as a real possibility, above every act or
cannat transcend history, as well as the polemical assertion of rationalism, circumstance in history and can set standards for evaluating it,
that man has to transcend history and arrive at something metaphysical, What is universal1y human, 'ahistorical' or common to aH phases in
something that would guarantee the truth of knowledge and morahty, both history, does not exist independently, in the form of an immutable, eternal,
share the assumption that history i5 variability, unique irreplicability and transhistolical substance. It exists at once as the universal condition of every
individuality, For historicism, history breaks up into the transience and historical phase and as its specific product, The universally human is
temporality of conditions concatenated by no historical eontinuity of their reproduced in every epoch as a particular outcome, as someth mg ' speCljic.'57
own but oo.ly by a transhistorical typology, the explicative principie of Historicism, in terms of historical relativism, is itself a product of a reality
human spirit, by a regulating idea that introduces arder into a chaos of split between a transient, emptied, devalued facticit'j, and a transcendental
particulars, The formula that man cannot step outside of history indicates existence of values outside reali ty. At the same time, though, historicism
the impossibility of achieving objective truth, This, however, is an ideologically fixes this spht. Reahty break, down into the relativised world
ambiguous formula, sinee history ls more than historicity, temporality, ofhistorÍGal facticity and the absolute world of transhistorical values,
transience and irreplicability which exclude the absolute and the trans· Yet what is that transhistorical value that either never becomes a part of
historical, as historicism would have i1. Equally biased is the opinion that conditions or eIse outlasts them? The belief in transcendental values of a
history as a happening is something insubstantial because in aH of its transhistorical character suggests that the real world has been emptied and
metamofphoses, and thus behind histar'j, th.ere endures something trans~ de~valued, that concrete values have disappeared from it. This world has
historical, absolute, something that the course of history cannot affect. become valueless, while values have oceupied an abstract world of
History is external variability performed on an unvarying substance. The transcendence and moral obligation.
absolute that existed before and exists aboye history ls also pre-human, for The absolute, however, is not divorced from the relative. lt is rather
it exists independently of man's praxis and being. If the absolute, the 'composed' of the relative or, more precisely, is formed in the relative. lf
universal and the external, is unvarying and if its permanence is independent everything is subject to ehange and extinction, and if a11 that exists exists
of variability, then histary is a history only in appearances. only in a certain time and a certain space, transience being its only quality,
Unlike the relativism of historicism and unlike the ahistorism of the then the speculative theological question concerning the senSe of the
concept of natural rights, dialecties considers nothing to be absolute and temporal and transient must remain an eternal and eternally unanswered
universal: be it prior to history and independently of it, 01' at the end of question, The question concerning the reIabon of the relative and the
history as its absolute and final designo Rather, the absolute and the absolute in history is dialectically formulated thus: How do historical
universal are farmed in the caurse of history. Ahistorical thinking knows fue degrees of mankind's evolution turn into transhistorical elements of the
absolute only as non-historical, and thus as eternal, in the metaphysical structure of mankind, Le., of human nature?53 How do genesis and
sense. Historicism cuTIs the absolute and the universal out of history evolution interconnect with structure and human nature? Classes, indivi-
altogether. In distinction from both, dialectics considers history to be a duals, epochs and mankind itself have struggled to become conscious of their
unity of the absolute in the relative and of the relative in the absolute, a own practical-historical problems, in different formations of human
process in which the human, the universal, and the absolute appear bath in consciousness, As soon as these are forIned and formulated, they turn into
84 CHAPTER Il DIALECTICS OF TIIE CONCRETE 85

components of human consciousness, that is into finished fonns through truth, from the accidental la the necessary, from the relative to the
which every individual can experience, be conscious óf and realize problems absolute. It is not a step out of history but an expression of the specificity
of a11 mankind, Unhappy consciousness, tragic consciousness, romantic of man as an event-formative and history~formative being; ruan is not walled
consciousness, Platonism, Macchiavellism, Hamlet, Faust, Don Quixote, into the animality and barbarism of his race, prejudices and circum-
Jasef Schweik and Gregor Samsa are a11 historically generated forms of stances,60 but in his onto-formative [seinsbildenden German-Tr.]
consciousness ay ways of human existence. Their classical form was created character (as praxis) he has the ability to transcend toward truth and
in some particular, unique and irreplicable epoeh but, once created, universality,
predecessors tum up in scattered fragments from the past, if only as As one of the ways of overcoming the temporary and the momentary,61
comparatively erude attempts. As soan as they are created and are 'here', human history is more than the ability to store and recan, Le. to draw ideas,
these classical expressions occupy a distinet place in history because they impressions and feelings out of the storage room of semi-oblivion 01' of the
themselves form history and acquire a validity independent of the original subconscious. It lS also a particular active structure and organization of
historical conditions of their genesis. Social reality as human nature is human consciousness, of knowledge. It is an historical ability and an
inseparable from its products and from forms of its existence. It does not historical structure because it is based not only on an historically evolving
exist other than in the historical totality o[ these products which, far [mm sensory-rational "equipment' of mano It can draw past things out into the
being external and accessory 'things', reveal and ¡ndeed retroactü'ely form present and transcend the temporary because man does not leave the past
the character o[ human reality (of human nature). Human reality is not a behind as sorne discarded object. Rather, the past enters into his present and
pre~hislorical or a transhistorical and unvarying substance. It is formed in constitutes his present in form of a formative and self-fonnative human
the course of histoI)'. Reality is more than conditions and historical nature. Historical periods of human developrnent are not empty casts from
facUcity; but neither does it ignore empirical reality. The dualism of which Me would have evaporated because al mankind having reached higher
transient and emptied empirical facticity on the one hand, and the spiritual forms of development. Rather, they are continually incorporated into the
realm of ideal values rising independently aboye it on the other hand, is the present through praxis ~ the creative activity of mankind. This process of
mode in which a particular historical reality exists: the historical reality incorporation is at the same time a critique and an appredation of the past.
exists in this duaUty, and its entirety consists of this split. Idealistically The past which is concentrated in the present (that is, abolished in the
hypostatizing this historical form of reality leads to the conc1usion that the dialectical sense) shapes human nature: which is a 'substance' that ineludes
world is cleaved into a true intransient reality of values and a false 'reality' objectivity as welJ as subjectivity, material relations and reified forces as
or facticity of transient conditions. 5 9 well as the ability to 'see' the world and to explicate it in different
The only reality of the htunan world 1S the unity of empirical condítions, subjective modes (Le. scientifically, artistically, philosophically, poetically,
complete with the process of forming them, on the one hand, and of etc.)
transient or living values and their formative process, on tlle other. The The sodety that gave birth to the genius of Heraclitus, the era in which
particular historical character of reality detem1ines whether this unity is Shakespeare's art was generated the class in whose 'spirit' Hegel's
realized as a harmony of incarnated values, that is through conditions philosophy was developed, have all irretrievably vanished in history.
infused with values, or as a split between empty, invalidated empiricism and Nevertheless, the 'world of Heraclitus', the 'world of Shakespeare', and the
ideal transcendental values. 'world of Hegel' continue to live and exist as living moments of the
Reality is 'higher' than are the conditions and histot1cal fonns of its own presentÓ 2 because they have enriched the human subject permanently.
existence. That is, reality 1S not the chaos of events or of fixed conditions Human history is a'n incessant totalization of the past, in the course of
but rather the unity of events and their subjects, a unity of events and the which human praxis incorporates and thus revives moments of the past. In
process of forming them, a practical-spiritual ability to transcend con di- this sense, human reality is llOt only the production of new but also
tions. The ability to transcend conditions allows for the possibility to a - critica! and dialectical - reproduction of the old. Totalization is the
proceed froID opinion to cognition, from doxa to epistémé, from myths to process of production and reproduction, of reviving and rejuvenating. 6 3
86 CHAPTER 1I
r
1
I
DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 87
The capacity fOI and the process of totalization are at a11 times both a 7 'The mystery of the everyday ... turns out in the end to be the mystery of social

prerequisite and an historical result: fue differentiated and universalized reality in general. However, the dialectics immanent to this concept manifests itself in
that the everyday both discloses and conceals this social rea1ity.' G. Lehman, 'Das
capacity of man's perception to admit equally as altistic treasures works of Subjekt der AIlt1:iglichkeit', ArchiJl fur angewandle Soziologie, Berlín, 1932- 33, p. 37.
antiquity ~ creations of the Middle Ages, and the aft of ancient nations i5 an The author incorrectly suggests that the 'ontology of the everyday' can be grasped
through sociology and that philosophical concepts can simply be translated into
historical product that did not exist and would have been unimaginable in sociological categories.
any medieval or slave society. Medieval culture could not have revived &Omitting or forgetting this subject expresses and creares one type of 'alienation of
(totaliz,ed and integrated) antique culture ar thc culture of 'pagan' nations man'.
9 Let us nOi forget that the terminology of existentíalism is frequently an idealist-
without exposing itself to the danger of disintegration. On the contrary, romantic, i.e. a concealing and dramatizing, transcription of revolutionary-materialist
progressive modern culture of the twentieth century i5 a universal culture in concepts. Finding this key permits a fruitful dialogue between Marxism and
its own right, with a high capacity fOI totalizatioD. While the medieval world existentialism. 1 attempted to expose sorne aspects of Heidegger's subterranean and
covert polemics with Marxism in my lecture 'Marxism and Existentialism', delivered in
was blind and c10sed to expressions of beauty and truth of o/her cultures, December 1962 in the Club of the Czechoslovak Writers' Union.
the modern view of the world is by contrast based on universality, on the 1 ¡¡Georg Büchner, 'Danton's Death', in Plays of Georg Büchner, London, 1971, p. 27.

ability to absorb, perceive, and appreciate expressions of most diverse 11 One of the less appreciated aspects of cybernetics is that it posed anew the question

cultures. of what is specifically human, and in practice shifted the borderline between creative
and non~creative human activity, between spheres that antiquity had defined as scholé
NOTES and panas, otium and negotium.
1 zThe theory and practice of 'epic theatre' based On the principie of estrangement ís
1 See Translator's Note, p. 92. only one artistic way of destroying the pseudo concrete. Bertolt Brecht's connection
! a'The Latin word cura is ambiguous ... Man's lifelong cura includes an earthly, with the intellectual atmosphere of the twenties and with the pro test against alienation
pedestrian element oriented ioward the materíal, but also an element aspiring toward is obvious. One might also consider the work of Franz Kafka as an artistic destruction
God.' K. Burdach, 'Faust und die Sorge', Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literatur- of the pseudoconcrete. See e.g. G. Anders, Franz Kafka, London, 1960, and W.
wissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, 1923, p. 49. Emrich, Franz Kafka, Frankfurt, 1957.
2The critique that sees in Being and Time the patriarchal world ofbackward Germany 1 "Karl Marx, Grundrisse, New York, 1973, pp. 196-97. [Emphasis by Karel Kosík.- Tr.j

has fallen for the mystification of Heidegger's examples. Heidegger, however, ís ! 4 See Karl Marx, Theories of Surplus Value, New York, 1952, p. 44.

describing problems of the modern twentieth century capiíalist world which he ¡ s H. Freyer, Die Bedeutung der Wirtschaft im philosophischen Denken des J 9.

exemplifies ~ quite in the spirit of romantic disguising and ooncealing - by the Jahrhunderts, Leipzig, 1921, p. 21.
1 'alnsufficient attention has been paid te the manner and the modifications in which
blacksmith and .forging. This chapier is not an analysis of Heidegger's philosophy but
of 'care' which represents the reified moment of praxis, as does the 'economic factor' the enlightened-materialist theory of interest has continued to live on juto the
and the 'horno oeconomicus'. twentieth century (for example, G. Anders translates Heidegger's Sorge as 'interest in
3S. L. Rubinstein, Printsipi i Put'f Rilzvit'ia PSikhologii,. Moscow, 1959, p. 204. In this the broadest sense'); similarly lacking is a complex analysis of the connection'i between
section, the author polemidses against the ídealization of certain insights from Marx's Diderot's dialectics of the master and the servant and Hegel's dialectics of the master
Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts. [German tr. Prinzipien und Wege der and the slave.
! 61n contrast to Shaftesbury who presumed immutable entities whose activity forms
Entwicklung der Psychologie, Berlin GDR, 1963. J
4 Ortega y Gasset belleves that he rather than Heidegger should be credited with
society,. and for whom man is by nature a social being, Le. is social even before society,
historical priority in conceiving of man as care: 'We come to define man as a being Mandev.llle proved to be a true dialectician for whom opposites create something new,
Wh.os~ primary and deci.sive .real~ty 1S his concern for his future ... his pre-occupation.
sorne thmg that had not been contained in the premises,
1 1lt would be very instructive to trace the history of the concept of the 'economic
ThlS 15 what human hfe lS, frrst .and foremost: preoccupation or, as my friend
Heidegger put it thirteen years after me, Sorge. ' See La connaisance de l'homme au X.xe man'. The more fetishised science (potiticat economy) becomes, the more does it view
siecle, Neuchate1, 1952, p. 134. The problem, however is that neither he nor Heidegger problems of reality merely as logica! and methodological ones. Bourgeois polítical
recognized praxis as man's primary determination whích implies auihentic temporality. economy has lost the awareness of the connection between polítical economy's
Care and the temporality of care are deriJled and reified forms of praxis. 'economic man' and the economic reaUty of capitalism which reduces man to the
5 'We are never at home, we are always beyond. Fear, desire, hope, project us toward
abstraction of the 'economic man' really and practically. lt vicws 'hamo oeconomicus'
the future and steal from us the feeling and consideration ofwhat is.' Complete Works as a 'rational fiction' (Meyer), a 'necessary 10gical ficHon' (H. Wolff), a 'working
ofMontaigne, Stanford, 1958, p. 8. hypothesis' or as a 'useful caricature' (R. Guitton). On the other hand Gramsci (Il
Ú Modern materialism was the first to eliminate the antinorny between the everyday materialismo storico, pp. 266ff.) correctly emphasized the connection of the 'eco~
and History, and to constitute a consistently monistic view of socio-human reality. nomic man' with the problems and reality of fue economic structure that produces
Only ma~eria1ist theory considers a11 activity as historicat, and thus bridges the duality man's abstractness.
1 8 'The innumerable individual acts of circulation are at once brought together in theÍ!
of the ahlstorical everyday and fue historicity of History.
88 CHAPTER 11 DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 89
characteristic social masS movement - the circulation between great functionally suggested that eighteenth century philosophy created a human ideal that remains the
determined classes of society.' Karl Marx, Capital, voL 2,p. 359. sole hope of mankind in its struggle against fascismo
I 9 Social physics exists in an anti-metaphysical illusion:, as a doctrine ~bout I?-an as an 3 zPerelman, Tyteca, op. cit., p. 122.

object and about his manipulability it can neither substttute metaphyslcS (philosophy) 3 ~Karl Mannheim, 'Das konservative Denken' ,Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft, 57, 1927,

nor salve metaphysical (philosophical) problems. . . .. .. p.492. Mannheim, burdened with sociologism and ignoring the real sources 01' modern
2OTransforming methodology iuto an ontology, ar ontologlZlug empmcal reahty, 1S a dialectics, overestimated the role of irrationalism and romantism for the development
frequent forro of philosophicai mystification. Every great epoch in philosophy destroys of contemporory dialectical thought.
the reigning historical mystification, In his criticisn: of Ari~1Ote!ian phitosophy, Bae,on 3 4 Labr~ola describes factors as 'provisional concepts, which were and are a simple

critidsed the ancients for having transformed a particular hlstoncal stage of developml? expresslOn though not fully arrived at rnaturity'. 'fhey are 'the necessary product of a
human abilities, Le. the lack of technology, into an ontology. See Paolo ROSSl, k~oWledge which is in the course of development and formation', and they 'arise in fue
Philosophy, Scienee and Teehnology, New ~ork, 1?70, p. 85. .' . mmd as a sequence of the abstraction ánd generalization of the immedíate aspects of
Husserl described Galileo as at once a dlSCovenng and conceahng gemus, for havmg the apparent movement'. A. Labriola, Essays on the Materialist Conception of History,
substituted as the founder of modern physics the idealized nature ofnatural soenees for New York, 1966, pp. 179, 145, 151. Similarly G. V. Plekhanov, Development of the
reality (nature) itself. See Edmund Husserl, Crisis of European Sciences and Monis! View of History, New York, 1972, pp. 13ff. et passim.
3 SG. V. Plekhanov, Izbranniie sochineniia, Moscow, 1956, vol. 2, p. 288. Did Professor
Transcendental Pltenomenology, Evanston, 1970, esp. par. 9.
2 lWiUiam Petty elaborated in Verbum sapienti (1665) a method ~o c~culate: the value Kareyev have students in the Czech lands as well?
of peopie in money; in 1736, Melon tried to prove that everythmg, mcludmg purely :l 6 The materialist concept of the economic structure is inseparable from problems of

moral affairs, can be reduced to a calculation. lab~r and praxis, as we shall demonstrate in later chapters (especially in 'Art and its
SOCial equivalent' and 'Philosophy of labor'). Thus even the concept of 'economic
22 Freyer, op. cit., p. 17.
1;1 J. Freyer, Theorte des gegenwiirtigen Zeitalter, Stuttgart, 1955, p. 89. structure' may degenera te into that of the 'economic factor' should this connection be
24 C. Wri"'ht Mills Sociologicallmagination, New York, 1959, p. 170. . absent
2 5The w~ak point of idealist defenses of reason against exi~tential int~rpretation 1S t~at 3 7Valuable material relevant io 1Jüs question is contained in the debate concerning the

they usual1y miss the connection of rationalist rea50n wlth a certalO ~ype of reahty. American constitution of 1787, in which representatives of different tendencies
Their arguments against existentialism are consequently hardly pe:suaslVe. See e..g. the advocated their interests with candor unheard in the bourgeois society of later times.
illuminating polemic of Cassirer against Jaspers and others concermng me evaluatlOn ?f Hamilton: 'This inequality of property consthuted the great and fundamental
Descartes, in E. Cassirer, Die Philosophie im XVII. und XVIII. Jahrhundert, Pans, distinction in Society'. That sarue year, Madison wrote in t11e F'ederalist that 'the most
m~
lóThe crucial question for Max Weber, who !'urrenders me individual's a.ct!Vlty o
.. t common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution
of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever forrued
irrationalism, is not the radical conflict between Sein. and Sollen but the opmlO n that distinct interests in society'. John Adams in a letter to Sullivan in 1776: 'Harrington
there exists no true, Le. universal and necessary, knowledge of a value system. See Leo has shown that power always fo11ows property. This 1 believe to be as infallible a
Strauss Natural Right and Histor)', Chicago, 1953, pp. 41-42. maxim in politics, as that action a11d reaction are equa1, is in mechanics. Nay, 1 believe
Z 7'The' individual who attempts to obtain these respective maxima is also said to aet we may advance one step farther, and affirm that the balance of power in a society
"rational1y": John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstem, J'heory of Cames and accompanies the balance of property in land'. See F. Caker, ed., Democracy, Liberty
Economic Behavior, Princeton, 1953, p. 9, and Property, New York, 1947, pp. 73, 82, 120.
Z Beh. Perelman and L. Tyteca, Rhétorique el philosophie, París, 1?52, p. 112. . 3 3 1'his standpoint helps understand the unity of modern society and the struc1ural

Z 9 Hegel was the first to analyse in depth mis feature of modern tunes; see hIS Glauben interconnection of all its spheres, including economics (production for production,
und Wissen Lasson, 1802, pp. 224, 225, 228, 229. Hegel's analysis of this specifica~y money-commodity-money), science (science as an absolute, Le. an unlimited and
modern fe;ture, of totality affected through a spli.t, is dealt with in detail in Joachlm ever~improving process of methodically acquiring and storing objective knowledoe a
Ritter, Hegel und die franzosische Revolutiol1, Co1ogn~, ~957, esp. pp .. 3.2, 33. prerequisite for more complete control of nature), and of everyday !ife (acceler;ting
~()This split of consciousness is analysed in Husserl s lmportant CrlSls of European tempo of lire, absolute insatiability with pleasures, ete.).
Sciences written on the eve of World War n. It might be in a way considered as me 3 9The vulgar pluralist standpoint is clearly manifest in opinions of John Dewey: 'The

awakening oí democratic awareness and a defense of :eas~n against the ~anger of question is whether any oue of the factors is so predominant that it i5 the causal force,
Fascism. lts philosophical content ranks among the semmal mtellectual ach1evements so that other factors are secondary and derived effects'. 'ls there any one factor or
of the first half of the twentieth century. . phase of culture which is dominant, which tends to pr<lduce and reoulate others 01' are
~ llts historical limitations were, incidentallY, exaggerated and abused by romantlc economics, marals, art, science, and so on only so many aspects otthe inieracti~n of a
reacHon of a11 directions. lt was natural mat especiaUy during World War II atte~pts number of factors, eaeh of which acts upan and is acted upon by the others'?' J.
would appear _ especially in the bourgeois democratic camp - to rehabilitat~ Enltght- Dewey, Freedom and Culture, New York, 1939, pp. 13, 16.
enment and to defend reason against irrationalism. See e.g. Aron Gur;-v¡tch, 'O~ ~ o It is a paradox of history, easy though it i5 1'.0 explain, that after World War 1
Contemporary Nihilism', in ReJliew o( Politics, 7., ~,945.' pp .170--198, ~arttcular1y hIS bourgeois sociologists used Weber's theory of classes io argue the impossibilit)' of d
defence of the eighteenth century agamst romantlc matlOnalist deformatlOns; and a150 a. classless society (when it was necessary to prove the utopian characier of the goals of
lect\Hc presented by A. Koyré in New York in 1944, at the 15Uth anlllver~ary 0,1 the fiedgling Soviet society), whereas after Worid War n the same theory provided
Condorcet's deam, in Revue Métaphysique et de Morale, 1944, pp. 166-189, Koyrc arguments fOI the gradual end of classes and of c1ass antagonisms, and fol' diminishing
90 CHAPTER Il DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 91
dass struggle in the most advanced monopolist-imperialist couniries. Far the flISt classical polítical economists and when asking the question of objective truth in science.
position, see Paul Mombert, 'Zum Wesen der soziale KJasse', in Hauptprobleme der 'Every discipline of scholarship, inc1uding political economy and philosophy, has its
Soziologie, 2, 1923, p. 267. For the second see J. Bernard aud H. SChelsky, in own internal laws which gulde its development, which are independent 01' the
Transactions of the World Congress af Sociology, 1956, vol. 3, pp. 26-31, and 1954, subjective cap rices 01' individuals, and indeed are enforced even against subiective
vol. 2, p. 360. individual intentions or antipathies. On the case ol' Richard Jones, a successor of
4 ¡ 'N ostra narnque, hoe est humana, sunt, quoniam ab homil1ibus effeeta, quae Malthus and an Anglican priest, Marx proved thi8 oNective character of laws of science
cernuntur, omnes domos, amuia.oppida, omnes urbes, amuia denique orbis terrarum which, when respected, lead to positive results, independent of fue scientist's subjective
aedifícia, quae nimirum tanta et talia suot, ut patius angelorum guarn hominum opera, intentions'. K. KOSik, Dejiny filosofie jako filosofte: Filosoffe JI déjinách ceského
ob magnam quandam eorum excellentia, iure censeri debeant ... ' G. Manetti, De národa [History 01' Philosophy as Philosophy: Philosophy in Czech Historyj, Prague,
dignitate et excellentia hominis, Basel, 1532, pp. 129fT. CL also E. Garin, Hlosofi 1958, p. 15.
italiani del quattrocento, Florence, 1942, pp. 238--42. Manetti (1396-1459) in his S4See R. lngarden, The Literary Work oI Art, Evanston, 1973; a1so V. Vinogradov,
polemical ardor ignores that anything human can degenerate but this programmatic Problema avtorstva i teoría st'ile¡' [The Problem 01' Authorship and the Theory of
bias renders his trusting manifesto of humanism particularly charming. A hundred Style 1, Moscow, 1961, p. 197; L. Dolezel, O stylu moderm: ceské prózy [The Style
years later, Cervantes no longer shared this optimism, having arrived at a far more of Modern Czech Frose], Prague, 1960, p. 183.
profound grasp of fue problems of mankind. s 5 A false method again ends up making inadvertent substitutions that the scholar
42 See e.g. the interpretation of romanticism and of unhappy consciousness in Jean Wahl, overlooks: he discusses 'reality' whereas his false method has meanwhile transformed
Le malheur de conscience dans la philosophie de Hegel, Paris, 1929. reality iota something eIse amI has reduced it to 'conditions'.
43 Attributes 'true', 'great', etc. should be pleonasms. Under certain cucumstances, 56 A. Hauser, The Philosophy of Art History, New York, 1959, pp. 185r.

