Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz

In Italian


Kelles-Krauz was one of the most significant Marxist thinkers at the turn of the century. Strongly influenced by both the general positivistic climate of the times and neocriticism, along with Stanislaw Krusinski he interpreted Kantian categories as "social a prioris": knowledge is socially conditioned and Marxism is none other than a retranslation of Kant's point of view of class in sociological terms. Kelles-Krauz was also the first to point out the obvious similarities between positivism and Marxism, which converged above all in their way of investigating social phenomena. In a broad sense, Marxism is epistemology, reflection on the scientific knowledge of reality, the methodology of positive investigation. Marxism also shares certain theses with positivism, notable universal determinism, a general monistic orientation, the pivotal role of science, and a realistic philosophical attitude. Kelles-Krauz viewed phenomenalism as closely connected with the above-mentioned sociological interpretation of Kant's "a prioris"; it always refers to a collective. social individual. This is in turn linked to the thesis that Marxism, far from being a systematic, timeless world view - the truth finally achieved by men and thus liberation from ideology - was instead adequate awareness and scientific knowledge for a certain stage of socio-economic development. In this way Kelles-Krauz did not think that Marxism constituted a privileged view of history; as it was historically determined by a certain stage of economic development, it could not only be revised but was necessarily bound to accept criticism and try to improve itself. Coherently with these concepts it was interpreted as a sociological theory of a scientific nature, albeit historically determined, alien to philosophical problemising (as philosophy was a synonym for ideological knowledge), and therefore what Comte would call a "positive science". Kelles-Krauz is also famous for what he considered to be his greatest sociological discovery, the so-called "law of retrospective revolution" according to which "the ideals with which each reform movement tries to replace existing social norms are always similar to the norms of a more or less distant past".


Main works

- Pisma wybrane (Selected Works), KIW, Warszawa 1962, 2 voll (with a complete bibliography of the works edited by A. Zarnowszka).
- Historia i rewolucja, KIW, Warszawa 1983.

Selected Bibliography

- G. Ekiert, "Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz: from marxism to sociology", in P. Sztompka, Masters of Polish Sociology, Ossolineum, Wroclaw 1984
- W. Bienkowski, Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz: zycie i dzielo (K.K.K.: life and works), Zaklad Narodowy im. Ossolinskich, Wroclaw 1969, pp.316.
- T. Snyder, Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz (1872-1905), Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University, 1997.

Papers online

- An extensive abstract of the "Preface" of the Snyder's book, Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz (1872-1905), Harvard U.P., Harvard 1998.


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