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Call for Papers: Karel Kosík and Dialectics of the Concrete

Karel Kosík and Dialectics of the Concrete
Prague, June 4–6, 2014

A conference organised by the Department for the Study of Modern Czech Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

In 1963 Karel Kosík published his path-breaking book Dialectics of the Concrete. It made an impact on both Marxist and non-Marxist thinkers, in Czechoslovakia and throughout the world. In this work Kosík set for himself an ambitious task—to re-think the basic concepts of the Marxist philosophical tradition and to employ them in the analysis of social reality. In the course of his analysis he touched on a wide array of issues that are still relevant today, including the problem of mystification or the “pseudo-concrete,” the social role of art, the conception of reality as a concrete totality, the conception of the human being as an onto-formative being, the systematic connection between labour and temporality, the relationship between praxis and labour, and the explanatory power of the dialectical method.

We would like to explore Kosík’s seminal work in both breadth and depth. To that end, we welcome papers addressing the following topics:

  • Kosík in dialogue with other thinkers, such as Hegel, Marx, Labriola, Gramsci, Lukács, Heidegger, Marcuse, Popper, Gonseth, and Weber.
  • Kosík’s response to other currents of thought, especially phenomenology, structuralism, existentialism, critical theory, and positivism.
  • Kosík’s work in relation to other varieties of Marxist humanism.
  • Dialectics of the Concrete in the context of Kosík’s overall philosophical œuvre.
  • Dialectics of the Concrete and its influence on political theory, aesthetics, theology, cultural anthropology, sociology, pedagogy, and other fields.
  • The reception and critique of Kosík’s Dialectics of the Concrete in different parts of the world, such as East-Central Europe; in Germany, Italy, Russia, and Scandinavia; the Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanophone, and Lusophone worlds; China, Japan, and other countries in Asia.

Papers addressing other topics related to Kosík’s work are also welcome.

The conference will be conducted in English. Proposals—including a title and an abstract of 100–200 words—should be sent by 31 December 2013 to Submissions must be in .doc or .rtf format. Notice of acceptance will be sent by 30 January 2014. A conference fee of 100 Euros (60 Euros for students) will cover the costs of organising the conference (including conference accessories and coffee breaks). Details about the method of payment will be announced after abstract acceptance. The conference proceedings will be published as a book in 2015.


Organisers: Ivan Landa, Jan Mervart, Joseph Grim Feinberg

International Organising Committee: Johann P. Arnason, Peter Hudis, Joseph G. Feinberg, Ivan Landa, Michael Löwy, Jan Mervart, Francesco Tava


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