however, they provide the necessary c1arification. s ry Sínce theoretical thinkiog does not disappear with the conditions that gave rise to it
44 These general observations could be graphically illustrated in the example of either, the seveoteenth century discoveries concerning human nature are valid in this
Picasso's Guernica which is of course neither an incomprehensible deformabon of century, too. Every theory of history and of social reality therefore faBs back on
reality, flor a 'non-realisüc' experiment in cubismo Vico's seminal. discovery of the historical character of human nature. 'Human nature i5
45The formulation 'nothing but' has been encountered already in Chapter One, as a entirely historidsed, it is a nature in making. It is no !onger a permanent nature that
typical expression of reductionism. cOuld be known outside its historical manif'estations. It forms a one with thesc
H Marx described the reactionary apologetic character of bourgeois treatment of maoifestations which constitute moments of lts preseni: as well as lts future'. A. Pons,
history and its concept of social reality in general in his apt comment, saying fuat it 'Nature et histoire chez Vico', Les études philosophiques, Paris, 1961, No. 1, p.46.
'jusi consists in treating the historical conditions independent of activity', Marx, The Marx's high regard fOr Vico is generally known.
German Ideology, New York, 1970, p. 60. s ~ It is often overlooked thai: liegel's logical apriorism with which he considers hi,story
47'The senses have their own history'. M. Lifshitz, The Philosophy oi Art of Karl as the application of Spirit in time and thus as applied logic, as the unfolding in time
Marx, London, 1973, p. 78. of moments of the Spirit, otherwise essentially HmeJess, is the müst grancliose idealist
4 ~ The scientisi who has no feeling for art i5 in fue position 01' Janusz Kuczynski, and attempt of modcrn times to,overcome or tum back relativism and historicism.
believes that the best textbook of polítical economy was actually wr'ittcn by Goethe 591n modernizing Hegel's concept of reality as 'Bedeutung, Weltbedcutung, Kulturbe-
under the attractive Htle of Wahrheil und Dichtung. See J. Kuzcynski, Studien üher deutuog', Emil Lask is clearly viewing Hegel as an orthodox Kantian and a dísdple of
schone Literatur und politische Okonomie, Berlín, 1954. Let us excuse the author by Rickert. eL Lask, Schnften, voL 1, p. 338.
noting that his views were only 'an echo of the times'. 6 °The primitivism and relativism oí' closed-horizon theories are opposed, as cxpressions
49The Plekhanovian method for writing a history of literature is reduced to the of twentieth-century antirational theories, by Th. Litt, in Von del' Sendung del'
following procedure. First, a purely ideological history of thc subject~matter is Philosophie, Wiesbaden, 1946, pp. 201', who calls for philosophy to be the search for
constructed (or, freqllently, adopted ready-made from bourgeois scientific !iterarure). universal truth. The idealism of this critique 01' antihumanism 1S in its failure to
Then an 'ordo et connexio rerum' is sEpped under this 'ardo et connexio idearum', recognize not only knowledge, but also praxis as a crucial way of overcoming
with the aid of frequently ingenious speculations. Plekhanov used to call this process relativism.
'the search for the social equivalení'. M. Lifshitz, Voprosi isskusstva i literaturf 61 'The great discovery of the eighteenth century is the phenomenon of memory. By

Moscow, 1935, p. 310. remembering, man escapes the purely momentary; he escapes the nothingness that lies
5 o In this understanding of Marxism as a totality, Lenin agreed with Plekhanov, but in wait for him between moments 01' existence.' G. Poulet, Studies in Human Time
even here he c1early viewed the concept of praxis entirely differendy than Plekhanov Baltimore, 1961, pp. 23f. The author documents his view with references to works o;
hado Quesnay, Diderot, Buffon and Rousseau.
51 Plekhanov, op. cit., voL 2, p. 158. ~ "It follows from what has been stated previously thai this 'lile' in eludes the
52 'The difficulty is not in understanding that the Greck arts and epic are bound up possibility of many interpretations, every one of which adopts different aspects of fue
with certain forms of social development. The difficulty is that they still afford us work.
artistic pleasure and that in a certain respect they count' as a norm and as an 63 Thc connection between categories of rejuvcnation and reproduction in Hege1's and

unattainable mode!'. Marx, Grul1drisse, p. 111. [Emphasis Karel KosÍk.-Tr.] Marx's phHosophy has bcen correctly pointed out by M. Lifshitz (Philosophy of Art of
530nly in this light does the fragment in question clearly connect with other of Marx's Ka,.l Marx, pp. 109fL). 'The rejuvenation of the spirit i8 more than a return to fue
works and opinions. Marx deaIt with a similar problem when evaluating certain former self; it is a self-purification, a working over.' Hegel, Philosophy o{Hisfory,
92 CHAPTER II CHAPTER III
voL 1, p. 1 L The great thoughts of Novalís, which are scattered throughout the
Christian-romantic cther of his philosophy, identify totalization with animation. eL
T11. Hoering, Novalis als Philosoph, Stuttgart, 1'954, p.45. Hoering's extensive but
poorly organized work suffers from ane basic shortcoming, in that it dilutes the
PHILOSOPHY AND ECONOMY
specific contributions of Novalís' thinking in the general dialectical atmosphere of his
times; subjected to 3uch treatment, Novalis emerges as a junior Hegel.

Translator's Note: Throughout this section Kosík i3 opposing two Czech terms which
parallel Heidcgger's opposition of Sorge and Besorgen as the 'ontological' and 'ontica!'
aspects of Dasein's involvcment in the world. These Cermao terms are rendered 'Care'
and 'Concern' in the English translation (Being and Time, transo J. Macquarrie and E. PROBLEMS OF MARX'S CAPITAL
Robinson, New York, 1962). Since the translation of Besorgen as 'concern' obscures
many of the 'economic' senses of the German (and corresponding Czech) term, the Interpretation ofthe text
term will here be rendered 'procuring' - which preserves both the economic
connotations and etyrnological relation to 'concern', through the Latin Cura. The reader who has to plough through Capital several tiro es in order
to comprehend its specialized economic sense and to get the cIear meanmg
of concepts such as value, falling rate of profit, surplus value, the
processes of producing capital and surplus value, etc., does not usually ask
about the overall meaning of Marx's work. The question either never enters
his mind, or he ls satisfied with answering it with some general considera-
tions in which comprehending the text never becomes a problem. In
addition, because Marx's text is a difficult work, the average reader studies
it as presented in a political economy textbook, designed to popularize the
complex subject-matter. However, what are the difficult passages of the
text, what passages are seen that way, and what does a popularization
entail? First of all, Marx's e:xtensive text is abridged. Second, a11 that would
interfere with elaborating narrow problems of economics is routinely culled
out of the text. Analyses of obsolete nineteenth-century data are deleted or
replaced by more recent data. Similarly, passages that from the 'strictly
scholarly perspective' seem to be no more than speculations or perhaps
dispensable philosophical contemplation not directiy connected with
economic problems are left out as welL Sínce the textbook is a guide to
studying the text, the reader follows it in attributing greater or lesser
importance to different sections of Capital. This way of reading the text,
however, imports problems of which the reader - and frequently even the
textbook authors - are unaware. This is not a reading of the text written
by Karl Marx but of a different, altered text. Popularization which had at
first appeared as merely rendering the text more accessible, turns out to be a
particular interpretation of it. Every aid to understanding a text has limits
beyond wruch it ceases to fulfil its auxiliary introductory and clarifying
role, and assurnes the opposite role of obscuring and distorting. A
popularization which is unaware of its own limits and does not see itself
critically, as rnerely one particular interpretation of the text, as an
94 CHAPTER III DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 95

interpretatian which for didactic purposes considers only certain particular approaches? lt seems that we are locked in a vicious circle. 18 it possible to
aspects of the text and consciously omits others, ends up unconsciously interpret the work authentically, in a way that would capture its objective
engaged in an entirely different activity: instead of interpreting the text it meaning? If it were not possible, then any attempt at an interpretation
modifies it and uncritically invests it with a difierent sense. would be senseless, since the text could be grasped exc1usively in subjective
But why does the. text have to be interpreted at all? Does it not speak fOI approaches. However, if an authentic interpret.ation is possible, how should
itself, and in a dear enough language? Who could have expressed the one square this with the fact. that every text is interpreted differentIy and
intended thought more c1early and poignantly than the author himself? that the history of a text ls the history of its various interpretations?
What does it mean to say that the author imparted a certain meaning to the Interpreting a text assumes that a substantiated interpretation of it can
text? (We mean 'text' in the broad sense, Le. Dot only literature but also be distinguished in pdnciple from textual distortions or modifications, We
paintings OI sculptures, any structure of significations.) From what can we require the following of an interpretation:
judge the author's subjective intentions? For the majority of extant texts we That it leave no opaque, unexplained or 'accidental' passages in the text.
rely only on the text ¡tself. We do not always know enough about the That it explain the text both in its parts and as a whole, i.e. that it deal
aut.hor's subjective intentions. Even when such information is available, it both with its individual sections and with the structure of the work.
hardly salves the problem, for the relation of the text itself to reports about That it be complete, and not suffer from internal contradictions,
its author's iotentions is not an unambiguous one: such evidence might help questionable logic or inconsistencies,
explícate the meanings of the text, but these can in principIe be captured That it preserve ,and capture the specificity of the text and incorporate
even without it. Compared with the text (the work) itself, 'documents' play this specificity as a constitutive element of the structure and the
a complementary and a secondary role. The text may even say something comprehension of the text.
other than the testimony does: more, or perhaps le ss. The author might not If it ls possible to arrive at an authentic understanding of a text, and if
have fulfilled his intention, or he might have exceeded it, in which case the every interpretation is an historical form of the text's existen ce, then the
text (the work) contains 'more' than he had anticipated. As a rule, the authentic interpretation will indispensably inc1ude a critique of all previous
intention is congruent with the text, and is thus expressed in and through ones. Partial or one-sided interpretations will then appear as layers that have
the tex!: only the message of the text testines to the author's intentions. sedimented on the text over the years, as historical forms of the texCs
The text is the starting point for its interpretation. The interpretation starts existence (the text itself being always distinct and independent of them), or
out from the text in arder to return to it, Le, to explain iL If it does not eIse as manifestations of various concepts that have guided the interpreta-
return, the familiar inadvertent substitution of ane task for another will tion: concepts o[ philosophy, science, art, reality, etc.Every interpretation of
take place and instead of being interpreted, the text will end up being a text is always also its evaluation, be it unintended and thus unsubstan-
examined as a testimony to its times and conditions, tiated, or conscious and reasoned: glossing over certain parts or sentences
The history of a text is in a certain sense the history of its which are felt as unimportant (different ones at different times), or simply
interpretations: every pedod and every generation emphasizes different misunderstanding certain passages (depending on the age, education, cul·
aspects of it, attributes greater importance to sorne than to others, and tural background of the reader) and subsequently 'neutralizing' them in
accordingly reveals different meanings in the text, Different times, itself amounts to an implicit evaluation, inasl11uch as it distinguishes in the
generations, social groups and individuals can be blind to certain aspects text between the significant and the 1ess significant, between the relevant
(values) of the text and will find them meaningless, concentrating instead on and the obsolete, the important and the secondary, The history of
aspects which in turn appear unimportant to their successors. The life of a interpretations of Karl Marx~s Capital shows that every interpretation covers
text is thus a process of attributing meanings to it. Does this attribution up a particular concept of philosophy, af science and reality, of the relation
concretize meanings which the work objectively contains, or does it import between philosophy and economy, etc" which informs both the explication
new ones? Does there indeed exist the objective meaning of the work (the of individual concepts and thoughts, and the construction of the work as a
text), or can the work be grasped only through different subjective whole.
96 CHAPTER III DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 97

A number of expositions of Capital have violated the first rule cf philosophy (dialectics) appears to be its key problem. The relationship of
interpretation: that an exposition, to be authentic, should leave no 'opaque' eeonomics and philosophy is not just another partial aspect of Marx's work
and unexplained plaees in the text. The exposition should not divide the (and useful research has been done on his use of statistics, on the
text into Qne part which can be explained by a certain principIe and another incorporation of historical material, on the use of fiction in Capital, etc.)
which does not lend itself to this interpretation, and from the perspective of Rather, it provides access to the very essence and specificity of Capital.
this principle is thus mute and unimportant. Since many expositions of Different interpretations of Capital have atternpted to uncouple its
Capital have failed to cope with its 'philosophical passages', and considered science from its philosophy in several ways. They a11 in sorne way divorce
the philosophical problems of Capital to be a dispensable factor (if they science from philosophy, speeialized scientific investigation from philoso-
indeed discovered these problems at an, other than in sorne explicit passages phical assumptions, and thus lead via different paths to one result: to a
which from the paint of view of economic issues appeared irrelevant scienee and a philosophy that are mutual1y indifferent.
anyway), this violation of the formal rule of interpretation has posed a In one instance, science (economics) and philosophy both end up as
majar obstacle even to understanding the character of the text. AH such superfluous. This interpretation translates economic movement into logical
interpretations broke the single text down into two, dealt with one according movement, and transcribes Marx's Capital so as to render scientific observa-
to a particular principIe and found the other inexplicable. That one then tions in the language of philosophy. The economic content is irrelevant to
became incomprehensible and insignificant. and independent of the logical categories. This eonception considers Marx's
We take an interpretation to be authentic if the speclficity of the text is a work first and foremost as an applied logic which uses eeonomics to
constitutive eIement of the principIe of its exposition, as it unfolds in the demonstrate its own movement. The economic movement is entireIy
course of this exposition. The interpretation substantiates the text's speci- external to philosophy because it i8 only an agent of the movement of logic.
ficity. The text can of course fulfil functions in which its specificity plays The truth of economics is expressed in the movement of lagic. It is quite
no role. Shakespeare's mstorical dramas can be considered and employed as foreign to and independent of the economic content, because the movement
a testimony to his time. K. H. Máeha's poem May can be studied from the of logic could just as well have been expressed through any other specialized
perspeetive of the author's biogr.aphy. The history ofideology may include scientific discipline. Philosophy related to economics is conceived also as a
dramas, poems, novels and stories. It will abstract fram the specificity of mere methodological-1ogical substrate DI as applied logic. The task of the
their genre and examine them exclusively as manifestations of dífferent interpreter is to decant from this applied logic apure 10gic, and behind the
world outlooks. Common to these approaches is that they all erase or ignore movement of such categories as declining rate of profit, transformation of
the specificity of the works as lyrical poetry, as a novel, tragedy, epic poem, sur plus value into profit, price formation, etc., to discover and distill pUTe
etc. The specificity of the text is not an abstract universal framework, a lagical categories of movement, contradiction, self-development, mediation,
categorization of genre, but a specific princip1e of the work's construction. etc. But we eould similarly consider Capital to be an applied grammar: its
This specificity 1S the result of investigation, and 1S not known at its outset. economic content 1S formulated according to certain rules of linguistics
Consequently, it does not reguTgítate triviahties OT impute abstraet prin- which also could be abstracted from the text. lnasmuch as the connection
cipIes to the text as much as it seeks for what is specific in it. between science and philosophy is seen in the stratification of the text (the
There never was much dispute about the Wealth 01 Nations, Principies o[ text having an economic as well as a logical~methodological meaning), there
Taxation, General Theory o[ Employment, etc. being works of economics, is no difference between Marx's Capital and F. PalackY's History of the
and specifically so. However, Capital has from the very beginning been Czech Nation: the text of Palacky can be considered an appEed logic just as
provoking the uneasiness of a number of interpreters who would agree on Marx's can. lf this 1S the task the interpreter has set about fulfilling, he has
one thing only: it is not a work of economics in the usual sense of the word, to conc1ude by answering one question: Why did Marx write a book of
and it conceives of economics in a peculiar way, splicing it witb sociology, economics and Palacky one of history, and why did neither of them write a
philosophy of history, and philosophy. Judging by the history of the 'pure Iogic' rather than an 'applied logic'? If an interpretation considers an
interpretations of Capital, the relation between science (economics) and economic or an historical text to be an 'applied logic' from whieh a 'pure
,-
,

98 CHAPTER III DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 99


logic is to be distilled, he must crown this exacting labor by the most wood heaped over it. 5 In this setting we are hardly interested in indulgent
important t.ask: by proving that the logical and methodological categories he assurances that Marx was a true scientific talent, which sounded naive and
had used fOI analysing a specific economic or historical reality are valid grotesque already around World War I. We are more intrigued by the sense
general1y, and that they are applicable even beyond the framework of the and the content imputed to the term 'science'. This interpretation radical1y
reality in question. Interpretations with a logical or a methodological bent separates science from philosophy because its concept of science is based on
do not try to critical1y examine the economic cantent of Capital and they the image of an empirical model: one of presuppositionless observation and
do not even try to further develop and elaborate its economic problems. analysis of facts, which is of course a mere prejudice belied in daily practical
Ready-made results of economic analyses afe with no further inquiry life,6
automatically taken as correet, and the interpretation traces only the logical
and methodological path that had led to results whose fundamental validity To Abolish Philosophy*?
is not questioned. Let us pursue the question from another aspect. Can the relation
Another interpretation defends the validity of Capital's economic con~ between philosophy and economics in Capital be c1arified by analysing
tent against modern bourgeois critiques but conc1udes that this economic Marx's intellectual development? We are not nearly as much interested in
content lacks a proper philosophical rationale. Tbis can apparently be describing in detall his intellectual history as in tracing its inner logic. Since,
furnished by phenomenology.1 Capital thus turns out to be a valid however, the logic of the thlng differs from subjectivist constructions or
economic analysis without a proper philsophical foundation. However, ideas about the logic of the thing, we must formulate it as the result of
complemented with the necessary philosophy, the sense of the text would critically investigating empirical material, which is the starting poin1 as well
change, and a Marxist polítical economy would turn into an extensive as the goal of this investigation: the investigatian can claim to be critical and
phenomenology of objects. A rnaterialist analysis of capitalist econorny scientific only insofar as it gathers a11 possible empirical material, and as
would turn into a phenomenological description of a world of things. long as the 'inner logic' it. discovers captures this totality completely and
A third interpretation of Capital asks the question: 'ls this pure political concretely, i.e. as long as it gives it an objective meaning and explains it. The
economy, an analysis of mechanisms, or rather an existential ana]ysis of objective meaning and the internal problems of the text are revealed
economics, with a metaphysical and transeconomic significance?,2 The through its interpretat.ion in the 'intellectual milieu' and the socio-hist.orical
question posed in this way is essentially a result of half-truths. Is Capital reality. The intelIectual development of a thinker ar of an artist therefore
indeed pure political economy, a theory of mechanisms, Le. a science cannot be investigated by thoughtlessly narrating his lifestory or by
scientistically conceived? Since this interpretation does not consider Marxist unproblematically 'commenting' on his works or opinions.
political economy to be a science in this sense, it conc1udes that Marx is no We are interested in the question of whether the relationship of
economist in the real sense of the word. 3 Since Marxism is neither a philasophy and econarny (science) changed in the course of Marx's
scientistic-empirical kind of science, nor an instance of vulgar economics, it íntellectual development, and in the way that Marx conceived of and
is no science at a11. What 1S it then? Marxist políticaI economy is apparently formulated this relationship in different phases of his own development.
an existential philosophy that considers economic categories as mere signs This question has been the center of attention of Marxists and Marxologists
4
01' symptoms of a concealed essence, of the existential situation of man. for many years now, in the familiar arguments aYer the 'young Marx'. This
ConverseIy, a fourth interpretation stresses the necessity to separate the discussian has not led to overwhelming results. Instead of concrete investiga-
positive detailed economic part of Marx's work from philosophical specula- tions, students have frequently presented only general rnet.hodological
Hons (dialectics). It recognizes in Marx a great economist who however has precepts, and their 'commentaries', usualIy unencumbered by heedíng theír
to be defended from Marx the philosopher. Marx's economic analyses are
based on a scientific economic method which is not only at variance with *Where German philosophy (and the Gcrman translation of Kosík) uses the term
aufheben Kosík employs the Czech zrusit, The dual meaning al' aufheben is loSi in the
dialectics but is indeed entirely independent of it, so that the scientific value Czech translation, as in múst ways of rendering it iuto English. Zrusit Jiterally' means
of Marx's analyses is preserved despite the metaphysical-speculative dead 'cancel' or 'abolish.'···. Tr.
~.. '

