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Karel Kosík

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Karel Kosík 26 June 1926 – 21 February 2003 was a Czech Neomarxist philosopher In his most famous philosophical work, Dialectics of the Concrete 1963, Kosík presents an original synthesis of Martin Heidegger's version of phenomenology and the ideas of Karl Marx His later essays can be called a sharp critique of the modern society from a leftist position


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Legacy
  • 3 Work
  • 4 References
    • 41 Bibliography
  • 5 External links


Karel Kosík was born on 26 June 1926 in Prague

From 1 September 1943 until his arrest by the Gestapo on 17 November 1944, he was a member of an illegal anti-nazi communist resistance group Předvoj The Vanguard and a chief editor of an illegal journal Boj mladých The Fight of Youth After his seizure Kosík was accused of high treason and repeatedly questioned From 30 January to 5 May 1945 he was imprisoned in Theresienstadt concentration camp

From 1945 to 1947, Kosík studied philosophy and sociology at the Charles University in Prague In the years 1947–1949, he also attended courses at the Leningrad University and the Moscow State University in the USSR He graduated in 1950 in Prague at the Charles University In this part of his life he met his future wife Růžena Grebeníčková later laureate of Herder Prize, from this marriage came three children Antonín Kosík, Irena Kosíková and Štěpán Kosík In 1963, he published his magnum opus, Dialectics of the Concrete, a re-working of Marxian categories in terms of humanist phenomenology, which earned him an international reputation as a leading philosopher of humanist Marxism During the "Prague Spring" of 1968, Kosík became a leading voice for democratic socialism a distinction he shared with Ivan Sviták, Czechoslovakia's other prominent Marxist humanist This political engagement led to Kosík's dismissal from university work in 1970, after the period of democratization had ended He remained unemployed until 1990, when he returned to public intellectual life as one of Central Europe's few prominent leftist social critics


Spanish-Mexican Marxist Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez wrote in the prologue for the Mexican edition that he considered Dialetics of the Concrete to be "one of the richest in thinking, one of the most charming and attractive works as we know it in Marxist literature"2 French-Brazilian Marxist Michael Löwy and Argentine historian Horacio Tarcus wrote for Le Monde:

Karel Kosik is not only one of the most important philosophers of the second half of the twentieth century, but also one of those who best embodied the spirit of resistance of critical thinking It is also one of the few who have fought in succession the three major forces of oppression of modern history: Fascism in the 1940s, the Stalinist bureaucratic regime in 1956, and the dictatorship of market since 1989 At a time when so many thinkers have abdicated their autonomy to serve the powerful of this world, or turned away from the historical reality to engage in academic language games, Kosik appears as a standing man who refuses to bow down, and who does not hesitate to think, against the current, about the major problems of the time3

The Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences CAS held a conference on Kosík's œuvre between 4 and 6 June 2014 in Prague4 Organized by Ivan Landa, Jan Mervart, and Joseph Grim Feinberg, it had people from around the world discussing the impact of Kosík's thought on "issues that are still relevant today"45 Landa and Mervat are working on a "critical edition" of "everything Kosík had ever published or written for print during his lifetime", includinga books, essays and short notes6 To be published in Czech, it is planned to have seven volumes, out of which three are complete as of September 2016: one of essays on political activities and on the Czech radical democrats of 1848; a volume of essays on culture and politics from the period of 1956–1967; and a re-edition of Dialectics of the Concrete and philosophical essays the same time period6 Also, with funding from the CAS Landa and Mervat are translating texts to published "a comprehensive English volume" on Kosík'6


  • Čeští radikální demokraté, Praha 1958
  • Dialektika konkrétního, Praha 1963, 1965, 1966
    • English translation: Dialectics of the Concrete, Dordrecht 1976
  • Moral und Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Mein 1968, 1970
  • La nostra crisi attuale, Roma 1969, Barcelona 1971
  • Století Markéty Samsové, 1993, 1995
  • Jinoch a smrt, Praha 1995
  • Předpotopní úvahy, Praha 1997
  • Poslední eseje, Praha 2004
  • "Dialectic of the Concrete Totality" Telos 2 Fall 1968 New York: Telos Press


  1. ^ Jay 1984, p 5
  2. ^ Sánchez Vázquez 1967
  3. ^ Le Monde 2004
  4. ^ a b Czech Academy of Sciences 2014a
  5. ^ Czech Academy of Sciences 2014b
  6. ^ a b c Lefteast 2016


  • Czech Academy of Sciences "Karel Kosík and Dialectics of the Concrete" Retrieved 9 October 2016 
  • Czech Academy of Sciences "Karel Kosík and Dialectics of the Concrete - Conference Program" PDF Retrieved 9 October 2016 
  • Jay, Martin 1984 Marxism and Totality: The Adventures of a Concept from Lukács to Habermas University of California Press 
  • Löwy, Michael; Tarcus, Horacio 1 March 2004 "Karel Kosik, philosophe insoumis" Le Monde 
  • Robertson, James 6 September 2016 "On Czech Marxism: An interview with Ivan Landa and Jan Mervart" Lefteast Retrieved 9 October 2016 
  • Sánchez Vázquez, Adolfo 1967 "Prólogo" In Kosik, Karel Dialéctica de lo concreto Grijalbo 

External linksedit

  • Karel Kosík Man and Philosophy
  • Dictionary of Czech Philosophers Czech
  • Kosík's biographic and bibliographic information Czech
  • Karel Kosík's biography

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