t,

100 CHAPTER III DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE IOI

own methodological advice, are extraordinarily sterile. If, as generally developed further, rendered more precisely, and formulated more exactly
asserted, the anatorny of man is indeed the key to t11e anatomy of apes, and on basis of subsequent study and praxis.
if the work of the young Marx has indeed to be comprehended from the The unconscious and unanalysed scheme of most interpretations of
work of the mature Marx and from evolving revolutionary materialism, then Marx' s intellectual development assumes that the transit10n from the
one might expect that advocates of this rule wil1 also stick to it and Manuscripts to Capital 1S a transition from philosophy to science. Whether
consequently present an interpretation of the Manuscripts based on an this development is estirnated positively or negatively, as pragress ar
analysis of Capital. In reality, however, the Manuscripts are interpreted in degeneration,7 it 1S always characterized by gradually abandoning philo-
isolatian from Marx's total development (which is.orre of the reasons for the sophy and its problematique for science and the exact scientific problema-
repetitiveness, ennui and superficiality of dozens of essays entitled 'The tique. 8 Marx's intellectual development epitamizes and realizes the radical
Young Marx'), and the explication of the problematique 1S based on one demand of left Hegelians: to abolish philosophy,
covert assumption: on a muddled idea about the dynamics of Marx's How might philosophy be abolished and how has it been abolished in
intellectual development. This muddle, amountíng to a lack of critica1 Marx's work?
attitude, is the graveyard of science and of scientific explication, because it Philosophy can be abolished by realizing it
allows the investigation to move with naive confidence over terrain that is l'hilosophy can be abolished by turning it into a dialectical theory of
through-and-through problema tic. Uncritical naiveté has not the slightest society.
idea that specific conceptual means are needed to grasp someone's intellec- Philosophy can be abolished when it falls apart and survives as a residual
tua1 development. Without ihem, the empirical material is either incompre- science: as formal or dialecticallogic.
hensible or elusive, ar it is senseless and conceals its own 'hidden truth'. Philosophy can be abolished by realizing it. This statement amounts to
A sufficient number of 'case studies' will permit the construction of an idealistic forrnulation of the relationship between ph:ilosophy and reality:
several basic models or schemes of the dynamics of intellectual develop- society with a11 its contradictions flnds an appropriate historical expression
ment. These models have two functions: first, they are an intuifive in philosophy, and the philosophical expression of real contradictions
representation of intellectuai development and of its dynamics as a whole becomes the ideological form of praxis that solves them, Philosophy plays
(of its direction, curve, regressions, complexities, deviations); and second, two roles in its relation to society: the epoch, the society or the class
they provide a conceptual means for comprehending individual works, develop their own sel{consciousness through philosophy and its categories.
periods, partial opinions. Without claims to completeness and exhaustive At the same time, they find in philosophy and in its categories categorial
characterization, we suggest that the majority of 'cases' wil1 faH under one forms of their own historical praxis. Philosophy is not 'realized' but rather,
of the following basic models of intel1ectual development dynamics: reality is 'philosophised'. That is to say, reality finds in philosophy both
(J) The model of empirieal-evolutionary development in which a parti- an historical form of self-consciousness and an ideological forro ofpraxis, of
cular elementary basis of a world view flourishes and, influenced by and its own practical movement and problem-solving. rhose who would 'abolish
reacting to events, grows more profound and more universal. It rids itself of philosophy by realizing it' see social movement as traversing the movement
outdated ar incarrect elements and substitutes adequate ones for them. of human consciousness where it develops categorial forms of its own
(2) The model of evoZut!ve deve/opment through erises, marked with realization. Apart from that~ 'realizabon of philosophy' is an inverted
sharply separated periods signifying abrupt shifts from ane cancept of the expression for realizing the laient possibilities contained in reality.
warld to another, a conversion froro one 'profession' to another, in which An idealist conception stands these relations on their head and inverts
the past or the preceding period is negated as one*sided, as an error or a the relationship between the original (lhe reality) and the 'still picture'
delusian. (philosophy). It conceives of reality as af a realized or non-realized
(3) The model of holistic-coneretizing development in which a rich philpsúphy. Since the original is superior to the reproduction, the truth of
world view is formulated in an early stage of creative reasolling. lis basic reality has to be grasped as derived from philosophy (the original). The
motives and problems are never abandaned ar transcended but are rather radical staternent of abolishing philosophy by realizing it expresses neither
102 CHAPTER III DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 103

the truth of philosophy nor that of reality, but mere1y the contradictory beyond phílosophy or does not measure up to it? And indeed, even if what
character of utopism that seeks to realize a pale reflection Df reality" 9 Since 1S being realized were philosophy, is it realized entirely and with no
phiJosophy is the reality of lhe epoch concentrated in thoughts, philoso- leftovers, and is then reality an absolute identity of consciousness and
phical self-consciousness may fal1 for the self-delusion that reality is a being? Or do perhaps sorne ideas of philosophy 'reaeh beyond' reality, and
reflection of philosophy and that its relation to philosophy is that of subsequent1y lead philosophy inlo a eonflict with reality? What does it
something which will ar should be realized, In this idealistic perspective, mean that the bourgeois society is the realization of the reason of
philosophy tums into unrealized reality. Philosophy, however, is supposed to Enlightenment? Is the lotality of bourgeois philosophy identieal with the
be more than realized. It i5 supposed to be abolished through realization, no totality of bourgeois society? And if a bourgeois society arnounts to
less, since its very existence is an expression of unreasonable reality. To inearnated philosophy of the bourgeois epoeh, will the demise of lhe
abolish alienation means: to abolish the existing unreasonable society as a capitalist world lead lo the extinction of lhis philosophy' Who is to judge,
realization of philosophy, and at the same time to abolish philosophy by and who will judge in the future, whether indeed reasan has been realized
realizing it, for its very existence testifies to the unreason of reality.1 o through abolishing philosophy and whether society is indeed reasonable?
Considered from this vantage point, the slogan of abolishing philosophy Which level of human consciousness will recognize whether rea1ity has not
by realizing it is nothing but an eschatological fiction. First of a11 it is not merely been rationalized and whether reason b; not again being realized in
true that philosophy is merely an alienated expression of alienated con di- the form of unreason?
Hons and that tms descriptlon exhausts its character and mission. Only AH these unclear points stem from a profound contradiction in fue
particular mstorical instances of philosophy might amount to false con- very conception of reason and reality, one that 1S shared by aH eschato-
sciousness in the absolute sense, but from the perspective of philosophy in logical reasoning: history exists up to a point, but it ends at a critical
the real sense of the word, these would not amount to philosophy. They momento A dynamic terminology conceals a static content; reason is
would be mere systematizations and doctrinrure interpretations of biases historical and dialectical only up to a certain phase in history, up to a
and opinions of the time, Le. ideologies. The suggestion that philosophy is turning point, whereafter it changes into trans·historical and non·dialectical
necessarily an alienated expression of an inverted world, because it has- reason.
always been a class philosophy, might have originated from a misreading of The eschatological formulation of abolishing philosophy through realiz-
the Communist Manifesto. This suggestion would have the text read thus: ing it obscures the real problem of modern times: do es man still need
'History of mankind does not exist, there 1S only the history of c1ass philosophy? Have the position and the mission of philosophy in society
struggle', instead of the actual text, 'the history of all hitherto existing changed? What role does philosophy play? ls its character changing?
society is the history of c1ass struggles'. Then it would follow that every Naturally, these questions do not affect the empirieal faets that philosophy
philosophy has been exclusively a elass philosophy. In reality, however, that is still extant, that it is practiced, that books on philosophical topics are
which has a c1ass character and that which has a human character have being written, and that it is a specialized discipline and profession, The
formed a dialectical unity throughout history: every historical epoch of question is elsewhere: does philosophy continue to be a special fonu of
mankind was spearheaded and represented by a particular class, and consciousness, indispensable for grasping the tlUth of the world and for
mankind and humanism have been filled with a concrete historical content arriving at a truthful comprehension of man's position in the world? Does
which is both their concretization and their historical limito The historicity truth still bappen in philosophy, and is philosophy still considered a sphere
of conditions is substituted here again for the historism of reality, and in which opinion is distinguished from truth? Or has philosophy taken over
philosophy is vulgarly conceived as a manifestation of conditions, rather frorn mythology and religion as the universal mystifier, the spiritual medium
than as the truth of reality. necessary for mystification? But perhaps it has been denied even this honor,
The slogan of realizing philosophy has many meanings. How can one what with modern technology having provided the mass media, even more
recognize whether what 1S being realized is indeed philosophy and only efficient means of mystification. Does then the continued existence of
philosophy, or whether it is something else, something that perhaps goes philosophy prove that the realization of reason, so frequently hera1ded, has
104 CHAPTER III D1ALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 105

after all not occurred yet? Or does the periodic alternation of chiliasm and points as well, to explain their historical justification, as well as the
skeptical sobering up, and the permanent disharmony between re asan and historical conditions for transcending them, to realize the truth of the
realiiy, perhaps indicate that reaSan and reality are indeed dialectical and criticised standpoints and thereby to prove their biases~ limitations and
that their called-for absolute identity wou1d amount to the abo/ilion of falsity. However, the truth of this proof ís historical. lt is constituted
dialectics? forever anew and it proves again and again its true character. The historical
A different way of abolishing philosophy i8 to transform it into a development of this truth will consequently also indude periods in which
'dialectical theory of society' OI io dissolve it in social science. This form of 'abso1ute truth' or the truth of the 'absolute standpoint' actually collapses
abolishing philosophy can be traced in two historical phases: the Urst time into elements wmch it had historically transcended and integrated in itself.
during the genesis of Marxism when Marx, compared with Hegel, i8 shown Materialist philosophy can in certain historical periods disintegrate into the
to be a 'liquidator' of philosophy and the founder of a dialectical theory of philosophy of the 'Absolute Spirit' (Hegelianism), whose critica! comple-
80c1ety,11 and the second time in the developrnent of Marx's teachings ment ls the philosophy of existence and moralism. This, too, is an indirect
which his disciples conceive of as social science aI sociology. 1 2 proor that Hegel and Kierkegaard can be comprehended on the basis of
The genesis of Marxism is interpreted against the background of the Marx, but not vice versa.
dissolution of Hegel's system as the eulminating phase of bourgeois One argument for dialectically abolishing philosophy in social science lS
ideology_ The synthesis and totality of Hege!'s philosophy had disintegrated the statement that the materialist inversion of Hegel is not a transition from
into elements. These were in turn absolutized, and they formed bases for one philosophical position to another, that it is not a continuation of
new theories: for Marxism or existentialism. Historical research has cor~ philosophy. This statement is extremely inaccurate, since it obscures the
rectly pointed out l3 that the disintegration of Hegel's system resulted in no specificity of the 'transition' from Hegel to Marx. From the standpoint of
intellectual vacuum; the very term 'disintegration' conceals and masks a materialist dialecties, neither the history of philosophy as a whole nor its
wealth of philosophical activity which gave rise to fue two important individual stages can ever be interpreted as a 'transition from Qne philoso·
philosophical orientati.ons of Marxism and existentiaHsm. The shortcoming phical position to another', because such an interpretation presuppos.es an
of these observations is that they consider Hegel the pinnacle and synthesis, irnmanent evolution of ideas, which materialism denies. Inasmuch as the
compared with whom Marx and Kierkegaard necessarUy appear one-sided. development from Hegel to Marx is not a transition froro one philosophical
This opinion is inconsistent. Abstractly speaking, one could advocate any position to another~ it does not in any way imply the need to 'abolish
ane of the three philosophical standpoints, consider it the absolute, and philosophy', just as the development from Descartes to Hegel did nol
criticise froro its vantage point the other two as the incarnations of abolish it, though it was not (merely) a transition from one philosophical
one-sidedness. From the absolute standpoint of Hegel's system, the sub se- position to another. Equally confusing is the second argument, according to
quent development would appear as the collapse of total truth, and the which 'a11 the philosophical concepts of Marxian theory are social and
clifferent orientations that emerged from it as emancipated elements of that economic categories, whereas Hegel's social and econornic categories are aH
collapse. From the viewpoint of KJerkegaard, Hege!'s philosophy would be a philosophical concepts'.15 Here, too, the general 1S presented as the
lifeless system of categories with no room for the individual and his particular and its specificity is obfuscated. Marxist critique detects a social
existence. Hegel might have constructed palaces for ideas but he kept people and economic content in every philosophy, inc1uding the most abstract,
in shacks. Socialism is the continuation of Hegelianism. 14 Marxism criticises because the subject who elaborates a philosophy is no abstract 'spirit' but a
Hegelianism and existentialism as so many varieties of idealism: objective concrete historical person whose reasoning reflects the totality of reality,
and subjective, However, where is the objective measure for the 'absolute- complete with his own social position. Every concept contains this 'socio-
ness' of one's own standpoint? Under what circumstances does an opinion economic content' as its moment of relativity, which is both a degree of
become the truth? Opinion becomes truth if it demonstrates and proves the approximation and imprecision, and the capacity to improve human
truth of its opinion. Tms includes demonstrating its own ability to cognition and to make it more precise. lnasmuch as every concept contains
comprehend through philosophical activity and reasoning the other stand~ a moment of relativity, every concept is both an historical stage of human
106 CHAPTER JI] nlALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 107

cognition and a moment of improving it. The theory of 'abolishing most arbitrary licence with which sorneone randomly perused the book's
philosophy', however, grasps the 'socio~economic content' of concepts beginning and end, and now pretends to have made a 'scientific' discovery in
subjectively. The transition from philosophy to a dialectical social theory juxtaposing them? What would science come to if it were to seareh fo.r
not only reaBzes the transition from philosophy to non~philosophy, but 'internal connections' between opening and closing sen ten ces? Such seepü-
aboye all reverses 1he meaning and the sense of concepts that philosophy cism could be further strengthened by noting that the third volume of
had discovered. The statement that a11 philosophical concepts of Marx's Capital was published post-humously and that its closing chapter remains a
theory are socio--economic categories expresses the double metamorphosis fragrnent. It is indeed possible that the entire fifty-second chapter is only an
Marxism has undergone in transition from philosophy to social theory. accidental conclusion. and that the entire suggestion of a more 'profound'
First, the historical reality Df discovering the character cf economics is connection between .the beginning and the end of the work, between
obscured. Secand, man is imprisoned in his subjectivity: far if all concepts commodities and classes, therefore stands Oll quicksand.
are in essence soCÍo-economic categories, and express only the social being We do not intend t.o examine the extent to which Engels' editing of
of man, then they turn into forms of man's self-expression, and every form Capital's third volume corresponds in every detail to Marx's intentions, and
of objectivation is only a variety of reification. whether Marx would indeed have concluded his work with a chapter on
Abolishing philosophy in dialeetieal social theory transforms the sig- c1asses. Speculations and hypotheses of this kind are all the less pertinent
nificance of the seminal 19th eentury discovery into its very opposite: since we see the connection between the opening and the conclusion of
praxis ceases to be the sphere of humanizing man, the process of forming a Capital not merely as a catenation of the first and the last sentences, but as
socio-human reality as well as man's openness toward being and toward the an immanent stIUcture and princip1e of the work's construction.
truth of objects; it turns into a closedness: socialness is a cave in which man We can thu8 formulate the original question more precisely: what is the
is walled in. Images, ideas and concepts that man takes for spiritual relation between the irnmanent structure of Capital and its external
reproductions of nature, of material processes and of objects existing organization? What is the connection between the principIe ofits construC·
independenOy of his consciousness, are in 'reality' a social projection, an non and its literary form? Are its analyses of commodities and c1asses only
expression of man's social position in the fonn of science or of objectivity. the startino- and closing points of the external organization of the subject-
In other words, they are false images. Man is walled in in his socialness. 1 6 matter or °does their co;nection reveal the strncture of the work? Though
Praxis which in Marx's philosophy had made possible both objectivation and these ;articular questions have so far not been posed in t.he literature, t~e
objective cognition, and man's openness toward being, tums into social problema tique they touch on 1S not new. It has appeared, for example, 111
subjectivity and closedness: man is a prisoner of socialness. 17 expositions of the points shared by Capital and Hegel's Logic, or in well·
known aphorisms that one cannot fully comprehend Capital without having
The Construction oI Capital studied and comprehended the whole of Hegel's Logic, and that though
The opening paragraph of Capital reads: 'The wealth of those societies in Marx did not leave behind a Logic, he did leave the logic of Capital. 1 8 These
which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as "an problems are also contained in the suggestion that Capital is both Marx's
immense accumulation of commodities", its unit being a single commodity. Logic and his Phenomenology.l 9 Finally, it transpires in the somewhat
Our investigation must therefore start with the analysis of a 'commodity'. artificially construed argrument over why Marx revised the original plan of
rhe concluding section of the entire work, the unfinished fifty-second Capital, 'in 1863', and substituted a new one for it, which is supposed to be
chapter of the third book, is devoted to an ana1ysis of elasses. What the basis for the final version. 2 o
conneetion is there between the beginning and the end of Capital, between At any rate, the carefully thought-out architecture and the minutely
its analysis of commodities and its analysis of classes? designed internal construction of the work are striking and prominent
The very question raises suspicions and doubts. ls not an attempt to features of Capital. Marx himself saw medt in that his work formed 'an
disguise in the garb of a srnart and heavy question the trivial faet that every artistic whole' (ein artistisches Ganzes). One might infer that the structure
work has a beginning and an end? Is this questioning not a cover-up for the of Capital is an 'artistic' affair concerning the literary treatment of the
!Os CHAPTER 1II DIALECTICS QF THE CONCRETE 109

subject-ma-tter. One rnight say that the author had mastered the subject- exchange value, and only then does he proceed to examine its essence - Le.,
matter scientifically, and then selected the fonn of an 'artistic whole' OI of a value.
'dialectical organization' for its literary shape. Changes of plan s couId then be Marx introduces his work by an analysis of a eommodity. What is a
easily explained as stages in the literary shaping ofthe subject-matter which cornmodity? A commodity 1S an external object and at first glance a simple
had been scientifical1y rnastered and analysed previously. But even when thing. It is the 'magnitude' with which the man of the capitalist society has
Marx discusses Capital as ao 'artistic whole', he emphasizes the difference his rnost frequent. daily contacto It is the self-evidence of this world. But in
between his üwn dialectical method and the analytical~comparative the course of his analysis, Marx praves that a comrnodity is banal and trivial
procedures of Jaeob Grimrn. 2 ! The architecture of Capital as an 'artistic only at first glance, whereas in reality it is rnystical and rnysterious. lt is not
whole' aI as a 'dialectical organization' thus has to do both with the literary only a sensory-int.uitive object but a sensory--transsensory thing at the
treatment of the subject-rnatter and with the method of its scientific same time.
expositian. At this point, interpretations usual1y halt. Here they have struck How does Marx know that a commodity is 'the concrete form of labor
pay dirt and can fruitfully investigat.e the logical structure of Capital, procluct', 'the simplest economic concretum', and 'a form of a cell' which in
camparisons of ident.ity and difference between Marx's logical concepts and a coneealed, undeveloped, abstraet way cantaillS all t.he basic determinations
t.hose of Hegel, or undert.ake the even more challenging t.ask of abstracting of capitalist economy? The finding that a commodity is the elementary
from Capital an entire system of cat.egories of dialecticallogic. economic form of capitalism can become the starting point af a scientific
But Capital is a work of economics and its logical structure must explication only if the entire subsequent process of prescntation substan-
therefore match in some way the st.ructure of the analysed reality. The tiates the appropriateness and necessity of this starting point. In order to
structure of Capital is not. a structure of logical cat.egories to which the start off with a commodity as a totality of capitalisrn's abstract and
reality under investigation and fue treat.ment. of it. are to be subordinated. undeveloped determinations, Marx already had to laww capitaUsro's
Rather, a sCientifically analysed reality is adequately expressed in a developed determinations. A commodity could become the starting pomt of
'dialectical organization'. 1t 1S executed and realized in a particular corres- a scienüflc presentation only because capitalism was known in its entirety.
ponding logical structure. From the methodological standpoint, this amounts to exposing the dialecti-
The peculiar character of reality is the cornerstone of the st.ructure of cal connections between the eIernent and totality, between the undeveloped
Capital as a 'dialectical organization', from which it can be comprehended gerro and the fully"fledged functioning system. The appropr.iatenes~ a~d ~e
and explained. The literary treatment in the 'form' of an artistic whole, the necessity of a cornmodity as the starting point for analysmg capliahsm lS
dialectical method of 'unfolding', and the revealing of the specific character substantiated in the first three books of Capital, Le. in its theoretieal parí.
of the reality under investigation are three fundamental components of the The second question is: Why did Marx arrive at this knowledge precisely in
structure of Capital. The first two are subordinat.ed t.o and implied by the the second half af the 19th century? This is answered in Capita!'s fourth
third. The external organization and the literary treatment. of the subject- book, T71eories of Surplus Value, Le, in its literary-historical part where
matter adequately express the eharaeter of the reality that has been Marx analysed the decisive periods in the development of modern econornic
invest.igated, Le. comprehended and scientifically explained. Consequently, thought.
the structure of Capital does not and eould not follow any single scheme. If Prom the elementary form of capitalist wealth and from an analysis of its
the universal scherne of Capital's construction were the progression frorn elements (the two-fold character of labor as a unity of use-value and value;
essence to appearance, from the hidden concealed kernel to the phenornenal exchange-value as the phenomenal form of value; the two-fold character of a
appearance,22 then the overall organization of the work, which does follow commodity as an expression of the two-fold character of labor), the
this scheme~ would radically differ from the exposition of det.ails which investigation proceeds to the real movement of commodities (to cornmodit.y
(frequently) proceeds in the very opposite direction, from the phenomenon exchange). lt depict.s capitalism as a system formed by the movement of the
to the essence. Marx analyses a cornrnodity, the simplest social fonu of 'autornatic subject' (value), with the system as a whole appearing as a
labor product under capitalism, first in its phenomenal forrn, i.e. as system of exploiting another's work, as one that reproduces itself on a larger
110 CHAPTER IJI DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 111

seale, Le. as a mechanism of dead labor ruling over Uve labor, object ruHng in the romantic form of Novalis' Heinrich von Olterdingen, Hegel's
over man, product over its produceT, the rnystified subject over the real Phenomenalogy af the Spirit and Marx's Capital a11 employ the 'odyssey'
. 24
subject, the object ruling aver the subject. Capitalism is a dynamic systern of motif in different realms of cu1tura1 creatlOn.
total reification and alienation, cyc1ically expanding and reproducing itself The odyssey of the spirit or the science of the experience of conscious-
through catastrophes in which 'peopIe' aet behind masks of officers and ness is not the only or universal type, but just one of the ways of 'realizing'
agents of this mechanism, Le. as its own components and elernents. an odyssey. Whereas the Phenomenalogy af the Spirit is 'the palh of natural
A commodity which at first appeared as an external object and a trivial consciousness which presses forward to true knowledge' Or 'the path of the
thing plays the role of a mystified and mystifying subjeet of capitallst soul that traverses a series of its own forms of embodiment as so many
econornics whose real movement forms the capitalist systern. Whether the stations' so that 'through the complete experience of its own self it may.
real subject of tbis social rnovement i8 value or cornmodity,23 the faet is arrive 'at the cognition of what it is in itse1f', 25 Capital turns out to be the
that three theoretical volumes of Marx's work trace the 'odyssey' of this 'odyssey' of concrete historical praxis which proceeds from the elementary
subject, Le. they describe the strueture af the eapitalist world (its economy) labor praduct through a series of real formations in which the p~actical~
as lormed by the subject's real mQlJement. To investigate the real world of spiritual activity of people in production is o?j~c:ifi.ed and fIxed, ~o
this subject means: (1) to determine the laws of its movemen~ (2) to conclude lts journey not in the cognition ofwhat It lS ID 1tse1f, but rather In
analyse the real individual shapes or farmatíans (Gestalten) that the subject a revolutionary practica1 action based on this cognition. For the odyssey of
forms in and for its movement, and (3) to present a picture of this the spirit, real forms of life are only indispensable mornents in the evolution
movement as a whole. of a consciousness progressing from ordinary consciousness to absolute
Only 110W have we developed the prerequisites for scientifical1y knowledge, from consciousness of the everyday life to the absolute
comparing and critically analysing Marx's Capital and Hegel's Phenome- knowledge of philosophy. In absolute knowledge, the movement is noi only
nology 01 the Spirit. Both Marx and Hegel anchor the construction of their completed, but also closed. Cognition of oneself ls activity, but of a
respective works in a common metaphorical motif current in the cultural particular kind: i t 1S an intel1ectual activity, Le. philosophy, performed b~ the
ITliHeu of their ti.--ne. This contemporary motif of literary, philosophical and Philosopher (th2t is, as a contemporary French commentator aptly puts It, by
scientific creation ls that of an 'odyssey: To know himseIf, the subject (be le Sage). . .
it the individual, individual consciousness, spirit, collectivity, etc.) must The opening paragraph of Capital emphasizes precisely the matenalz~t
journey through the world and get to know lhe world. Cognition of the character of philosophy, the basis for scientifically investigating economlC
subject ls possible only on the basis of this subject's own activity in the problems: precisely because it is not an odyssey of the spirit, it ~oes ~ot
world. The subject gets to know the world only by actively interfering in it, start with consciousness. Rather, it is an odyssey of a concrete hlstoncal
and only through actively transforming the world does he get to know form of praxis, and therelore it starts with a commodity. A commodity is
himself. Cognition of who the subject is means cognition of the subject's not only a trivial and a mystical thing, a simple thing with a two~fold
activity in the world. But the subject who retums to himself after having character an external object and a thing perceptible by the senses. Also, and
journeyed through the world is different from lhe subject who had started aboye an', it is a sensory~practical thing, a creation and an expression of a
out on the journey. The world which the subject has traversed is a different, partijcular historical form of socia~ labor. We ~an, now .for:nulate ~e original
changed world, because even the subject's journey has left its mark and question about the internal relatlOn of Capltal s begmmng a~d lis end, of
traces in it. But in addition, the world appears different to the subject as he commodities and classes, as follows: What is the connectlOn between
returns, because accumulated experience has influenced his way of seeing commodities as an historical [arm of people's social labor, and the
the world and has modified his attitudes to it in a certain way, in degrees practical~spiritual activity of social groups in production, Le. of ~lasses?
ranging fram conquering the world to resigning in it. Marx starts out with the historical form of the social product, descnbes the
Rousseau's 'history of the human heart' (Emile or Education), the laws of its movement, but his entire analysis culminates in finding that these
German Bildungsroman in lts classical form of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister or laws express in a certain way the social relations and the production activity
112 CHAPTER III DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 113

of producers. To depict the capitalist mode of production in its totality and construction of social being.
concreteness rneans to describe it not only as a lawlike process in itself, Le, It is incorrect to state that every economic category of Marx's Capital is a
as a process carried out without, and independently of, human conscious- philosophical calegory as well (H. Mareuse). 1t is true, lhough, lhal only a
ness, but a180 as a process whose laws deal with the way peopIe are cprlscious phi1osophical analysis which extends beyond the framework of a specialized
of both the process itself and of their pasitian in it. 2 6 Marx's Capital is not sdence and which discovers what reality is and how socio-human reality is
a theory but a theoretical critique or a critical theory of capital. Besides formed will enable one to comprehend the principie of economic categories
describing objective formations of capital's social rnovemertt and the fonns and thus provide the key for their critical analysis. Economic categories do
al consciousness of its agents that correspond to these formations, and not te11 what they are, but affect the liJe of society more like mysterious
besides tracing the objective laws of the system's functioning (complete hiereglyphs. The statement that social being is formed by interest, wages,
with its disturbances and erises), it a150 investigat.es the genesis and the money, rent, capital and surplus value will consequently sound arbitrary and
process of forming the subject who will carry out a reJlolutionary ·destruc- absurd, and rightly so. As long as it was tracing the movement of ecoriomic
tion of the system. A system has been described in its totality and categories, economic science never questioned what these categories are, and
concreteness if the immaneni laws of its movement and destruction have never even considered looking for the internal connections between these
been described. Recognizing, and becoming conscious of the character of categories and social being. On the other hand, a conception of reality
the system as one of exploitation is an indispensible condition for the entirely different from that of c1assical economics was needed in order to
odyssey of one historical form of praxis to culminate in a reJlolutionary discover this connection. The analysis of a certain reality, in this case of the
praxis. 27 Marx has described this recognition as an epoch-making conscious- economics of capitalism, 1s the work of science, of political economy.
ness. 28 However, to be real1y scientific and not to hover over the ffinges of science
(as does Moses Hess' philosophizing about economic phenomena, or the
doctrinaire systematization of ideas about economic reality, found in vulgar
MAN AND THING, OR THE CHARACTER OF ECONOMICS economics), it has to be anchored in a true conception of social reality, one
Our critica1 analysis has demonstrated both that individual reified aspects that neither is nar can be a matter for any specialized scientific discipline.
of economics are real moments of reality, and that these reified moments Economic categories are not philosophical categaries, yet the discovery
are fixed in theories and ideologies where they appear in different stages of of what they are, and thus also their critical analysis, necessarily starts frem
intellectual development as 'care', 'horno oeconomicus', or as the 'economic a philosophical conception of reality, science 1 and method. The critical
factor'. These guises of economics are both subjective and objective, they analysis which demonstrates that economic categories afe not what they
both exist for consciousness and reveal economics in particular ways. We appear to be and what uncritical consciousness presents them as, and which
have been searching them for approaches that would allow to detect the exposes their concealed inner kernel, also has to preve - if it wants to
proper character of economics. Apart from being a critique of concepts and maintain a scientific level - that their categorical appearance is a necessary
of real reified economic formations, our analysis has also uncovered certain manifestation of their concealed essence. This process, in which the
aspects of the character of economics itself. The following analysis will pseudo-concrete is abolished in arder to demonstrate it as a necessary
retrospectively shed more light on individual reified moments of reality. phenomenal form, transcends in no way the framework of philosophy (Le.
of Hegel). Only the proof that economic categories are historical forms of
Social Being and Economic Categories man's objectification and that as products of historical praxis they can be
If economic categories are 'forms of being' or 'existential determinants' transcended only by practical activity, will indicate the limits of philosophy
of the social subject, then their analysis and dialectical systematization and the point where revolutionary activity takes over. (The reason why
uncovers social being. It ls spiritually reproduced in the dialectical unfolding Marx followed in the footsteps of c1assical science and rejected romanticism,
of economic categories. This shows once again why economic categories in though at first glance it should have been the other way around, is this:
Capital cannot be systernatized in the progression of factual historicity or of while the classics presented an analysis of the objectual world, romanticism
formal logic, and why dialeclical unfolding is the only possible logical was only a protest against this world's inhumanity. and in this sense was also
114 CHAPTER III DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 115

Hs product, Le. something derivative and secondary.) The analysis of ary praxis) provides the grounds for exposing the character of economic
economic categories is not presuppositionless: it assurnes a conception of categories and for analysing thern, then social reality can be in tum
reality as a practical process of producing and reproducing the social mano constructed from these categories. The economic structure of society is
Such an analysis discovers in economic categories basic DI elernentary forms spiritual1y reproduced in the systern of economic categories. It is then a1so
of objectification, Le. of the objective existence of ruan as a social being. It possibIe to discover what econornics actually Is, and to distinguish that
is of CQurse true, and regardless of all romantic protestations c1assical which amounts to reified and mystified forms of economics or to its
economics was correet on this point, that economics as a system and as a necessary external phenomena from economics in the proper sense of the
totality requires and forms a ruan that suits its own perspective. It word. Economics is 110t only the production of material goods; it 1S the
incorporates ruan into its system to the extent to which he posesses totality of the process of producing and reproducing man as a socio-
particular characteristics, to the extent, that is, to which he is reduced to historical being. Economics 1S the production of material goods but a1so of
31
the 'economic man', But economics is the objectifled and realized unity of social relations, of the context of this production.
subject and object, it is the elementary form of objectification, of man's What bourgeois and reformist critics take to be the 'speculative',
objectified practical activity, and precisely therefore this relationship creates 'messianic', or 'Hegelizing' part of Capital is only an external expression of
Dot only objective social wealth but also subjective qualities and capacities the fact that beneath the world of objects, beneath the movement of prices,
of people. 'Not only do the objective conditions change in t11e act of commodities and of different forms of capital, whose laws he expressed in
reproduction, e.g. the village becomes a town, the wilderness a cleared fIeId, exact formulas, Marx exposed the objective world of social relations, Le. fue
etc., but the producers change, too, in that they bring out new qualities in object-subject dialectics. Economics is the objective world olpeople and 01
themselves, develop themselves in production, transform themselves, their social products; it is not the objectual world 01 the social movement of
develop new powers and ideas, new modes of intercourse, new needs and things. The social movement of things which masks social re1ations of
new language.'2 9 peopIe and of their products is one particular, historically transient form of
Economic conditions express 'forms of being' or 'existential determina* economics. As long as this historical form of economics exists, Le. as long as
Hons' of the social subject only in their totality which, far from being just a the social form of labor creates exchange.value, there also exists a real
pile of categories, forms a dialectical construction deterrnined and consti· prosaic rnystification. When rnystified, particular relations into which
tuted by an 'al1*controlling power', Le. by that which forrns the universal individuals enter in the course of producing their sociallife appear inverted,
'ether of being', as Marx puts it. AH other categories taken by themselves as social relations of things. 3 2
and in isolation express only its individual facets and partial aspects. Only In a11 these manifestations, both economics as a whole and individual
when these categories dialectically unfold and when their construction economic categories show themselves as a particular ,diaIectics of persons
suggests the internal organization of a given society's economic structure, and things, Economic categories, which in one respect fix social relations of
only then does each of the economic categories acquire its own real sense, things, illcorporate within themselves peopIe as agents of econornic rela-
only then does it turn into a concrete historical category. It is then possible tions. The analysis of economic relations is a twofold critique: First, it
to discover in each of these categories the following - either in essence (for demonstrates the faiIure of earlier classical economic ana1yses to adequat·
basic economic categories), or in a certain aspect (for auxiliary categories): ely express this movement; in this sense the critical analysis is a
(J) a certain form of the sociowhistorical objectification of man, since as continuation of classical economics: it rectifies the latter's contradictions
Marx rernarks, production is in essence the objectification of man;3 o and shortcomings and presents a more profound and a more universal
(2) a certain concrete historicaIlevel of the subject-object relationship; analysis. Second, and this is where Marx's theory 1S a critique of economics
and in the proper sense of the word, it exhibits the real mOJ1ement 01 economic
(3) the dialectics of the historical and the trans·historical, i.e. the unity categories as a reified lorm 01 the social movementofpeople, This critique
of ontological and existential determinations. discovered that categories of the social movement 01 things are necessary
If this new concept of reality (the discovery of praxis and of revolution· and historically transient existential lorms 01 the social mOJlement 01
116 CHAPTER 1II DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 117

people. Marxist economics thus originates as a twofold critique of economic impIy that it is adequately uncovered in their consciollsness. In their
cat.egories, or, stated positively, as an analysis of the historical dialectics of everyday utilitarian praxis, peopIe are more prone to become aware of social
people and things in production, grasped as the socio-historical production being in its separate aspects and in its fetishised forms. How is man's social
of objective wealth and o[ objective social relations. being exposed in economic categories? Does one disc10se social being by
~n capitalist economies, things and persons become interchangeable. translating it into the corresponding economic category, 5uch as capital,
Thmgs are personified and persons are reified. Things are invested wíth a land tenure, sman-seale production, monopoly, etc., or into the facticity of
wiIl and a consciousness, Le. their ffiovement is conscious and willful, and conditions and data of economic history7 In such a translation, certain
people turn into agents and exceutars of the rnovernent of things. The will forms or isolated moments would be substituted for social being, so that the
and consciousness of peopIe are determined by the objective course of assignment of cultural formations to being, conceived in this way, could not
things: the movement of things employs the will and consciousness of go beyond vulgarization, a thousand times though it might assert that the
people as its own medium. relationsmp between 'economics' and 'culture' is of course understood in a
The lawlíke character of things that fol1ows from their social movement 'mediated' and 'dialectical' fashion. The approach 1S vulgar not for a lack of
is transposed in human consciousness as an aim and an objective; the mediation, but in its very manner of grasping social being. Social being is no
subjective purpose is objectified and functions independently of individual substance, rigid 01' dynamic, and neither is it a transcendental entity existing
consciousness as a tendency or a raison d'étre of the thing. The 'Raison independently of subjective praxis. Rather, it 1S the process olproducing
d'etre, inner drive, tendency' ofvalue and commodity production appears in and reproducing social reality, i.e. the historical praxis 01 mankind and
the consciousness of the capitalist, which had mediated this raison d'étre as lorms 01 its objectification. Economics and economic categories are on the
his own conscious intention 3nd purpose.3 3 ' one hand incomprehensible without objective praxis and without answering
If one traces and formula tes the law1ike character of the social movement the question, how 1S social reality formed; but on the other hand, inasmuch
of things, for which man (horno oeconomicus) is merely an agent or a as they are the basic and elementary forros of man's objectification, they are
character mask, it becomes immediately obvious that this reality is only a the constitutive elements of social being. 'When we consider bourgeois
real semblance. At first s1ght, man in the economic production might appear society in the long run and as a whole', and this is how Marx sums up the
as a mere personification of fue social movement of things and as a connections among social being, praxis, and economics, 'then the final resuli
conscious executor (agent) of this movemen 1. 34 of the process of social production always appears as the society itself, Le.
Furt~er analysis, however, abolishes this real semblance. and proves that the human being itself in its social relations. Everything that has a fixed
the SOCTaI mOVement 01 things is an historical lorm 01 contact among form, such as the product, etc., appears as merely a moment, a vanishing
people, and that reified consciousness is only one historical lorm 01 human moment, in tbis movement. The direet production process itself here
consciousness. appears onIy as a moment. The conditions and objectifications of the
Economic categories from which social being has been constructed and process are themselves equally moments of it, and its only subjects are the
which amount to the existential forms of the social subject are not therefore individuals, but individuals in mutual relationships which they equally
expres5ions of the rnovement of things, or of sodal relations among people, reproduce and produce anew. The constant process of their own
that would be severed from the people themselves and from their movement, in which they renew themselves even as they renew the world of
consciousness. Rather, fixed in economic categories are social relations of wealth they create,.36 Social being is not 'contained' in economic categories
~roduction which traverse human consciousness but are independent of it, and in their dialectical organization, it is [zxed there. A theoretical analysis
Le. make use of the consciousness of individuals for their own existence and will therefore expose social being in fue system of economic categories only
for their own movement. The capitalist is a social relation decked out after 'dissolving' the1r fixed attachments, once it conceives of them as an
wi th a Vlill and a consciousness, mediated by things, and manifested in their expression of people's objective praxis and of their interconnected social
movement. 3 s relations at a particular his torical stage of development.
Social being determines the consciousness of peopIe but that does not
118 CHAPTER III DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 119

Philasaphy af Labor does it then denote yet another discipline of the humanities investiga1:ed
So deeply is the connectian between economics and labor raoted in ideas from the philasophical standpoint?
of science and of everyday consciousness that nothing seems easier than to The problematique which we are subsuming under the expression
analyse labor in arder to grasp the character of economics, ay conversely, to 'philosophy of labor' has appeared in importan 1: historical junctures of
slash through the thicket of economics in order to comprehend labor. This modern European thought: in the Renaissance (G. Manetti, Pico della
apparent self·evidence is, however, misleading. Far from guiding the Mirandola, Carolus Bovillus), in Hegel's philosophy, and in Marx. Problems
investigation toward an analysis of labor, it smuggles in a different problem of a 'philosophy o[ labor' are an ear1y aspect of the question: 'Who is man?'
and orients science toward describing and analysing work processes or To avoid possible misunderstanding, we have to add this: The problem of
toward historical and systematic surveys of work activities, generalized labor as a philosophical question accompanies questions concerning the
under a 'definition of work', These definitions describe aI generalize work being of man only providing tllat the question 'Who is man?' is conceived as
activity, or work in its empírical form, but leave problems of labor an ontological one. The 'ontology ofman' is not an anthropalogy.39 The
untouched. Socio1ogy of work, psycho1ogy of work, lheo10gy of work, problem of labor as a philosophical question and as a philosophy ol labor is
physiology of work or economic analyses of work, and the corresponding based on an ontology of mano 1he connection of labor with the
sociological, psychological, economic, etc. concepts a11 deal with and fix philosophical problema tique of above·mentioned currents of thought is thus
particular aspects of labor. However, they take the central question, of what more than just factuaL The incredulous observation that no philosophy of
4
labor is, for granted as an unexamined and uneritically accepted assumption labor has been developed since Marx's time o is .meaningful only when
(and so-called scientific investigation is consequently based on an unscienti- coupled with another observation, that materialist philosophy is also the
fic bias), ar they cansciously excise it out of science as a 'rnetaphysical '1ates1:' 'onto]ogy of man' ~ in that it has not been rendered obsolete by
questian'.37 Sociological definitions ofwork that attempt to avoid abstract- history.41
ness and to exclude metaphysics present a generalized descriptian of work In its essence and universality, labor is not work activity ar a job that
processes or of work activity but never penetrate to problems of labor. man does, and which would in turn influence his psyché, his habits and
From the standpaint af sociology of work it is a priori impossible to get at thinking, Le. limited aspects of human being. Labor is a happening which
the problem oflabor. Though it may seem that nothing ls more familiar and permeates man's en tire being and constitutes his specificity. Only such
trivial than labor, this familiarity and triviality tums out to be based on a thinking as that which discovered that something essential ls happening to
substitution: the everyday image of work and its sociological systemization man and to his being in the process of working,4 2 and which beheld the
does not deal with the essence and with the universal character of labor; necessary internal connection between the questions, 'What lS labor?' and
rather, the term 'work' connotes work processes, work routines, different 'Who is man?', couId initiate a scientific investigation of al! forms and
kinds of work, etc. A 'philosophy o[ labor' therefore does not reflect upon manifestations of labor (including its economic problems), as well as of a11
sociological definitions and findings or data gathered by anthropologists, forms and manifestations of human reality. Inasmuch as labor lS a doing and
psychologists and physiologists. Its task is not to generalize partial findings a happening in which something happens with man and with his being, as
of various sciences, let aJone to present an apology for a particular historical we11 as with his world, the interest of philosophy understandably concentra-
form of labor. 38 Phllosophy does not offer an analysis ofwork processes in tes on clarifying the character of this 'happening' and of this 'doing', on
their 1:otality or in their historical development, but rather deals with a discovering the secret of this 'something'. This problematique is frequently
single question: What is labor? dispatched with the suggestion that labor 1S the paint where causality and
Except, does the term 'philosophy of labor' not misuse the notian or the teleology conjoin and unify in a specific manner, or where the animal is
43
concept of philosophy? Why does an analysis oflabor require a philosophi- transformed into the human, Le. that it is the locus of man's genesis.
cal examination, why can it not be performed within me framework of a Correet though such analyses may be, they amount to no more than pardal
specialized science? Or is perhaps this expression parallel to those of know1edge. They bypass lhe prob1ematique which is revea1ed in finding that
'philosophy of games', 'philosophy of 1anguage' or 'philosophy of art', and in addition to the dialectical pairs which this analysis does list and
l
¡
120 CHAPTER III DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 121
investígate - causality-teleology and animality-humanity - other dialecti· dialectics as indeed dialectics. And should the analysis of dialectical
cal pairs can be discovered in the happening of labor too, such as necessity happening of labor be internally connected with the being of man, then the
aud freedom, the particular aud lhe general, the real and lhe ideal, lhe happening of labor will simultaneously expose man's specificity.
internal and the external, theory and praxis, roan and nature, etc. 44 Does The specificity of man's being is frequently ílluminated by contrasting ít
perhaps the pair causality-teleology occupy a privileged position in the wilh the being of a beast or with the being of things, What makes man
investigation of the problem of labor, or did the investigative procedure different from a stone, a beast or a machine? As a dialectician, Hegel
omit other dialectical pairs because it was not systematic enough? How can pinpointed the dífference between man and beast in the area which they
the completeness of a systematic series of dialectical pairs be assured? And both essential1y share: in the sphere of animality. Harnessing the animal
would it follow that labor is a privileged eategory on the basis of whieh an 45
craving and interposing a mediating element - labor - between this
entire system of dialectical categories can be constructed, OI that a system craving and its satiation is not only a process of transforming animal craving
of dialectical categories is to be anchored in the concept of labor, as its into human craving,4 6 a process through which man is born, but it is also an
natural and necessary center? elementary model of d¡alectics itself The transformatíon of animal craving
This analysis is not usually criticized for being unsystematic, when it into human craving, the humanizing of craving on the basis and in the
focuses on and t.hus privileges one or two dialectical pairs from a whole process of labor, is only ane aspect of the happening of labor. In other
range of them. The oneHsidedness of this approach does, however, have one words: the aeeess to the happening of labor whieh we gained by
fundamental shortcoming: the arbitrary and oneHsided selection amounts to distinguishing animal and human cravings will lead to grasping this
an incapacity to scientifically formulate the problem, and makes it impossi H happening~ providing however that the happening wi11 not be viewed as a
bIe to penetrate t.o the essence of the question. lnasmuch as the concept of unique or an isolated metamorphosis and that it wil1 be exposed as
labor is exhausted or characterized by one or two dialectical pairs, or by metamorphosis in general. Labor is a happening, and what happens is a
some incomplete set of them, the elements of these pairs will stand out as metamorphosis, Le. dialectical mediation. The dialectical mediation of this
categories, and the ana1ysis of labor will turn eHher in to an analysis or happening does not balance opposites, nor are opposites constituted in an
systematization 01' categoties, complete OI incomplete, or into a particular antinomy. Rather, in the process of transfarmation a ullity of opposites 1S
example or instance (causality and teleology, etc.) used to clarify these farmed. A dialecticai metarnorphosi'i is a metamorphosis in which new is
categories. The critique of the shortcomings of partial analyses thus does fonned. A dialectical metamorphosis i5 the genesis of what is qualitatively
not. caH for their completion, for generating a systematic series of partial new. The same act of mediation in which animality begets humanity and in
analyses, but rather highlights the question: Wherein lies Ihe specificity of which animal craving is transformed into hurnanized craving, into the craving
those dialectical pairs which are to describe labor? for being craved, Le. the craving for recognition, also forms the three~
The general characterization of labor as a happening and a doing in which dimensionality al human time: only a being which transcends the nihilisrn
something happens with man and his being has to have sorne connectíon of its animal craving in labor will in the act of harnessing its craving unCQver
with the dialectical pairs employed to describe labor. There is no specific a [uture as a dimension of its being. Through work, man controls time
connection between the causality-teleology pair on the one hand, and (whereas the beast is exclusively controlled by time l, beeause the being that
other pairs, such as the particular and the universal, freedom and necessity can resist irnmediate satiation of its craving and can 'actively' harness it
or real and ideal, on fue other hand, except for their general dialectical forms a present as a function of the future, while making use of the past. In
character. If there were a connection between the dialectics of these pairs its doing it uncovers the threewdimensianality 01 time as a dimension ofits
and the happening of labor, would this connection not uncover a dialectics own being. 4 7
of the happening and the happening of dialectics? That is, will the character Having transcended the level of instinctive activity, and having tumed
of the happening of labor and the cantent of the dialectics not be specified lnto an exc1usively human doing, labor transforms the given, the natural and
in the pairs used to describe labor'! Dialectical pairs can describe labor and the non~human, and adapts it to human needs even as it realizes human
its happening adequately, as long as this happening is revealed in their intentions in material of nature. Nature thus appears to man in -a double
122 CHAPTER 1II DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 123

light: it stands out as a power and an objectivity that has to be respected, consciousness. The existence of objectified artifacts is a prerequisite of
whose laws have to be recognized 'so that roan may use them to his own history, i.e. of continuity in human existen ce. In this context it becomes
advantage, yet it sinks to the level of mere material in which human elear why a profound and realistic view of socio-human reality appreciates
intentions are realized. Man gives full rein to natural force s that exist the tool more than the intention, and emphasizes its central position in
independently of him to aet to his Qwn advantage and in his own interest, stating that the to01 is 'reasonable mediation' between man and the object.
but he also objectifies himself in nature and in the material of nature, In intellectual history, this Une has been advocated by those philosophers
thereby degrading it to mere material for his own meanings. (We shall deal who emphasized t11e significance of the human hand and its connection with
in greater detail with this problem of mutual activity and passivity between man's reason. Anaxagoras has said that 'it is the possession of hands that
man and nature in Chapter Four.) Labor is both a transformation of nature, makes man t11e wisest of living things'. Aristotle, and G. Bruno after him,
and a realization of human meanings in i1. Labor is a happening or a doing have described the hand as 'the tool of tools'. Hegel completes lhis lineo By
in which the unity of man and nature is constituted in a certain way, on contrast, romantic phllosophy expresses its disdain for technology and
the basis of their mutual transformation: roan objectifies hlmself in labor and utopically denounces a world in which 'man is lost in his to01s'.
the object is tom out of its original context, adapted and processed. There is a widespread opinion that man is the only being aware of its
Through labor, mau is objectified aud lhe objeet is humanized. In mortality: on1y he faces a future opening up ahead, with death at its end.
humauizing nature and in objectifying (realizing) meanings man forms a The existentialist interpretation of thls opinion idealistically distorts it.
human world. Man lives in a world (of his own artifacts and meanings), From the finitude of man's existence it infers that objectification 1S a form
whereas the animal is tied to conditions of nature. of flight from authenticity, namely from being-toward-death. But man
The constitutive element of labor is objectivity. Objectivity of labor knows bis mortality only because he organizes time, on the basis of labor as
means, first, that the result of labor is a product which has duration, that objective doing and as the process of forming socio--human reality. Without
labor has sense only if it 'constantIy undergoes a transformabon: from being th1S objective doing in which man organizes time into a future, a present and
motion (Unruhe), it becomes an object without motion; from being the a past, man could not know his totality.
labor working, it becomes the thing produced (Gegenstdnd-
lichkeit)'48 _ that is, if it appears as a cyc1e of activity and duration, of
movement and objectivity. When the labor process is over, the product of Labor and Economics
labor in the broad sense of the word endures as its end result and its We had expected OUT analysis of labor to clarify the characrer of
incarnation. What had appeared as progression in ame during the labor economics but it has led us to the 'ontology of man' instead. This digression
process, appears as the condensation or abolition of the time succession, as was a necessary detour which brought us closer to the problem. The
inertness and duration, in the product oflabor. In the labor proc'ess, results phllosophical analysis might not have told us what economics is, but it did
of past labor are transformed while realizing intentions of the future. The uncover certain fundamental features of man's being. On the other hand, it
three.dimensionality of human time as a constitutive dimension of man's has turned out that in arder to grasp labor as labor; as distinct from work
being 1S anchored in labor as man's objectiJle doing. The three·dimensionality activity, work routines and from particular historical forms of labor, it has
of time and the temporality of man are based on objectification. Without to be interpreted as a specific happening or as a specific reality that
objectlfication there is no temporality.49 As objective doing, labor 1S a constitutes and permeates man's en tire being. Earlier analytical attempts
special mode of identity of time (temporality) and space (extension), as two described labor by using dialectical pairs such as causality-teleology,
fundamental dimensions of human being, of a specific form of man's animality-humanity, subject-object, etc., with labor itself standing out as
movement in the world. an 'active center' in which the dialectical unity of these pairs were realized.
Second, the objective character of labor is a manifestation of man as a They outlined the essential features of labor but did not capture its
practical being, Le. of an objective subject. In labor, man leaves behind specificity. Earlier characteristics included man's doing in general but did
something permanent, something that exists independently of individual not distinguish among its different kinds.
124 CHAPTER III DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 125

The medieval ruler would never have considered ruling as labor, nor specificity of labor, namely that labor is a human doing which transcends
would he have thought of himself as working when involved in political the realro of necessity and fonns within it real prerequisites of human
decision·making. And as Marx noted, Caesar or Aristotle would have been freedom,52 even without leaving i1.
positively insulted by the very title 'laborer'. Does this mean that political Freedom does not disclose itself to man as an autonomous realm,
activity, science and art are not labor? A sweeping negative answer would be independent of labor and existing beyond the boundaries of necessity.
just as incorfect as the assertion that science, politics and art indeed are Rather, it grows out of labor which is its necessary prerequisite. Human
so
laboL Where i8 the limit of labor, aI the measure of its distinctive" doing is not split into two autonomous realros, rnutually independent and
ness? OI do perhaps the mentioned kinds ofman's doing amount to labor only indifferent, one of which would incarnate freedom and the other constitute
under sorne circumstances and not under others? the arena of necessity A philosophy of labor, Le. of an objective human
Art has always been considered a human activity and a human doing par doing through which, in ihe happening of necessity, real prerequisites of
excellence, a free creation distinct from labor. Hegel posits genuine labor in freedom are formed, is eonsequen tiy also a philosophy of not-1abor. The
the place of artistic creation which had been the only kind of praxis for objective doing of man that transforms nature and imprints into it his
Schelling. Hegel's is both a more democratic and a more profound view of meanings is a unified process which, though performed out of necessity and
human reality. This distinction should not, however, obscure the other side under pressure of extraneous purposiveness, also realizes the prerequisites of
of the problem. For Schelling, as for Augustin Smetana and Edward freedom and free creation. The splitting of this unified process into two
Dembowski, artistic creation was a free 'praxis', i.e. a kind of human doing seemingly independent realros dúes not follow from the 'nature of the
that is not subject to outside necessity, and is explicitly characterized by matter' but is historically a transient state. As long as consciousness is a
'independence on extraneous purposes'. Human doing is thus divided into captive of this split, it will not behold its historical character and will
two areas: in one it is performed under pressure of necessity and is called juxtapose labor and freedom, objective activity and ímaginatíon, technology
5
labor, in the other it is realized as free creation and is calJed art. s 1 This and poetry as two independent ways of satiatíng the human drive. 3
distinction 1S correct insofar as it succeeds in capturing the specificity of On the other hand it 1S natural that the romantic absolutization of
labor as such an objective doing of man which is instigated and dreams, imagínation and poetry will accompany, as its faithful alter ego, any
constitutively determined by extraneous purpose, whose satisfaction is '"fanaticism of labor' - Le. fu"1Y historical form of production in which the
dubbed natural necessity or social obligation. Labor 1S human doing unity of necessity and freedom is rea1ized through separating labor from joy
involved in the realm of necessity. Man labors insofar as his doing is (pie asure, bUss, happiness), or as a unity of opposites which are personified
provoked and determined by the pressures of outside necessity, the in antagonistic social groups. 54 Such human doing which is determined only
satisfaction of which supports his existence. One and the same activity can by internal purposiveness and does not depend on natural necessity or social
be both labor and not-labor, depending Oil whether or not it is performed as obligation is not labor but free creation, ¡rrespective of the realm in which
a natural necessity, Le. as a necessary prerequisite of existence. Aristotle did it is realized. The real realm of freedom thus begins beyond the boundaries
not labor. A professor of philosophy does, because his translations and of labor, although precise1y labor forms its indispensible historiea1 basis.
interpretations of Aristotle's Metaphysics are an occupation, i,e. a sOcial1y 'The realm of freedom actually begins only where labor which is determined
conditioned necessity to acquire material means of livelihood and existence. by necessity and mundane considerations ceases; thus in the very nature of
Dividing human doing into labor (the realm of necessity) and art (the s
things it Hes beyond the sphere of actual material production: s
realm ?f freedom) captures the problem of labor and not-labor only These considerations dispel the impression that labor belongs in and of
approxlmately and In some of ltS aspects. This distinction is based on a itself to economics, or ihat it is characterístically a 'natural' economic
definite histon'cal form of labor as an unexamined and thus uncritically concept. So far we have found nothing economic about labor. We have,
accepted assumption, which leads to petrifying a particular historically however, reached fue point of exposing both the internal connection
generated divisioil of labor into that which is material~physical, and that between economics and labor, and the character of economics. Economics is
which is spiritual. This distinction conceals another essential feature of the neither exclusively the realrn of necessity nor the realm of freedom; it is a
DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 127
126 CHAPTER III

sphere of human reality in which a unity of necessity and freedom and of sense is the creator of a specific historical form of wealth. From the
animality and humanity is historically formed. Economics is the realm of economic standpoint, labor turos out to be the regulator and the active
necessity (of the objective doing of labor) in which historical prerequisites structure of social relations in production. As an economic category, labor is
5
of human freedom are ¡ormed. Our analysis of labor has led liS to two a socio-productive activity that forms a specific kiod of social wea1th. 8
important findings about economics. The first concerns the origin of A1though labor in general is the presupposition for labor in its economic
economics. Because we approached the investigation of economics from an sense the two are not identical. The labor that forms the wealth of the
analysis of labor, economics turned out to be primarily not a ready-made capit~list society is not labor in general but is rather a particular labor, it .is
economic structure of reality, an already-formed historical base and unity of the abstract-concrete labor, Le. labor with a two-fold character, and only 10
production forces and production relations, but rather a socio-human this form does it belong in ecooomics.
reality in the process oi fonnation, a reality based an man's objective-
practical doing. Second, we established the position of economics in me
socio-human reality: economics occupies the central positioo io this
reality, because it is the arena for the historical metamorphosis through NOTES
which rnan lS formed as a reasooable beiog and a social creature, through
) F or example, Jean Domarchi writes that 'viewed from a historical perspective,' the
which man is humanized. Economics is located at the point where aoimality
Marxist analysis is dialectical, and it portends what phenome.nol~gy would be: La
is humanized and where the unity of necessity and freedom lS realized. In revue internationale, París 1945~6, pp. 154~67. Pierre Naville m the same l~su.e
this sense, ecooomics appears as the conjunction of human re1ations and the answers Domarchi in his artide 'Marx ou Husserl' and rejects the proposed symbl.os~s
souree of humao reality. of Marxism and phenomenology. However, he faHs victím to naturallst and mechamstlc
errots, and the discussion can therefore not be considered dosed. .
Two extreme opinions will serve to illustrate misuoderstandings 1P. Bigo, Marxisme et humanisme: Introduction a l'oeuvre de Marx, Pans 1954, p. 7.
eoncerning the position of economics in the system of human reality. J lbid., p. 21. . 1h t 'th
4 'Marx's confrontation with philosophy resulted in the same c?nclus!O,n as ,a W.I
Schelling, who generally sought a 'higher neeessity' and a 'tme reality' economists. Marxíst polítical economy is aboye a11 an analySls. of eXisten ce. lbld.,
behind empirical phenomena, was so shocked by the supremacy of 'economic !) 3.1 The general false interpretation leads this Thomist author in a number of places
interest' in his time, that he could not extricate himself from the bondage of ~~ h~rdi; excusable errors and mystifications. Big~ descrit:es Marx's. criti~ue of
capitalist fetishism as a 'subjectivization of value'. In ltself,.thls formulatlOn ml~ht.be
these reified empirical facts and in this instan ce did oot even search for the
considered just a 11tt1e c1umsy, providing it meant that MarXlsm translates the obJe~tJve
'true reality'. What is eeonomics, Schelling asked: commerce, sugar beet, and reified ~haracter of social wealth into objectiveactivity, 1.e: poin;s to.the.ge,n~sls ~f
breweries and cattle raising,?S6 The second extreme is the apioian which this reified resulto Marxism coutd be associated with the attnbute subJ~cttve In 1hIS
pIaces econamícs on the periphery of human reality and takes it to be a sense; Le, as a theory exposing the historical subject ?f s?~ial .wealth. B:&.o, h?we.ver,
takes the 'subjectivization of value' to mean .its de~obJectlftcatlO.n and spIT1tuah~atlOn,
sphere concerned exc1usively with physical needs, a sphere of satiating the as shown in his interpretation of Marx's critique of th~ PhYSlO~rats. ~arx dtd not
elementary needs of man as a physiological, bialogical, animal being. criticize the Physiocrats' concept of value for its materialIsm, as Blgo be]¡~ves, b~~ for
Eeonomics is consequently seeo as playing a decisive role only in extreme its naturalism, which of course ís something entirely different. A more d.etalled cnt:que
of Thomist ínterpretations of Marx's work is presented in R. Garauay, Hun:amsme
situations when all human interests are cast aside aod when a11 that 1S left 1S marxiste, París 1957, pp. 61[[" and L. Goldmann, Recherches dialectiques, Pans 1959,
the urgent need to eat, be warm, be dad. Economics would become a pp.303ff " ." • h" 1
determining factor at times of famine, war, natural catastrophes. When does 5 Joseph Schumpeter has been a persistent proponent of Bus posItlOn .. l'rom IS ear Y
essay Epochen der Dogmen-··und Methodengeschichte, of 19.14, up to .hls recen t books,
man live by economics, when lS he determined by economics'? When he has such as Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, he has ~onslstently dlvorced M.a~x the
oothiog to eat and is cold, our author says.5 7 economist from Marx the philosopher. 'Wenn Marx m der Tat aus metaphy slschen
If we inquire about the relationship between labor and the forming of Spekulationen materielle Gedankenelemente oder auch nur die Methode erborg~
hatte, so ware er ein armer Schacher, nicht wert ernstgenomm~n ~u werden. Aber el
socio-human reality, we sha11 diseover nothing economic about labor. hat es nicht getan ... Kein metaphysischer Obersatz, nur - nchtlge o~er ,falsche ~
Labor as man's objective doing in which the socio-human reality isfonned Tatsachenbeobachten und Analyse hat ihn in seiner Werkstatt beschii.ftlgt. Dogmen-
is labor in the philosophical sense, On the other hand, labor in its economic geschichte, p. 81.
128 CHAPTER 1ll DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 129

6 'A science of pure facts is absurd', Otto Morf correctly points out in Das Verhiiltnis 18 Lenin, Philosophical Notebooks, in Collected Works, vol. 38, Mos.e?w 1961, I?' 180.
von Wirtschaftstheorie und Wirtschaftsgeschichte bei Kar! Marx, Basel 1951, p. 17. It H ís known fuat Lenin had not read the Phenomenology of the Spmt. In t~e hght of
follows from OUT previous exposition that Schumpeter's is but one of the possible this simple faet, the argument of French philosophers ov~r whe,ther trac~mg, d?wn
interpretations of Capital, which Morf's critique misses. connections between Capital and LogiC would be a manifestatlon of matenahsm,
? Most Marxist interpreters see it as a posttive development, whereas Christian and whereas tracking down connections between Capital and Phenomenology would be a
existentialist Marxologists see jt as a degeneration. Both instan ces stem from a false manifestation of idealism, acquires a particularly ridiculous charader.
idea and a false intcrpretation of Capital. 19 Jean Hyppolite, Studies in Marx and Hegel, New York 1969, P', 137, As v:e shall
e Marx's develop~ent i5 taken as a transition from a phiJosophical cancept of alienation demonstrate later, the author never got beyond merely stating thlS connectlOn, !l,e
to the economlC cancept of cornmodity fetishism, or as a transition [rom the mentioned some accidental points of contact between Phenomenology of the Splrlt
subject-obj~ct dial~ctics to the object~object 'dialectics'. (see 'Sur le jeune Marx', and Capital, which, however, are períphera! to the thing itself. ..
Recherches mternatlonales, no. 19, París 1960, pp. 173f, 189.) These authors have not 2 o The argulllent was provoked by Henryk ?ros~nl:~nn' s ~aper" 'Die A,nderun~ d~S
noticed that their 'transitions' result in an amazing transformation of Marx himself ~ ursprünglichen Auwauplanes des Marxschen Kapltal und lh:e ~rsachen ,Archlv fu~
into a positivist. Geschichte des Sozialismus und Arbeiterbewegung, LelpZJg, vol. 14 (1929),
~In essence, it amount~ to t~e ~ame case of idealism and utopia fuat Marx had exposed 305-338. However, Marx's manuscripts that were published later d~mon~trate that
m fue pet1t~bourgeOls soclahsm of Proudhonists: 'Was diese Sozialisten von den Grossmann proceeded from unwarranted premises; ~OnSeqllently, hlS da~ll1g of tl1e
bürgerlichen Apologeten ul1terscheidet, ist auf der einen Seite das Gefühl de! suspected change in plan (Summer 1863) is incorrect, smce Marx had a detailed plan?f
Wi?ersprüche des Systems, andererselts der Utopismus, den notwendigen Unterschied the final shape of Capital ready by the end of 1862, (See Ma:x-Enge,~s-1-rchlv
Z\Vl8Chen der realen und idealen Gestalt der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft nicht zu Moscow 1933, p. xii.) More recent autbors, e.g. Q. ,Morf m Verhaltms van
begreifen, und daher das überf1üsslge Geschaft zu übernehmen, den idealen Wirtschaftstheorie, accept Grossmann's theses with reservatlOflS or eve~ fully (cf. e.g,
Ausdr~ck, da~ ver~Hirte und van der Wirklichkeit selbst als solehes aus sich geworfene Alex Barbon, 'La dialectique du Capital', La revue intern~tiona!e, Pans 1946, no. 8,
refleküerte LlChtblld, ,~~tbst wieder verwirkIíchen zu wollen'. Marx, Grundrisse del' pp. 124ff), but none of fuem question the way the problem ltself lS postulated.
Kr~t~k del' politischen Okol1omie, BerEn 1953, p, 916; cf. aiso p. 160 (248 Ín English 21Marx's letter to Engels, 31 July 1865 (Werke, vol. 31, p. 132), [Selected
edltlOn). Correspondence, New York, 1942, p, 204.]
10 'When reason has been established as the rationa! organization of mankind nCr: Hyppolite, op. cit., p. 139. " 1 ' '

philosophy is left without an object'. 'The philosophíca! construction of reason i~ 2 'In Capital, Marx considers value to be the subJect of thlS proces~, v.hereas In h1,8

replaced by the creation of a rationa! society'. H. Marcuse, 'Philosophy and Crítical polemic with Wagner of 1879-80, he explicitlY notes that commodlty, not value, 18
Theory', in Negations, Boston 1968, pp. l35, 142. 'Critica! theory' (Horkheimer the subject. See Marx; 'Randglossen zu Wagners Lehrbuch' ['Notes on Adolph Wagner'
Marcuse) would abolish philosophy both ways: by realizing it as well as b; Marx: Texts on Method, tr. T, Carver, Oxford, 1975, pp.179-219], . ,
transforming it into a social theory. 2 ~ As far as 1 know, the connection between Hegel's Phe~omenolog~! of,the Spmt and
11 Herbert MarCU5e's Reason and Revolution, New York 1960, 2nd, ed" is based on the German Bildungsroman was f1rst pointed out by J0813h Royce m h1S Lectures on
this conception, The transition from Hegel to Marx i5 poignantly ¡abelled 'From Modernldealism, New Haven ]919, pp. 147-49.
Philosophy to Social Theory' (pp, 251-57), and Marx's teaching is interpreted in a 2 $ G, W. F. Hegel, Phenomenology of the Spiri! , New York and London, 1931, p. 135

chapter called 'The Foundation of the Dialectical Theory of Society' (pp. 258-322). (adapted). "
Marcuse had aiready formulated this conception back in the thirties, in his essays for H This i8 what Marx wrote about relations among people in exchange and productlOn:
Horkheimer's Zeitschrifr fuI' Sozialforschung, Judging from his later writings, the 'At first the relation practically exists. Then, however, since this ís a matter of peopl~,
author became to a certam extent aware of the problematic charader of his basic the rela;ion exists as a relation for them. The way in which it exists for them, or In
thesis, though he continued to maintain it: 'Marx's materialist 'subversion' of Hegel ... which their brain reflects it, follows from the very nature of these relation~'., Marx, Das
was n~t a shift from one philosophi~a.l positiol1 to another, nor from philosophy Kapital, Hamburg 1867, p. 38. This paragraph had been ~eleted fr?m later edltlOns:
to sOCIal theory, but rather a recognItlOn that the established forms of lite were 27 In his letter to Enge!s of 30 April 1868, Marx outhneS the mternal connectiOns of
reaching the stage of their historical negation'. H. Marcuse, Reason and Rcvolution, the three volumes of Capital, and condudes: 'We have finally reached :he phenomenal
p, xiii. form:; which the vulgar economist starts out from:, land rent stemmmg from earth,
12 Especially Max Adler and, in a more vulgar form, Karl Kautsky. In al! instances profit (interest) from capital, wage from labor, . , smce these three (wage, lan? r~nt,
Marxist soc~ology apparently 'has to be complemented by a non-Marxist philosophy, b~ profit [interest 1) are the sources of incorne for three cl~sses, ?f lando,,:,'ners, capltahsts,
Kant, Darwm or Mach. and wage laborers, the final outcome is dass struggle WhICh wIll end tlus movement and
1:J Esp. Kar! Lowith, .From Hegel ro Nietzsche, New York 1964. all this shit', (Werke, voL32, pp, 74f), [Selected Cor~espondence, p. 2~5 (adapted).J,
14 See S. Kierkegaard, The Present Age, Oxford 1940. 2 g'The recognition (Erkennung) of the products as lis own, and t,he J~dgrnent th~t Its
1 S Marcuse, Reason and Revolution, p. 258. separation from the eonditions of Hs realizati~n i8 í~proper ~ forcl?ly Imposed - IS an
1 ti Ideas and terms sueh as the social question, the social novel, social poetry, etc., enormous ¡advance in] awareness {Bewusstsem] .. , Marx, Grundnsse: p. 463:
~~pl<;>yed ~ ~e,19th cent,ury, are wh?lIy foreign,to ~aterialls: ~hilosophy. 29 Marx, Grundrisse, p. 494, When Marx' 5 early Philosophical ~nd Eco,I10111:U: Manu·

fhlS SUbjectlvlsm finds lb ffioSt radIcal expresslOn In the OpInIOn that there exists no scripts were published in the thirties, they became a real sensatlon and mspued a :ast
social sdenee, but only dass consciousness. This apinion lends itself to a French pun: literature, The publication of Grundrisse, which contain preparatory ~or~ f~r Capttal,
no 'sdence sodale', only 'conscience de classe'. from Marx's mature period of late 18505, and which form an extraordmanlY Important
130 CHAPTER III DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 131

link betwecn the Manuscripts and CapÍtal in tum passed virtually unnoticed. The traditionally in most essays on praxis and labor: labor i8 characterized as the essence of
significance of Grundrisse can hard!y be ex~ggerated, They prave aboye aH that Marx praxis and praxis is defined essentia1ly as labor; second, it does no~ distinguish ?et~een
?e~er a.ba~d?n~d t~e phf1os0t?hi;al probl~matiqu~, and t?at especially concepts of the philosophica1 and the economic concepts of labor, and thus lt cannot obJecuvely
.ahenatlon, relfic~tlOn, totahty, the subJcct-obJect relatlOnship, etc., which certain appreciate Marx's contribution; and third, it identifies objectivation with objectifica-
19norant Marxologlsts would be happy to declare as sins of Marx's youth, were parts of tion, which renders the author vulnerable to subjectivism and introduces chaos and
the, permanent c?nceptual equipment of Marx's theory, Without them, Capital would inconsistency into elaborating the prob1em of labor.
be illcomprehenslble. 43Cf. esp. G. Lukács, Der junge Hegel, Berlin 1954, pp. 389-419. [The Young Hegel,
:;:Al! production i~ an obiec~ification of the individual', Marx, Grundrisse, p. 226. London 1975, pp. 338~364.1
though bOurgCOlS eCOnomlsts see how production works within capitalist relations 44l van Dubsky treats the dialectical pairs of particular-general, subjeet-object and
but do not see how fuese relations themselves are produced' Marx-Engels-Archiv' theory-praxis in Hegel's philosophy in his essay Hegels Arbeitsbegriff und die
Moscow 1933, vol. 2, p. 176, ' idealistische Dialectik, Prague 1961, pp. 30-44. . .
32 See Marx, Contributioll to a Critique of Political Economy New York 1970 32 4 S In this sense both beast and man are 'naturally' practical beings, See m tlus contcxt
3:> SeeMarx-Engels-Archiv, p, 6, "p, . Marx's polemid with Wagner, where he states that man does not 'stand' in reality but
34 'The function,s that the .cap~talist carries out are but consciously and voluntarUy acts in it practically, in order to satisfy his needs, ,
perform~d ~unctlOns. of capItalltse1f - of value valorizing itselfby ingesting live labor. 46 Linguistically, we fcel it more appropriate to distinguish anÍmal and human cravl.llg,
The ca~1tahst f~~ctlOns snly as personified capital, as capital as a person, just as instead of using the literal translations of Hegel's Begierde and Trieb.. "
~~,rker 1S persomfted l~bor. Marx-Engels-Archiv, p. 32. 4? 'The animal exists only in the momen!, jt sees nothing beyo,nd lt; man hves m the
36 The concept of capItal contains the capitalist', Marx, Grundrisse, p. 512. past., in the present, and the future', Diderot, Oeuvres, ed. Assezat, vol. 18, p, 179, as
Marx, Grundrísse, p, 712. (Emph. KOSÍk-Ed.) quoted in Poulet,Human Time, p. 187. , , , ,
3 1 ~he questíon, what 1S labor, 18 frequently answered with a sociological definition 48 Marx, Capital, voL 1, 1;1. 189. l:rhe German text 15 closer to KOSlk s argument: D~e
Whlch cha~acterizes. it as, 'all .actions which man performs on matter for a practical Arbeit 'sich aus der Form der Unruhe in die des Setns, aus der Form der Bewegung m
purpose, ~1ded by his bram, hlS hands, too18 and machines, actions which in turn affeet die der Gegenstandlichkeit' umset:z.1.-Tr 1
and mO~l~y man'. G. Frie~mann, 'Qu'est-ce que le travai1?' Annales 1960, no. 4, 49That the problem of man's time is linked with his objective activity i5 a basic p~int
p. 685. Fnedmann ~nd Navllle are two, of the most important sociologists of work in which materialist philosophy differs from the existential coneeption of temporahty.
mfluenced by MarxIsm. We selected Fnedmann's essay precisely as a representative s°cf. Marcuse, op. cit., p. 23. . ,
example of the !heoreücal confusion with which _justified demands for historical 51 In this context we have to mention that A. Smetana, as oppased ta Schellmg, dld
C?:lcretene~s are mtertwined with uncritical empiricism and sociologism. However, not consider art to be a matter exclusively fol' the genius. In the spirit of his time he
~nedmann s essays are a valuable contribution to his discipline, to the sociology of espouscd a far more democratic eonceptiol} of artistic cr~ation. Smetana conceived.of
mdustry, technology and work. art in a broad and revolutionary--anticipatory sense as 01 the free process 0.( formmg
:1 B 111e appropriate name, f?r this ap~logetics is 'theology of wor!c', and among its human conditions. See A. Smetana, Sebrané spisy (Collected Works), voL 1, Prague
authors are n~t only Chnstlan, theologlsts, It is of course not accidental that Thomism 1960, pp. 1861. . .. . .
ha~ been paymg great attentlOn to the problem of labor. Modem Thomist authors 52 The relationship between necessity and freedorn 1S an hlstoncally cond1tlOned and
(Vl,alatoux, Bartoli, Ruyer, Lacroix) direet their essays on work against materialism, an historically variable one. From the materialist perspective ít ~s enti~ely co?sistent
wluch does not prevent them from taking over from Marxism, their 0pponent its that Marx would link the problem of freedom with me creatIOn ot, fre~ time, an
arsenal of facts. ' important moment of which is fue shortening of labor ti:ne, and that m thls se?se he
39 The fourth chapter, 'Praxis and Totality', will elaborate this assertion further. would translate the problem of necessity and freedom mio terms of the relatlOn of
4°H. Marcuse, 'On the Philosophical Foundations of the Concept of Labor in labor time and free time. 'But free time, disposable ,ti~e, is ;-vealth i1s.elf, partIy f?r the
.Economics', Telas 16, summer 1973, p.13. We shall have more to say about this enjoyment of the product, partly fo! me free actlVIty ~hlCh - unhke l~bor - IS not
lmportant essay, whose best parts have yet to be improved upon. dominated by the pressure of an extraneous purpose whleh must be fulftlled, and the
4 J Although Sartre correctly states that the intellectual horizon of Marxism cannot be fulfillment of which is regarded as a natural necessity or a social duty, according to
crossed in our epoch, he 'neglects' to add, also of Marxism as an 'ontology of man'. Cf. one's inc1inations'. K. Marx, 'lheories of Surplus Value, Mosco\V 1971, vol. 3, p. 257.
Sartre, Search for a Method, New York 1968, p. 30. The idea of free time as organized leisure í8 entire1y foreign to Marx. Free time ís not
Sartre grounds his justification of existentialism (of existential phílosophv and identícal with leisure which can be a part of historical alienation, The existence offree
?nt~lo,gy) as an indispensible complement of Marxist phUosophy precisely o~ this time assumes not only fue shortening of labor time but also the abolítion ~f reifie,ation.
omlsslOn'. 53 Such is the case of romanticism and surrealism, Their defense leads to lll-consldered
42'[T]he con.cept of labor appears [in Hegel] as a fundamental happening [Grund- conclusions as evidenced by the following statement 'The basis of the surrealist
geschehen] oí human Dasein, as an abiding happening that constantiy and continually procedure is not Hegelian reason or Marxist labor; it is Uberty', r. Alquié, The
spans ~he whole of man's being and at the same time involving even man's 'world'. Here Philosophy of Surrealism, Ann Arbor 1965, p. 83, .
l~bor 15 p~~cis~ly ,no! a specific human 'activity' , , , rather, labor is that in which every 54 This contradictory character of the historícaJ process has been emphas~ze~?y Marx:
smgle, actlVlty 1S íounded and tú which they again return: a doing lTunJ'. H. Marcuse, 'The course of social development is by no means that because one md1Vldual has
0,P- Cl~., p. 13 (ada~te?). ~his important essay suffers from several maln shortcomings: satisfied his needs he then proceeds to create a superfluíty for himself; but rat,her because
fIrst, lt does no1 dlstmgulsh between labor and praxis, which is an error that recurs one individual or a class of individuals is forced to work more than requrred for the
132 CHAPTER III
CHAPTER IV
satisfaction of its nee<!s - because surplus labor is on one side, therefore not-labor and
~urplus wealth. are, poslted an the other.. In reality the devc10pment of wealth exists only
In these Opposltes. Marx, Grundrisse, p. 401.
s 5 Marx, Capital, vol. 3, p. 359; ef. also Grundrisse, pp. 712, 609.
s 6 Schelling, Werke, vol, 2, p. 622. PRAXIS AND TOT ALlTY
5,7 'To,tallife on ~he level of economics does indeed exist, but only in father rare limited
Sltu~tlOns. We fmd ourselves precisely on the level of economics during erises (wars,
[ammes, etc.) because what counts then is immediate Hfe: eating staying warm etc'
R. ¡c allois, 'Le mOnde vécu et l'histoire', L 'homme, le monde, l~istoire, París 't948~
p. 4 .
5B'Palitical ecanomy has to do with the specific social fOrms of wealth or rather of the Philosophical thinking of a given epoch will concentrate different aspects of
production of wealth'. Marx, Grundrisse, p. 852. its work in one central concept which wi1l then appear in the history of
phllosophy as substance, cogito, Absolute Spirit, negativity , the thing~in~itself,
etc. Without their philosophical problematique, these concepts would of
course be empty. The historian who would sever solutions frarn problems
would also transform !he history of philosophy and of philosophical
thinking into a senseless collection of petrified artifacts. He would turn the
dramatic arena of truth into a wasteland of dead categories. Philosophy
arnounts aboye all to the posing of questions. 1t must therefore forever again
substantiate its existence and its raison d'en'e. Every seminal discovery of
the natural sciences, every great work of art changes not only the image of
the world hut especially man's very place in the world. The starting point of
every philosophy is man's being in the world, the relation of man and
cosmos. In everything he does, be it affirmative or negative, man always
constitutes a certain mode of being in the world and determines
(consciously Or unconsciously) his posi tioo in the universe. Man establishes
a relationship with the world t1uough his very existence, and this
relationship is already there befare he ever starts contemplating it, befare he
turns it into an object of investigation, and befare he practical.ly or
intellectual1y affirrns or negates it.

PRAXIS

One important concept of modern materialist philosophy 1S t11at of praxis.


Everyone knows what praxis is and what it is not, even without philosophy.
Why then did phllosophy turn this self-evident thing into a key concept? Or
did perhaps praxis have to become a philosophical concept before it could
dispel the semblance of certainty with which naive consciousness is always
wel1 inforrned in advance about praxis and practicality J about the
relationship of praxis and theary, about practicing and practicism? Naive
consciousness finds philosophy to be a world turned upside down .- and
rightly so: for philosophy does indeed tum thut particular world upside
134 CHAPTER IV D!ALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 135
down, Philosophical questioning shatters the certainties of ordinary con- not aH of modern philosophy (in a conscious distinction from medieval
sciousness and of everyday fetishised reality when it questions their scholastics) formed as the knowledge and cognition by which we are to
appropriateness and 'reasonableness'. This is no1 to say that naive make ourselves the 'masters and possessors of nature'? 1 And had nOl
consciollsness is out of touch with philosophy, ar that it is indifferent to elassica] phllosophy of history (Vico, Kant, Hegel) already expressed the
philosophy's results. Everyday consciousness appropriates results of .philo· though t that peopie act in history, and that their actions lcad to
sophy and considers them its own. However, because this consciousness did consequences and results they had not intended? Has materialist philosophy
not undertake the journey of philosophy, and reached the latter's perhaps merely gathered the scattered and isolated findings of previous eras
conclusions effortlessly, ii does not take them too seriously and instead concerning praxis as the action of peopIe, as industry and experiment, as the
treats them as self-evident matters. That which philosophy exposed in historical cunning of reason, and then synthesized them into a basis for a
concealment, oblivion and mystificatian as being eVident, is appropriated by scientific interpretation of society? Similar considerations would merely
ordinary consciousness as sellevident. AH that philosophy has made visible, lcad us over another path back to the opinion that in Marxism, philosophy
conspicuous and tangible sinks in this self-evidence back in10 anonymity has been abolished and translated lnto a dialectical theory of society, or in
and non-e vid en ce. oilier words, that praxis is not a philosophical concept but a category of a
The only part o[ lhe grea! discovery of rnaterialist philosophy that dialectical theory of society.
uncritical reasoning preserved was the idea that praxis is something The problem of praxis in materialist philosophy cannot be explained
immensely important and that the unity of theory and praxis holds as a from the relationship of theória and praxis or of contemplation and activity,
supreme postulate. But 1he original philosophical questioning, in whose light whether with emphasis on fue primacy of thcory or contemplation
praxis had been discovered, disappeared, and the idea preserved merely the (Aristotle and medieval theology), or conversely of praxis and activity
importance of the principIe. Consequently, the content of the concept of (Bacon, Descartes and modern natural sciences). Emphasis on the primacy
praxis changed, and the unity of theory and praxis carne to be realized and of praxis over theory goes hand in hand with devaluing the significance of
grasped in differen t epochs in quite peculiar ways. In our analysis of labor theory, which in relation to praxis is degraded to mere theory, and at the
we pointed out one of the historical changes that has affected the concept smne time, the sense and content of praxis are grasped just as poorly as
of praxis: praxis grasped as 'socialness', and Marxist philosophy as fue when antiquity emphasized t11e prirnacy of theory. The primacy of praxis
teaching about the 'socialness of man'. In another transforrnation, 'praxis' over theory, which turns up in formulations such as that knowledge is
turned into a mere category and functioned as a correlate of cognition and power, or in substantiating the importance of theory for praxis,2 stems
as a fundamental concept of epistemology. In other metamorphoses, praxis from a particular historical fonn of praxis in which the essence of praxis
was identified with technology in the broad sense of the word, and both manifests and conceaIs itself in a characteristic fashion.
conceived and practiced as manipuIation, as a technique of conduct, as the The secularization of nature and the discovery of nature as a conglomera-
art of disposing of people and things, in 8hort, as the power to manipulate tion of mechanical forces, as an object of exploitation and subjugation, goes
and as mastery over material both human and inert. Modifications in hand in hand with the secularization of man, who is discovered as a being
comprehending and practicing praxis correlated with corresponding that can be molded and formed or, translated ¡nto an appropriate language,
changes in the concept, task and sense of philosophy, and in the concept of that can be manipulated. Only in this connection can one grasp the
man, world, and trufu. historical significan ce of Machiavelli and the sense of Machiavellism. The
In what sense, and in what philosophical tradition has rnaterialist naive journalistic view judges Machiavellism through 1he prism of contem-
philosophy hoisted praxis as its central concept? At first glance it might porary manners of ruling, and considers him a guide to tlle politics of
seem (and this impresslon has frequently 'materialized' in particular trickery and deceit, of the dagger and poison. Machiavelli, however, \Vas
opinions) that a generally known reality and a trivial self-evident matter was not merely an empirical observer or a talented commentator of historical
given a philosophical significance and was generalized: after aH, had not texts who would have written up the current practices of Renaissance
thinkers and practitioners of all times known man as practical1y active? Is princes and traditional events of 111e Roman world, and generalized them a11.
136 CHAPTER IV DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 137
Bis place in intellectual history is rather ane of a penetrating analyst of In its essence and generality, praxis is the exposure of fue mystery of
human reality. His basic discovery, corresponding to Bacon's operational man as an onto-formative being, as a being that forms the (socio--human)
science and to the modern conception of nature, is his concept of man as a reality and therefore ruso grasps and interprets it (Le. reality both human
disposable and a manipulable being. 3 Scientism and Machiavellisrn are two and extra-human, reality in its totality). Man's praxis is not practical activity
facets of the same reality. This is the basis foy formulating a conception of as opposed io theorizing; it 1S the determinabon of human being as fue
poUtics as a calculable and TaHonal technique, as scientifically predictable process of forming reality.
manipulation with human material. It is unimportant fay this conception Praxis is active and self-producíng in history, Le. it is a constant1y
and for the 'praxis' that corresponds to it whether man i8 by nature good ay renewing, practically constituting unity of man and world, matter and spirit,
evil: good or evil, his nature is always malleable and he can therefore be subject and object, producis and produc~ivity. Sinee tbe socio-human
the object of calculable and scientifically-based manipulation. Praxis arises reality lS formed by praxis, history becomes a practical happening in which
in the historical form of manipulabon and procuring or, as Marx was to what is human 1S distinguished from what is inhuman. What is human and
prove later, in the form of a dirty haggler. non-human is not preordained; it is determined in history through a process
From the practical perspective, and from the perspective of praxis as of practical discriminaban.
manipulation, procuring and disposition, one can be either an apologist or a In 1he preceding chapter we pointed out the lack of conceptual c1arity in
critic of 'praxis'. This affirmative or negative aHitude ls, however, limited to delimiting praxis and labor: others have defined labor as praxis and
the sphere of the pseudoconcrete and can therefore never uncover the real charaeterized praxis by reducing it to labor.
character of praxis. Nor ean the charaeter of praxis be inferred from the Since praxis is a speeific rnode of man's being, it permeates the essence of
distinction between the man of praxis and the man of theory or between his being in a11 its manifestations, rather than detennining only some of its
practicality and theorizing, for this distinction 1S itself based on a particular aspects ar traits. Praxis permeates the whole of man and determines him in
form or image of praxis and indica tes this particular fonn only, rather than his totality. Praxis is not an external determination of roan: neither a
praxis as such. machine nar a dog have or know praxis. Neither a machine nor a dog know
The problem of praxis in materialist philosophy is not based on the fear of death, the anxiety of nothingness, or 1he joy of beauty. Man
distinguishing two areas of human activity ar on a typology of possible does not build a culture and a civilization, his socio-human reality, as a
universal intentionalities of man,4 llor does it stem frorn an historical form shield from mortality and finitude, but discovers his mortality and finitude
of a practical relationship with nature and with man in which both would be only on 1he basis of civilization, Le. on the basis of his objectification. How
objects of manipulation. Rather, it is formed as a philosophical answer to a did that break ever come about, in which the animal-man that had known
phllosophical question: Who is man, what is socio~human reality, and how nothing of death or of mortality and therefore had known no fear o[ death
is this reality formed? either, was transformed into the animal-man who 1'ecognized death as the
In the concept of praxis, socio-human reality is discovered as the outeome of his fut.ure and has consequently ever since be en living under the
opposite of givenness, Le, at once as the process of forming human being sign of death? According to Hegel, 1his break occurred in the struggle for
and a<; its specific formo Praxis is the sphere 01 human being, In this sense, recognition, in the battle for Efe and death. This struggle, however, could
the concept of praxis is t11e outcome of modern philosophy which has have taken place only if man had already discovered the future as a
emphasized, in a polemic against the Platonic-Aristotelian tradition, the dimension of his being, which is possible only on fue basis of labor, Le. of
authentic character of man's creating, as of an ontological reality. Not only the objectification of mano The struggle for life and death may not end in
are existents 'enriched' by man's work, but his work is where reality indeed death, both fighters must remain alive, although they both do wager their
manifests itself in a particular way and where access to it 1S negotiated. life. This premise of the master-slave dialectics 1S, however, an historícal
Something essential happens in man's praxis, something that contains its prerequisite. In the struggle for !ife and death, man 1ets the other one live, and
own truth in itself rather than merely pointing e1sewhere, something that 1S the other opts for slavery rathe1' than for death, only because they both know
also of ontological importan ce. 5 about the future and know what awails them: either rnastery or slavery.6
138 CHAPTER IV DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 139
He who prefers slavery to death, and he who wagers his life in arder to be elevates as the most proper practicality of praxis, 1S praxis only as
recognized as man-the-master, are both men who already know time. Man manipulation and procuring, Le. praxis in its fetishized formo Without the
surrenders to his (future) fate of a slave or fights for his (future) position of existential moment, Le. without the struggle for recognition which
a master only'because he choases h1S present from the perspective of the permeates man's entire being, 'praxis' sinks to the level of technique and
future, and thus forms bis present Oil basis of a project of a [uture. Both manipulation.
men form their present and their future Oil the basis of something that i8 Praxis is b oth the objectification of man and the mastering of nature, and
not yet is. the realization ofhuman freedom. 7
The future i5 known to man only in its irnmediacy. The slave becornes a There 1S yet another dimension to praxis. Though it is a specific human
slave with a slave's consciousness which at first is devoid of any hope or reality that is formed in the happening ofpraxis, reality that is independent
supposition that slavery ever will or might end: he enters h1S future as he of man exists in it in a certain way as well. In praxis, man's openness toward
would etemity, forever. Similady, the master. It takes the dialectics of the reality in general is formed. The onto-formative process of human praxis is
actual course of affairs to transfonn fue future, to invalidate the irnmediate the basis for the possibility of ontology, Le. for understanding being. The
future as untrue or one-sided, and to elevate a mediated future as the tmth: process of fonning a (socio-human) reality is a prerequisite for disclosing
in the dialectics of the master and the slave, slavery is the only passable path and comprehending reality in general. Praxis as the process of forming
and the only way to freedom, whereas mastery proves to be a dead end. human reality is a1so a process of uncovering the universe and reality in fueir
But, how does man know even abaut his immediate future, enough to being. 8 Praxis 1S not man's being walled in the idol of socialness and of
undertake the struggle for recognition? The three-dimensionality of time as social subjectivity, but his openness toward reality and being.
a form of his own being manifests itself to man and constitutes itself in the AH manner of theories of social subjectivism (sociology of knowledge,
process of objectification, i.e. oflabor. anthropologism, philosophy of care) have wal/ed man in a subjectively
Thus apart from the moment of labor, praxis also includes an existential conceived socialness and practicality: in their opinion, man expresses only
moment: it manifests itself both in man's objective activity by which he himself and his social position in his creations, and projects his subjectively
transforms nature and chisels human meanings into natural material, a.'1d in objective situation into forms of objectivity (science). By contrast,
the process .af forming the human subject in which existen ti al moments materialist philosophy believes that on the basis of praxis as an onto-
such as anxiety, nausea, fear, joy, laughter, hope, etc., stand out no1' as forrnative process man also develops his historical ability to reach out
positive 'experiencing,' but as a part of the struggle for recognitian, Le. of beyond and outside himself, to be disc10sed to being in general. Man is not
the process of realizing human freedoffi. Without the existential mament, walled in his animality or in his socialness, smce he is not an anthropo-
labor would cease to be a component of praxis. Man frees himself through logical being. Rather, he is disc10sed to the understanding ofbeing on the basis
slave labor only providing !hat: of his praxis. Consequently, he is an anthropo-cosmic being. Praxis has been
(l) his labor develops as !he labor of slaves and not as tile labor of an discovered as the foundation of a real active center,9 as the real hlstorical
isolated slave, and thus allows for the potentiality of slave solidarity; mediation of spirit and matter, culture and nature, man and the universe,
(2) slave labor has its counterpart in the master's not-labor, and 1S real1y theory and action, existents and existence, epistemology and ontology.
incorporated in the master-slave social re1atl0n; only in this practical We leam about the world, things and processes only so long as we 'form'
relationship does there exist a possibility for comparison, and tbus for them, Le. so long as we spiritually and intel1ectual1y reproduce them. This
recognizing the profound differences in position and Jife; spiritual reproduction of reality cannot be grasped other than as one
(3) the labor of the slave is fel! and conceived of as slave labor, and possible practica! human relationship with reality, as the one whose most
exists as such in the slave's consciousness. This consciousness has a fundamental dimension is the process ollorming (soci(}---human) reality.
tremendous revolutionary potential. A mere objective relationship to nature Without the process of forming socio-human reality, without producing jt,
cannot generate freedorn. What in certain historical phases appears as the it would be impossible to spíritually and intel1ectually reproduce ii.
'impersonality' 01' fue 'objectivity' of praxis, and what false consciousness How 1S it at all possible to understand reality?- How can one understand
140 CHAPTER IV DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 141

the relationship between the finite cognitive being and the rest of the sorne rnystification, and this is true also of classical historicism, from Vico
world? Man can understand things and their being~ the world in its to Hegel. It is as though the profound insights were internally connected
particularities and in its totality only Oil the basis of his openness that with mystification. Nineteenth-century positivist and evolutionist trends
develops in praxis. In praxis and on the basis of praxis, ruan transcends the deleted Hegelian speculation and mystification from history but in so doing
closed chara'Cter of animality and of inorganic nature and constitutes his they irnpoverished it, even as they burdened it with their own new, vulgar
relationship with the world in its totality. In his openness, man as a firrite mystifications. Can the depth and the rnultidimensionality of history be
being transcends his finitud e and establishes contact with the totality of the understood without falling into mystifications? That depends on how we
world. Man is not only a part of world's totality: without man and without explain its character and funcHen. What is the role of providence in Vico's,
his cognition as parts af reality, reality and its cognition would remaio Schelling's or Hegel's philosophy of history? Is it merely a religious and
incomplete. But movernents of the world's totality inelude both the way in theological clement or does it play yet anotner role in their philosophy, a
which this totality uncovers itself to rnan, and man in uncovering this role independent of its religious provenance? 1s the philosopher who
totality.10 introduces providence into his concept of history a religious thinker, or is
The totality of the world inc1udes man, with his relatian of a finite being there a definite reason that would compe1 even a non-religious thinker to
to infinity, and with his openness toward being. Upon this is based the very employ 'providence' as a constructive eIernent of history? To pose the
possibility of language and poetry, of questioning and knowing. question in this way assumes either that the religious problema tique is taken
to be nonsense and deception, or that modern history, including modern
inteIlectual history, is viewed as an extensive process of secularizing the
HISTORY AND FREEDOM
Christian-theological world view. However, the matter looks entirely
Befare we can argue what history is like, we have to know what history is different if we consider religious problems to be a mystified expression of
and how it is possible. Whether history 1S absurd and cruel, tragic or farcical, rea] problems: in which case modern intellectual history will no longer
whether a plan of providence or an immanent law is realized in it, whether it appear as an extensive process of secularization, and wi1l instead show up in
1S the arena of Ucence and hazard or the field of determinism --- aH these its true form, as an attempt to rationally solve problems which religion had
questions can be satisfactorily answered only if we know what history is. expresssed in a mystified manner. Prom this perspeetive, the motivation far
The historian investiga tes what has happened in history while fue introducing providence into history 1S secondary.
philosopher asks wha1 history is and how it is indeed possible. The historian His10rical providence comes under different names, but the prablem
deals with the history of the Middle Ages or of modern times, of music or of remains the same: without providence, without the 'invisible hand,'ll
painting, of ideas or of celebrities, with the history of a nation or of the without the 'cunning of reason,' or the 'intentian of nature,,12 history
whole of mankind. The philosopher, in turn, wants to know what are the would be incomprehensible: it would appear as fue chaos of discrete acts of
suppositions of any history and how can anything like history exist at aH. individuals, classes and nations, as eternaI change condemning every work of
His questions do not impinge upon the specialized problema tique of fue man to extinction, as the alternation of good and evil, of humanity and
historian, but they inquire into the presuppositions of that discipline, doing inhumanity, of positive and negative, with no guarantee that good and
work that the historian could not accomplish with his tools and within his humanity would eventually have to prevail in this stnigg1e. Providence is the
discipline. grounds for and the guarantee of history's reasonableness. The 'cunning of
Man had been creating history long befare he recognized that he is an reason,' the 'intention of nature,' or the wisdom of the 'invisible hand' are
historical being, and has been living in it ever since. But the historical not metaphors adorning the trivial [aet that the real result of conflicting
consciousness that has discovered history as an essential dimension of individual interests differs from what people had original1y intended, i.e.
human reality does not yet testify, in and of itself, to the truth of what that the result of human action does not coincide with its intentions. The
history is. elassical philosophy of history postulates that the result of disharmony
Every profound attempt to formulate the specificity of history features between the intentions and the results of human actions be a reasonable
142 CHAPTER IV DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 143

reality. The chaotic and unpredictable conflict of human actions and fue names (Humanity, Reason, the Absolute, Spirit, Providence), but has always
disharmony between the necessity and the freedom of human activity, the same task:. to overcome the defects, correct the deviations, and lead to
belween what people intend and what lhey actually do, between who lhey the definitive triumph of good. Philosophy of history is indeed based on the
think fuey are and who they are actua11y, all this gives rise to sornething that assumption that t11e ultimate success of human activity is necessarily
people had not anticipated or intended, but what is~ nevertheless, guaranteed by the metaphysical structure of the world,16 But ever since
reasonable. Ir peopie were left to their own devices, to their passions and Marx found that history does exactly nothing, and that everything in it,
interests, to fueir egotistic industry and particular prejudices, history would inc1uding history itse1f, is the doing of man, the primary task has be en not
not progress to an eschatological culmination but would go on and on as the to list the shortcomings of philosophy of history, but to examine the causes
eternal and senseless circulation of reason and unreason, good and evil, of its fundamental mystification. His10ry is made by people. But why does
humanity and inhumanity; it would indeed be a 'system of godlessness and it seem that people are mere agents or executors of this 'making ofhistory'?
atheism.' If history is reasonable and has sense, 1t is only because a higher People act in history at their own risk and danger. But why do they act in
intention, reason, or plan of providence 1S manifest and realized in it. the belief that they have been summoned by a higher power to perform
'History as a whole is a gradual, step-by-step revelation of the Absolute,'l 3 historica1 deeds? History is a product of mankind. But why do people over
Acts üf man do not have sense and reason in and of themselves but acquire and over again act as though they were the agents or trustees of t1üs
such sense and reason with respect to the plan and reason of providence, product? 111e individual gathers his courage for action, justifies and
This conception has two important implications: according to it, history substantiates his action by transforming himself, as it were, into an agent of
is formed as a dialectical process, but people are mere instruments of the a transcendental power and by turning into the spokesman, deputy and
dialectics of history. The unity of necessity and freedom is realized in regent of God, Truth, Humanity. He does not realize his own interests but
history, but freedom is in the 1ast ana1ysis only fictitious, and so is cardes out the iron laws of History, Prom the point of view of technique
consequently the unity of necessity and freedom. This contradiction shows and performance, killing aman is a simple matter. 1 7 The dagger, sword, axe~
the greatness and the limitations of the classical conception of history, 14 machine gun, pistols and bomhs are effective and well-tested to01s. But the
Classical philosophy had correctly formulated the problem of history but 'simple matter' immediatcly becomes complicated if we shift from
did not resolve it. More precisely: it abandoned the correct original 'performance' to 'evaluation,' from 'technology' 10 'society.' He who bUs
formulation in the course of seeking a solution to it. The original for his personal' motives, privately and on his own accord, is a murderer, He
formulation was this: Neither absolute law, nor absolute freedom reign who bUs with higher authorization and 'in the interest of society' 1S not a
supreme in history, fuere is nothlng absolutely necessary or absolutely murderer. If the perpetrator of the act is an instrument of his own intention
accidental in it; history is the dialectics of freedom and necessity. The or ofhis passion. he commits a crime. Ifhe is a mere instrument, it need not
solution is suggested by well-known statements: freedom is recognized be a crime. If 1 were to kill a man in and of myself, 1 might get scared of my
necessity, freedom is a figment. 15 For history to be reasonable and to have own action, back away, and not carry out my intention: there lS nothing
sense, it has to be designed in a plan of providence in which historical cowardly and dishonorable in refraining froro this action. But were 1 to kilI
individuals (outstanding personalities, nations, c1asses) act as conscious or with 'higher authorization,' by arder of the Nation, Church or Historical
unconscious agents of preordained necessity. PeopIe act in history, but only 'Necessity, 1 couId not refrain fram 'my' action, 1est 1 be bran'ded a coward.
seemingly do they make history: history is tne realization of necessity (the My act 1S not murder but revenge, trial, execution of justice, civic duty, an
plan of providence, a foreordained harmony), and historical personages are heroic deed. But the 'truth' of history, Le. its concreteness, multidimen-
its tools and executive arms. sionality and reality, is such that a particular act can be at once murderous
In the 20th century it is no longer a great scientific discovery to expose and heroic, that murder can be elevated to heroism and heroism degraded to
this concept of history as a mystification and to criticize it as the 'religion of murder, that particular interests can be declared general interests, and real
freedom' or as 'romanticism.' In philosophy of history, the fate of man is general interests debased as individual intentions. 18
indeed infallibly guaranteed by an infinite force which may have different History 'includes' both heroism and crimes. Burning heretics at tl1e stake
144 CRAPTER IV D1ALECTICS OF TRE CONCRETE 145

i5 Dot an 'excess' of the times, an anomaly or an abnormality of an harmony and the metaphysically preordained triumph of good. Rather, it is
'unenlightened epoch,' and thus historically a peripheral matter; rather, it 15 the conflict-reason of historical dialectics in which reasonableness is the
as normal and constitutive a component of feudalisrn as i8 papal infallibility object of struggle, and every historical phase of reason is realized in conflict
and seff labor. Philosophy of history has appredated the role of evil as a with historical unreason. In history, reason becomes reason as 1t realizes
constitutive elernent in the process of fonning socio-human reaHty, but in itself. There exists no ready-made, transhistorical reason that would reveal
the overa11 metaphysícal construction of fue world this role was preordained itse1.f in historical events. Historical reason arrives at its reasonableness
as well: evil i5 a component of good; its positive role lS in preparing and through realization.
evoking good; with respect to the ultimate triumph of good, guaranteed by What does lUan realíze in history? 1'he progress of freedom? The plan of
metaphysical necessity, evil plays a positive role too. providence? The course of necessity? In history, man realizes himself.
And yet if the metaphysical constitution of the world which genera tes Before history and independent of history lUan not only did not know who
fue victory of good, gives history its sense and Jays down the reason of he was; only in history is he even aman at a11. Man realizes himself, i.e.
history were not the immanent structure of reality but only one of the humanizes himself, in history. The span of this realization is so tremendous
historical images of the world; if history were not preordained and if there that lUan characterizes 11is own performance as inhuman, though he knows
were no cosmic signs from which man might divine that the victory of good welI tbat only man can act inhumanly. Once the Renaissance discovered
in history 18 guaranteed once and for a11, and absolutely; if the Reason that man is his own creator and can cast himself into whatever he chooses,
through which Hegel contemplated history, so that it be reasonable, were be it an angel or a wild beast, a human han or a human bear, or indeed
not the 'unbiased' and the transhistorical reason of the objective observer anything else, 1 9 it soon became obvious that human history is the unfolding
but the dialecticaBy fonnulated reason of lhe Christian-theological world of fuese 'possibilities' over time. The sense of history is in history: in
view' if all this would it then follow that history is absurd and senseless, history, man explica tes himself, and this historical explication, amounting
that lüstory and reason exclude one another? The critique of philosophy of to the process of fonning man and humanity, is history's only sense. 2 o
history implies aboye a11 that a providentially constructed reason does not In history it is roan and only man who is realized. Therefore history is
allow for a rational grasp ofhistory. Providential reason has designed history not tragic ~ though there is the tragic in hisiory; it is not absurd, though fue
as reasonable in advance, and only on the basis of this unsubstantiated absurd does develop in history; it 1s noi cruel, though cruelties are
metaphysical assumption have the concepts of fue 'cunning of reason,' fue ·perpetrated in history; it is not rídiculous, thaugh comedies are acted out in
'invisible hand,' or of the 'intention of nature' been constructed. Only history. In history, individual epochs follow one another in a certain arder
thanks to them ~ Le., in a mystical dialectical metamorphosis - does and in a law-1ike manner, but they never lead to a definitive culmination or
chaotic and particular human activity lead to a reasonable conclusion. to an apocalyptic end. No epoch in histOly is nothing but a transition. to
History IS reasonable on1y because it has been designed and ordained as Sorne other stage, just as no epoch towers over history as a whole. Every
reasonable in advance. Related to this reason, all un~reason, evil and epoch is a conjunction of the three~dimensionality of time: its preconditions
negativity, victims and suffering, all these become a negligible magnitude or are rooted in the past, its consequences reach into the future, and its
a secondary effect. Not even in Hegel's conception is historical reason structure 1s anchored in fue presento
dialecticized consistently. Consistent dialectization of historical reason 1'he first basic premise of history is that it is created by man, but its
requires the ab61ition of the metaphysical-providential foundation of this secand, equal1y basic premise is the necessity for continuity of this creation.
reason. Reason is not laid clown throughout history allead of time, in order History is only possible at a11 because man does not always start over again
to be revealed as reason in the historical process, hut rather it fonns Uself as from the beginning and instead follows up fue road and results of past
reason in the course of history. According to the providential conception, generations. If mankind were to start each time from square one and if
reason designs history, and is itself gradually revealed in history's realizabon. every action were without suppositions, rnankind would never budge from
By contrast, according to the rnaterialist conception, only in history 1S one place and its existence would rnove in a cirele of perjodic recurrence of
reason first forrned;history is not reasonably preordained but only beco mes an absolute beginning and an absolute end.
reasonable. Reason in history is not the providential reason of foreordained The interconnection of objectified and objectivised praxis of mankind,
146 CHAPTER IV DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 147

labeUed as substance, objective spirit, culture OI dvilization, and decoded in development of a dialectic between canditions that are given for every
materialist theory as the unity of production force s and production individual, for every generation, epoch and c1ass, and action that unfolds on
relations, fonns the historically attained 'reasan' of sodety, which is fue basis of ready-made and given prerequisites. 22 Conditions stand out as
independent of any particular individual and is thus transindividual, but prerequisites of this action; the action in turn invests them with a particular
which really exists only through the activity and reasan of individuals. The sense. Mao transcends conditions not primarily in his consciousness and
objective social substance, in the fonu of materialized production forces, intentions, in his ideal project, but in his praxis. Reality is not a system of my
language and forrns of thinking, lS independent afthe will and consciousness meanings nor is it transformed in accordance with the meanings my project
of individuals, but it exists only through their activity, thinking and gives it. It is in his acüon that man inscribes meanings ¡nto the world and
language. Machines that are not set into matian by human action, languages forms a structure of meanings in it. In rny project, my fantasy and
that peopIe do not speak, lagical forms in which peopie do not express their imagination, in rny drearos, 1 can transform the four walls into which 1 have
thinking are either dead props, or sheer nonsense. Objectified and been thrown in chains into a kingdom or into a realro of freedom; but fuese
objectivised praxis of mankind, in the form of production forces, language, ideal projects will not make the four walls any less a prison, and my
fonus of thought, etc., exists as the continuity al hist01y only in connection confinement within thero will not be any less unfree. For the peasant serf,
wi!h !he activity of people. 111e objectified and objectivised praxis of 'conditions' is the immediate natural situation of life; indirectly, through his
mankind is the 1asting and fixed element of human reality. In this form it action, resistance or in a peasant uprising, he gives them the signification of
resembles a reality more real than praxis or any human~activity. This is the a prison: conditions are more than just conditions and fue peasant serf 1S
basis for the passibility of inverting the subject into the object, Le. for the more thao a part of conditions. Conditions and rnan are constitutive
fundamental fonu of historical mystification. 21 Since objectified and elernent<; of praxis which is in turn the fundamental prerequisite for
objectivised praxis of man survives every individual and is independent ,of transcending conditions. The situation of human life turns into unbearable
him, man interprets himself, his history and his future first and foremost and inhuman conditions with respect to the praxis that is to transform it.
from his own creations. Compared with the finitude of an individual life, People act under certain conditions· and their practical action gives
objectified and objectivised praxis of mankind embodies the eternity of conditions a rneaning. The forms of social movement tum into fetters.
man. Compared with the hazards and fragility of individual existen ce, the Social orders, formations, forms of coexistence are the space in which social
'social substance' represents permanence and fue absolu1e. Compared with movement is realized. In a certain situation, this space becornes limited and
the limited reasan and the unreasonableness of the empirica1 individual, this is felt as bondage and unfreedorn. Starting with Hobbes, fue materialist
substance amounts to real reason. When man considers himself a to01 or a tradition has determined freedom as the space in which an object moves.
spokesrnan of providence, of t11e absolute spirit, History, etc., Le. of an From a mechanistically conceived space, which is independent of the
absolute force that infinitely transcends his own possibilities and reason, he movement and the character of the object, and which forms only the
falls into mystification. This rnystification is, however, not a rationa1 outside dehmitations of the object's movement, fue materialist conception
expression of nonsense, bu1. a rnystified expression of a rational reality: has progressed to fue French Enlightenment's theory of social environrnent,
objectified and objectivised praxis of mankind enters people's heads as a and has culminated in the view tha1. freedom is an historical process,
metaphysical being independent of mankind. Man creates hís eternity only expanded and realized by the activity of an 'historical body,' Le. a society,
in an objectified, Le. in an historical, praxis and in its creations. In an dass, individual. Freedom is not a sta te, but rather an historical activity that
alienating inversion, the objectified and objectivised praxis of rnankind turns forrns corresponding modes ofhuman coexistence, Le. a social space.
¡nto the mystical subject in which man seeks a guarantee against chance,
unreason and the fragility ofhis own individual existence.
MAN
People enter conditions independently of 1.heir consciousness and of their
will but 'once tbere,' they transform these conditions. Conditions do not Cods exist only for those who recognize them. Outside the country's border
exist without people, or people withoul conditions. This is the basis for fue they become a piece of waod, just as the king becornes a cornmoner. Why?
148 CHAPTER IV DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE 149

Because a god i8 not a piece ofwood but a social relation and producto The himself than ever befare, but is also less sure than ever in the past of this
critique with which Enlightemnent took religion away from people and knowledge. 24 And at the very time of 'anthropology's' culmination, fuere
argued that altars, gods, saints and temples are 'nothing but' so much wood surfaces th,e opinion that 'anthropology' is not first and foremost a science
and can vas and stone was philosophically inferior to the creed of the of man (incidentally, a probJematical science and one diffieult to define)
believers ~ for gods, saints and cathedrals rnost certainly are not just so but rather a 'fundamental tendency' of a time that has made man
much wax and can vas and stone. They are a social product, not a natural problematic. 25
one, and nature can therefore neither create them nar substitute them. This If then 'philosophical anthropoJogy' wants to be a scienee of man and to
naturalist conception cIeated a distorted idea of social reality, 'of human study hís place in fue tllliverse, fue question which emerges first is this: Why
consciousness and of nature, It understood human consciousness exclusively is man more a man in isolation, when he deals with himself, than in
as the biological funcHan of the organism's adaptation and ofits orientation 'extrovertness', when he investigates everything possible 'between heaven
in an envirorunent, characterized by two basic elements: impulse and and earth'? Perhaps 'philosophical anthropology' emphasizes epochs of
reaction. While in this way one might explain consciousness as a property homelessness, isolation, and problematization of man because it has already
common to all higher animals, one will not explain the specificity ofhuman interpreted the problem of man in a definite way , and considers only certain
consciousness. Human consciousness is the activity of the subject who forms aspects of man as constituting a problem for anthropology?
a socio-human reality as a unity ofbeing and meanings, of reality and sense. In his orientation toward the outside world and in his investigation of
While traditional materialism emphasized fue material character of the natural laws man is no less a roan than in h1S dramatic questioníng of
world, transcendentalism emphasized the autonomy of reason and spirit as himself: Quid ergo sum, Deus meus, quae natura mea? If 'philosophical
the activity of the subject. Its material character was separated from anthropology' privileges certain aspects and problems, it demonstrates that
activity, because values and meanings are not inscribed in nature, and it has evolved not as the questioning of man's being and of his place in the
human freedorn cannot be derived from a causal chain progressing from universe, but as a reaction to a particular histon·cal situation of peopIe in the
lichens and protozoa all the way up to mano While idealism insulated 20th cen tury.
meanings from material reality and transformed them into an independent Philosophical anthropology strives to be a philosophy of man and to
reality, materialist positivism on the other hapd deprived reality of establish man as the basie problem of philosophy. Is this a justified
meanings. This completed the task of mystification, because the more pretension? Let us first of a11 suggest that the name 'philosophy of man' has
perfectly man and human meanings would be eliminated from reality, the severa1 meanings. Philosophical problems are not inscribed in the universe
more real would th1S reality be considered. but are formulated by mano What 'philosophy of man' means aboye a11 is
But 'human reality' does not cease to exist even when cast out of science that philosophicaJ problems are formulated only by man, that only he
and philosophy. Otherwise we could not explain the periodicaIly appearing phllosophizes. Philosophy is ane of man's activities. In this sense, every
waves of 'anthropologism' which draw attention to the problern of the philosophy is a philosophy of man, and emphasizing the human charae!er of
'forgotten' mano philosophy by a specific attribute 1S superfluous.
It has be en suggested that while man busies himself with everything But the 'philosophy of man' has yet a second meaning: all philosophieal
possible between heaven and earth, he negleets himself. A typology has been problems are essentially problems for anthropology, because roan anthro-
elaborated which c1aims to prove that only periods of man's isolation are pologizes everything with which he 1S ín practical or theoretical contact. AH
propitious for philosophical anthropology, loe. to the cognition of man, questions and answers, a11 doubts and findings testify first and foremost of
whereas extroverted epochs deal with man in the third person, just as with mano In a11 his doing, from practica} preoccupation to the investigation of
rocks and animals, 2 3 and disregard his specificity. rhe need and the call for trajectories ofheavenly bodies, man aboye all defines himself.
a philosophieal anthropology is argued by suggesting that in no other 'Philosophical anthropology' refers to Kant's famous questions:
historical epoch has ruan been so much of a problern to himself as he is (1) What can 1 know?
now, when he has accumulated incomparably more knowledge concerning (2) What ought 1 do?
150 CHAPTERIV DIALECTICS OF THE CONCRETE 151
(3) What may Ihope?
him to a mathematical~-physical magnitude, Now, under the impression of
~ant adds a fourth question to these three: Who is man? The first question outSide neeessity, this philosophy feels the need to be supplemented with
15answered by rnetaphysics, the second by maraIs, the third by religion, and whatever it lacks ~ namely with mano A philosophy of reality without ruan
fue fourfu by anthropology. But Kant explicitly notes that tl1e fírst furee is thus complemented with nane omer than a philasophy of mano We have
questions can actually a1so be classified under anthropology since a11 three two extremes here: on the one hand a concept accordíng to which reality is
are related to the 1ast question. 2 6 Who i8 that being which is asking what he a reality alman, and the world is a human project; on the other hand a Con-
can know, what he ouglit do, and what he may hope? cept according to which the world is authentic and objective only insofar as
. Dependü~g Oil where ane puts the emphasis, Kant's questions can be it is designed as world withaut mano This latter world is however not the
mterpreted In the sense of finitude in man (Heidegger) or in the sense of authentic reality, but only one of the designs ofhuman subjectivity, 011e of
man's share in infinity (Buber). But irrespective of the interpretation, the the possible ways in which man appropriates (and spirituaUy reproduces)
first three questions predetermine the fourth. Man i5 a being which 1eams the world. The physical image of the world, realized in modero natural
what it can know, which leams what it ought do, which 1earos what it may sciences from Galilei through Einstein, is but one of the possible
ho~e. 1'he first three questions define man as a cognitive subject and as the practical-spiritual approaches to reality: one of the ways to theoretically
sU~Je.ct of cognition: Further generations have added to and improved upon design (lO spiritually reproduce) and to practically master reality. Ir fuis
thIS mtelIectual honzon, and have reached t11e conclusion that man is not image is ontological (which 1S o~t of the question for materialist phílosophy
only a cognitive being but also an experiencing and an acting being: man is which grasps cognition as the spiritual reproduction of reality), Le. if it is
the subject of cognition, the subject of experiencing, the subject of acUon. considered to be reality itself, and man is to search for his relation to and
TIünking out this outline consistent1y, the world appears as man's project: for his place in this 'reality,' he will rnanage to succeed only if he either
1ile world is here only lnsofar as man exists. transforms himself into a mathematical~physical magnitude, Le. into a
< In this second meaning, the 'philosophy of man' expresses the perspee- calculable component of an organized system, or if he arrays himself and
tlV~ of hum.an subjectivity: the foundation and the point of departure for counts himself in with such a system as its subject, Le. as a theoretician, a
phIlosophy lS 110t man, man in general, but a eertain conception of man, physicist, a mathematician.
Philosophical an thropology is a philosophy of man inasn1Uch as it conceives Without man, reality is not authentic, just as it 1S not (only) a rca1íty of
of man as of subjeetivity. mano Reality is a reality of nature as the absolute totality, independent of
The phiJosophy of man has, however, yet another, third, meaning. It is a man's consciousness but also of his existence. It is a reality of man who as
programmatie discipline, which is to deal with neglected issues such as one of nature's components forms in nature a socio-human reality that
indivi~ual responsibility, the sense of life, the conflicting character of transcends nature, and who through history defines his place in the universe.
morallty, etc. Philosophy of man is a llame for the forgotten and the Man does not live in two different spheres, nor does he inhabit history with
ignored, for the forbidden and me neglected. It 1S considered an one part of his being and nature with h1S other part. Man is at al! times at
~ndispensable complement which has to be added to philosophy as it stands, once in nature and in history. As an historical, and thus as a social being, he
lO, order to update it and to have it provide answers to all questions. Leaving humanizes nature but also knows it and recognizes it as the absolute
aSlde the elementary fact that it merely confers an ostentatious title on totality, as the self-sufficient causa sui, as a precondition and prerequisite of
problems of ethics, the programmatic concept of a 'philosophy of man' humanization. In the cosmological concepts of Heraclitus and Spinoza,
suffers from an unbridgeable internal contradiction. The need for a man recognized nature as the absolute and inexhaustible totality to which
'philosophy of man' as a camplement of philosophy reveals the obfuscation he forever anew defines his relationship, throughout history: by mastering
an~ the problem~ridden character of the basic principIes of the very the forces oí' nature, by learning the laws of natural events, in myths,
phIlosophy that clamors for an 'antluopological complement'. The basie poetry, etc. But regardless of the variability of man's approach to nature, of
~esign and matrix of this philosophy has either left out man entirely, or has all progress in h1'o; mastery and knowledge of natural processes" nature abides
mcluded him only after transforrning him into a non-man, Le. after reducing in permanence as the absolute totality.
DIALECTlCS OF THE CONCRETE
153
152 CIlAPTER IV

Though nature for man is humanized, in industry, technology, science and totality of the world uncovered in history by man, and roan existing in the
culture, this does not imply that nature is in general a 'social category.' tota1ity of the world.
Cognition of nature and its mastery is socially conditioned, and nature i5 a
social category, changing through history, in this sense; but the absolute
existen ce ofnature depends Oil nothing and on no~one, NOTES
'If man were to íransform nature entirely iuto an object of human,
economic and productive activity, and have it cease to exist in its 1 Descartes, Discourse on M.ethod, Baltim~re 1~,6!'e~~:~~d praxis Kant demolishes the
2 In a characteristicdiscusSlOn of the relatton o f1' for their fictitious praxis.
inviolability as nature, he would deprive hirnself of an essential aspect ofhis ,,' ho consider theorv super uous "
preJudlces of w;noramuses W -'deas of smart-alecks that theory Isgood
human life. A culture that would cull nature completely out of \ife would He condemns ~ven mo:e vehemently, ~o.w7~e~, 1 an ignorant individual calls theory
destroy itself and W ouId become intolerable'. 27 in itself but 15 unsmtable for praXIS, d en t" e this is not as unbearable as when
· ble in his 5Uppose prac IC , ' hil
unnecessary and d1.spe~sa . ue (as a mere mental exercise, perhaps) w e
Man is not wa11ed in by the subjectivity ofhis race, socialness, or subjective a know~it"all admlts ÜS academlc val ' d'ff l' 1 Kant On the Old Saw:
projects, in which he would merely define himself in different ways. Rather, asserting that ~n p:actice things /o~k ~~t~t~~~ Pr~c~::e~ p'hÚadelphia 1974, p. 42.
through his being, i.e. through praxis, he has the ability to transcend his That May Be Rlght In Theory B.ut t on t" of reality and the genesis of modern
3The connection between thlS new co~ePblOn"'-kOvá 'Berkovského eseje o tragédii'
subjectivity and to get to know things as they are. The being of man tragedy has becn pointed o~t J~y NR'Berr:o~~lij Eseje o tragédii IEssays on Tragedy],
reproduces not only the socio-human reality; it spiritually reproduces reality [Berkavski's Essays an Trage ~ In '·h '1 ;eigns supreme and blaod fiows freely,
in its totality. Man exists in the totality of the world, bu! this totality Prague 1962, p. 1~: ',A world m¡ wInc, V.I,~ e~~ything is permitted, anything can be
is made of astOnlshmgly supp e ma ena ,
includes man himself as well, as well as his ability to spiritually reproduce achieved, realized, grabbed'. . 1 d practical intentionality as well as the
4 Husserl's distinctio~ betw .
ti1e totality of the world. e en ~leoret1C~ a~~ universal praxis which changes manku:d
Only when man is included in the design of reality and when reality is postulate of synthesls of ulllversal ,.tl~e~ry f ther development of idealist philosophy In
is important in terms of the potentta OI Uf
grasped as the totality of nature and history will the conditions for solving the 20th century. " "nent to this problematique have been
the philosophical problem of man have been created. While a reality without s Extremely valuable h1stonc~l, d1ata P:~n der Natur: Zur Vorgeschichte der Idee
ruan would be incomplete, rnan without the world would equalIy be a mere presented in Hans Blumenbe;g s N~chah 1 1957 no. 5 pp. 266-83,
des sc..~opferischen Menschen, StudlUmge~er~ e'l gu~ents' :The subjuO"ation oí aman
6 I~portant in thi.s con~ext are EngelS~ POa~:l~a:~he subjU~ator has at"'his disposal the
fragment. Philosophical anthropology cannot recognize the charaeter of
man for it has locked him into the subjectivity of hls eonsciousness, raee for menial work, m alllts forms, pres pp . h 1 le is able to employ the oppressed
f lab w'th the help of WhlC a one 1 bl
and socialness, and has radically separated him fram fue müverse. Learning instruments o or 1 . ddT the means of 5ubsistence which ena es
person and in ~he case ~f ~l~very, In a ~e}~~¿ slavery becomes possible, a certain le,vel
about the universe and about laws of natural events always also amounts to him to keep hIS slave ahve. Therefo "
re
h d and a certain inequality of distribuüon
direct or indirect learning about roan and his specificity. of production must already have been reAac ~Dühring New York 1972, pp, 179, 178.
d h e appeared' F Enge 1s, no- ,
Man's being is where the socio-human happening and the extra-human must aIrea y av .. .' b' del of praxis, Most interpreters of Hegel
1 The 'master-slave' dialechc IS ,the asIC mo
reality encounter and coIlide in a spedal way. Man is a being whose being Is have missed this fundamental.p~mt. 1 of the word with manipulation ar
characterized by the practical production of the socio-human reality and by 8The identification of praxIs m the :-ea sensetheory as man's only access to the
a spiritual reproduction of human and extra-human reality, of reality in procuring periodically leads to s~ress~ngll pu:e Feuerbach Karl Lowith also stresses
cognition of the world ir: its tota.b~y. ? owmg'ff und Ang;iff, versteht sich auf dieses
general. Praxis negotiates an access to man and to comprehending man, as well that 'die alltagliche praküsche Umslch~~~r d~~g~eranderung, sie erblickt aber nicht das
as to nature and to explaining and mastering nature. The dualism of man und jenes zum z~eck de,: ~enutzu~gmmelte Abhandlungen, Stuttgart 1960, p, 2~3.
and nature, freedom and lawfulness, anthropologism and scientism, cannot ganze der Welt. K. LO:",lth" Cesa from the 'dirty praxis of-hagglers, whICh
Lowith, as Feuerbach before hin:, ~uns aw~y f the \Vord. and embraces pure
be bridged from the standpoint of consdousness ar of matter, but on the he fails to distinguish from praxIs In the pIOper sense o .
basis of praxis, of praxis conceived in the aboye manner. and disinterested theory. . t' differs both 'from ideal conceptual
. . I oo' f n whose element IS l m e , ' , ,
Dialeetics is afler the 'thing itselr.' Bu! the 'thing itself is no ordinary 9 Real hlstonca m la 10 , ." '11 or mediation of the romantlclstS.
medíaüon (Hegel) and from the, flCtt~lOuS 1 us c!e t a dualist ontology which radica1,lY
1 {)Materialist phllosophy can ther~fore .not, a d Kístary as dialectics. Such a duahst
thing; actually it is not a thing at al\. The 'thing itself that philosophy deals
with is man and his place in the universe or, in different words: ji is fue distinguishes between nature as ldentlty an
DIALECTlCS QF THE CONCRETE 155
154 CHAPTER IV
, ,. . ' g o activae creaüonis humanitatis alius extat finis ~uam humani-
ontology would be appropriate only if the philosophy of human reality were conceived conceptlOEn. CNO~ er Ind,'",'dual and [he Cosmos in Renaissance Phllosophy, New
as anthropology. tas'. See '. assuer, Th e " '
11 This ís Smith's thought quoted in context which is extremely important for York 1964 p. 87. . f th· book do not aIlow us to conduct a thorongh historical
comprehending the late! reasoning of Kant and Hegel, far less encumbered by 'English 21 The character and ~Jze ~. 1S develo ment Such an investigation would, however,
practicism': The capitalist 'intends only his own security; and by directing, .. industry investigation of Marx s s~lntuaI . r~blem ·is the central point in the clash between
in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends on1y his own demon~trate that fue sub]ect-ob;ect P Id detect and profusely iIlustrate haw Marx
gaín, and he is in this, as in ruany other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an materialist philosophy and !fegc: ; wf c~u
l nd in the stage of 'Capital'. Particularly
end which was no part of his intcntion.' A. Smith, Wealth af Nations, New York 1937, dealt with this issue bot.h In hJs/~;,y s ra:~l:m is the first edition of Das Kapilal, of
p.423. enlightening as. ~o the h1sto~y o 11S fof his explicit polemics with Hegel.
1867. Later edltlOns left out a great p~r . '/. the dialectics of consciousness and
1 2 Kant foreshadowed Hegel's 'cunning 01' reasan' in 1784: 'lndividual" and even whole
peopIe think Httle of this, that while each according to his own íncliJlation furthers his 2Z:~ree basic .~om~nts st~nd o~t 10 a~~to:~~ results of human activity; and the
own intention, often in opposition to others, each individual and people, as ii' actlVlty; the dtalectlcs of mtentlOns. . the osdllation between what people
folJowing sorne guiding thread, unwittingly further the intention of Nature ... ' I. dialectics of being and people's. conSClOusness, J.C. e and what others consider them to
Kant, 'Idea for a Universal History.' in L. W. Beck (ed.), Kant on History, New York actuaIlY are and what they consider them.sel:;,s to b, a~d charncter of their activity. The
1963, pp. 11 ..·12 (adapted). be), betwcen the real and the apparent SJg~u ~n~ 'is for the multidimensionality of
permeation and unity of these elements 1S e as
I ~Schelling, Werke, vol. 2, p. 603.
<

'4The relatíonship of freedom and necessity 1S a central guestion for German classical history. . lb 1948 P 9f
philosophy. See A. F. Asmus, Marks i burzhoaznii istorizm, Moscow 1933, p. 68. The ;> 3 M. Buber, Das Problem 4es Menschen, He1d e erg uch oi ; p·rob·lem to himself as he is
24' ••• at no time in his hlstory has man been so m
historicaI parts of this work, especially its investigation of historical and philosophical
now ' M Scheler Man's Place in Nature, Baston 196.1, p., 6. , t 1962 P 216
problems of Hobbes, Spinoza, Schelling and Hegel, have still not lost their scientific .., bl fMetaphyslcS Bloommg on ,. .
merito "M. , Kant and the Pro
Heidegger . em oA fu pOlogie ,rechnen wel , ·1 SIC
. h dl'e d,el' elsten
1 S'What an unsophisticated perspective might accidentally consider free and thus
26 '1m Grunde konnte man an dles zur n ro _ 964 16 448
Fra<>en auf die letzte beziehen'. 1. Kant, Werke, 't'rankfurt 1 , va. ,p. .
objective i8 in reality predetermined and necessary, with the individual making it his
27 S~ L. Rubinstein, Printsipi i put'i, p.205.
own acto This, incidentally, is for better or worse the tool of absolute necessity, which
goes for suceess as welf. Schelling, Werke, vol. 3, p. 313. The Czech Augustin Smetana
ironicaUy commented that Schelling had brought the problem to a head in his
philosophy, but in solving it he lowered the flag of science and hoisted that of faith.
Schelling's formulation would solve the contradiction of freedom and necessity only 'if
we could delete the stamp 01' freedom from the concept 01' action, that is, if there were
no contradictjon in the first place.' (A. Smetana, Sebrané spisy fCollected Worksj,
Prague 1960, pp. 66l) Contemporary philosophers would agree with this position. H.
Fuhrmanns, the editor 01' Schelling's work on freedom, characterizes the concept 01'
freedom in Hegel's and Schelling's philosophy 01' history thus: 'Freedom i8 the
voluntary service 10 something preexisting'. Schelling, Das Wesen der menschlichen
Freiheit, Düsseldorf 1950, p. xv. Another author has this to say of Schelling:
'Compared w1t11 the power of determínants which aet subterraneously in history, the
spon1aneity of the individual decision does not signify much: if indeed one may ascribe
any meaning at all to it'. H. Barth, Philosophie der Erscheinung, Basel 1959, vol. 2,
pp. 2691.
) 6N. Abbagnano, Posibilita e liberta, Turin 1956, pp. 26}:
¡ ? Swis$ scholars have calculated that sorne 3.640 million people have been killed in

wars so faro
I s Hegel criticizes the 'beautiful spirit' of t11e romanticists which knows that the world

is dirty and does not want to soll itself by contact with it, i.e. through activlty. This
critique, levelled from the perspective of historical activity, cannot be identified with
the 'critique' written by inmates of the 'human zoo' who denounce the 'beautiful
spirit' only in order to cover up in 'historical' slogans their dreary private shop-keeping
business where exactly nothing save 1he private interest of the shopkeeper is at stake.
I ~Potest igitur horno esse humanus deus atgue deus humaniter, potest esse humanus

angelus, humana bestia, humanus leo aut ursus, aut alius quodcumque.
2 QCardinal Nicholas Cusanus is the author of this revolutionary anti-theological
INDEX OF NAMES 157

Hoffmeister, J. 34 Montaigne, M. E. 86
Horkheimer, M. 128 Morf, O. 128
Husserl, E. 9, 33, 88,127,153 Morgenstern, 0.58,88
INDEX OF NAMES Hyppolite, J. 129
Naville, P.i27, 130
Ingarden, R. 91 Neumann, J. von 58, 88
Neurath. O. 33
Jarzess 123 Nietzscl;e, F. 128
Abbagnano, N. 154 Dolezel, 1. 91 Jaspers, K. 34, 88 Novalis 91L, 111
Adams, John 89 Domarchi, J. 127 Jones, R. 91
Adler, Max 128 DubskY,1. 131 Ortega y Gasset 86
Alquié, F. 131 Kafka, Franz 13, 87
Anders, G. 87 Einstein, A. 151 Kant, L 128, 135, 149f., 153f., 155 Palacky, F. 97
Aristotle 123f., 135 Emrich, W. 87 Kareyev 62, 89 Pascal, B. 59
Arx, B. van 35 Engels,F. 32, 107, 129L, 153 Kautsky, K. 128 Perelman, Ch. 88L
Asmus, A. F. 154 Kierkegaard, S; 104f., 128 Petty, W. 88
Feuerbach,1.17, 76,153 Kon, L 25, 34 Picasso, P. 90
Bacon, F. 9, 88, 135f. Fichte, J. 34 Konrad, K. 35, 63 Plato 9
Barban, A. 129 Freeman, K. 34 Kosík, K. 24, 34f., 50, 69, 90f., 99, Plekhanov, G. V. 17,61,76, 89f.
Barth, H. 154 Freyer, H. 87f. 1301. Pons, A. 91
Bartali, M. 130 Friedmanl1, G. 130 Koyré, A. 88 po pper, K. 34
Baumgarten 59 Fuhrmann, H. 154 Kuszinski, J. 90 Poulet,G.91,131
Becker, C. 1. 34
Bend, J. 34 Galilei,G. 50, 88, 151 Labriola, A. 61, 89
Quesnay, F. 91
Bergson, H. 123 Garandy, R. 127 Lacroix, P. 130
Boekovsky, N.153 Garin, E. 90 Lask, E. 34, 91
Rembrandt 71 f.
Bernard, J. 90 Goethe, J. W. von 32, 34, 90,101 Lehmann, G. 87
Ricardo, D. 51
Bertalanffy, L. von 34 Goldmann,1. 34, 127 Leibniz, G. W. 35
Rickert, H. 91
Bigo, P. 127 Gonseth, F. 22, 34 Lenin 21, 129
Lévy"Brühl, H. 34 Ritter, J. 88
Blumenberg, H. 153 Gramsci 87
Rossi, P. 88
Botticelli 68 Granger, G. G. 32 Lifshitz, M. 90L
Rousseau,1. J. 8, 73,91,110
Bovillus, C. 119 Grebnickova, R. 153 Litt, TIl. 91
Royee, J. 129
Brecht, B. 87 Grimm, J. 108 L5with, K. 128, 153
Rubinstein, S. L. 86, 155
Bruno,G.123 Grossmann, H. 129 Lukács., G. 34,56,131
Ruyer 130
Ruber, M. 150, 155 Guitton, H. 87
Büchner, G. 87 Gurwitch, A. 88 Mach. E. 128
Buffon, G. 1. 91 Mácha, K. H. 96 Sabrina, K. 34
Burdach, K. 86 Hamilton 89 Macchiavelli, 1\. 135 Sartre., J. P. 34, 130
Harríngton 62,89 Madison 62,89 Scheler, M. 123, 155
Caesar 124 Hauser, A. 91 Malthus 91 Schelling, F. W. 24, 34f., 124, 126, 132,
Callois, R. 132 Hayek, F. A. 23, 34 Mandeville 52,87 141,154
Carnap, R. 33 Hegel, G. W. F. 9, 21, 24, 32ff., 38,52, Manetti,G.90,119 Schelsky, H. 90
Cassirer, E. 88, 155 60,77,85, 87!'., 90ff., 104ff., 113, Mannheim, K. 34, 89 Schiller, F. 9
Coker, F. 89 119, 123f., 128f., 130f., 135, 137, Mareuse,H.1l3, 128, 13Of. Sehumpeter, J. 127
Condorcet, M. 88 141,144,153ff. Marx, K. 2, 5, 9r., 13, 15ff., 24, 29, Shaftesbury, A. 87
eusanus, N. 154 Heidegger, M. 38, 86f., 123, 150, 155 32f1., 55f., 62, 75fT., 86ff., 90ff., Shakespeare, W. 8, 73,85,96
Helvetius 51 95ff., 127ff., 136,143,155 S111etana, A. 124, 131, 154
Darwin, Ch. 128 Heraclítus24, 77, 85, 151 Melon 88 Smith, A. 55,154
Dembowski, E. 124 Herder, J. G. 37 Merleau-Ponty 33 5pann 24
Descartes, R. 24, 59, 88, 105, 135, 153 Hess, Moses 113 Meyer87 Spinoza 9, 13, 17, 151, 154
Dewey, J. 89 Hobbes, Th. 147, 154 Mirandola, Pico della 119 Strauss, L. 88
Diderot, D. 52, 87, 91, 131 Hoering, Th. 91 Mombert, P. 90 SuUivan 89
158 INDEX OF NAMES

Thierry 62 Wahl, Jean 90 SYNTHESE LIBRARY


Tran Duc-Thao 33 Wagner 129, 131
Tyteca, L. 88L Waelhens, A. de 33
Weber, Max 56, 58, 64ff., 8SL
Wittgenstein, L. 24 Monographs on Epistemology, Logic, Methodology,
Vialatoux 130 Watff, H. 87 Philosophy of Science, Sociology of Science and of Knowledge, and 00 the
Vico, G. B. 91, 135, 141 Woolf, Virginia 14 MathematicaJ Methods of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Vinogradov, V. 91 Wright Mills, C. 56, 88

Managing Editor:
JAAKKO HINTIKKA (Academy of Finland and Stanford University)

Editors:
ROBERT S. CoHEN (Bastan University)
DONALD DAVIDSON (The Rockefeller University and Princeton University)
GABRIEL NUCHELMANS (University of Leyden)
WESLEY C. SALMON (Universíty of Arizona)

l. J. M. BOCHENSKI, A Precisof Mathernatical Logic. 1959, X + 100 pp.


2. P. L. GlJIRAUD, Problemes el méthodes de la slalistique linguistique. 1960, VI + 146 pp.
3. HANS FREUDEl'.'THAL (ed.), The Concept and the Role ofthe Model in Mathematics and
Natural and Social Sciences, Proceedings of a Collaquium held at Utrec}¡t. The Nether-
lands, January 1960.1961, VI+ 194 pp.
4. EVERT W. BETH, Formal Methods. An Introduction ro Symbolic ÚJgle and the Study
of effective Operations in Arithmetic and Lagic. 1962, XIV --'- 170 pp.
5. B. H. KAZEMIER and D. VUYSJE (eds.), Logic and Language. Studies dedicated to Profes-
sor RudolICarnap on the Occasíon ofhis Seventierh Birrhday. 1962, VI + 256 pp.
6. MARX W. WARTOFSKY (ed.), Proceedings of/he Baston Colloquiumfor the Philosophy
of Science, 1961--1962, Boston Studies in the Phi1osophy of Science (ed. by Robert
S. Cohen and Marx W. Wartofsky), Volume 1. 1973, VIII + 212 pp,
7. A. A. ZINOV'EV, Philosophical Problems of Many-Valued Logic. 1963. XIV + 155 pp.
8. GEORGES GURVITCH, The Spectrum of Sociall'íme. 1964, XXVI ---l- 152 pp.
9. PAUL LoRENZEN, Formal Logic. 1965, VIII + 123 pp.
10. ROBERT S. COHEN and MARX W. W ARTOFSKY (eds.), In Honorof Philipp Frank, Boston
Studies in het Philosophy ofScience (ed. by Robert S. Cohen and Marx W. Wartofsky),
Volume 11. 1965, XXXIV + 475 pp.
11. EVERT W. BETH, Mathematical Thought. An Introduction lo the Philosopy of Mathe-
marics. 1965, XII + 208 pp.
12. EVERT W. BE1H and JEAN PIAGET, Mathematical Epistemology and Psychology. 1966,
XII + 326 pp.
13. GUIDO KÜNG, Ontology and the Logistic Analysis of Language, An Enquiry into [he
Contemporary Views on Universals. 1967, XI + 210 pp.
14. ROBERT S. COHEN and MARX W. WARTOFSKY (eds.), Proceedings of rhe Boston Collo-
quiumfor the Philosophy ofScience 1964-1966. in Memory of Norwood Russell Hanson,
Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science (ed. by Robert S. Cohen and Marx W.
Wartofsky), Volume IIl. 1967, XLIX +489 pp.