Selections from the Prison Notebooks


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Steven R. Mansfield - - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 59 John Schwarzmantel - - Routledge. Letters From Prison. Nelson Moe - - Journal of the History of Philosophy 34 1 Prison Notebooks. Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks Volume 2.

The Great Gramsci

Simon - forthcoming - Radical Philosophy. The Intellectuals From Prison Notebooks.

Antonio Gramsci, "Prison Notebooks". Alan Hunt - - Philosophy in Review 17 6 Added to PP index Total views 15 , of 2,, Recent downloads 6 months 1 , of 2,, How can I increase my downloads? Sign in to use this feature. This article has no associated abstract. Socialism and Marxism in Social and Political Philosophy categorize this paper. Applied ethics. History of Western Philosophy. The theme that links these writings is the investigation of ideology at its different levels, and the structures that embody and reproduce it.

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Concepts such as subalternity and corporate consciousness, hegemony and the building of a counterhegemony recur throughout the book. Further Selections from the Prison Notebooks complements some of the more overtly political analyses published in the selection from the Notebooks. This book is an important addition to the corpus of work available to English-speaking scholars of Gramsci.

It will be useful to a wide audience of scholars and public intellectuals, including historians, philosophers, political scientists, literary theorists, and critics. Antonio Gramsci is considered one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century. Furnishes us with a superb introduction not only to Gramsci's notes on economics, religion, and critical sociology of knowledge, but also to what the nature of Gramsci's own Marxism according to Boothman is.

Well illustrates the sublety and depth of his thought, making his views of continuing value for those seeking an alternative to poststructuralist approaches to cultural and political studies.

ISBN 13: 9780717803972

University of Minnesota Press Coming soon. As a result, there is no such thing as an unchanging " human nature ", but only an idea of such which varies historically. Furthermore, philosophy and science do not "reflect" a reality independent of man, but rather are only "true" in that they express the real developmental trend of a given historical situation. For the majority of Marxists, truth was truth no matter when and where it is known, and scientific knowledge which included Marxism accumulated historically as the advance of truth in this everyday sense.

On this view, Marxism could not be said to not belong to the illusory realm of the superstructure because it is a science. In contrast, Gramsci believed Marxism was "true" in the socially pragmatic sense, in that by articulating the class consciousness of the proletariat , it expressed the "truth" of its times better than any other theory. This anti- scientistic and anti- positivist stance was indebted to the influence of Benedetto Croce.

However, it should be underlined that Gramsci's was an "absolute historicism" that broke with the Hegelian and idealist tenor of Croce's thinking and its tendency to secure a metaphysical synthesis in historical "destiny". Though Gramsci repudiates the charge, his historical account of truth has been criticised as a form of relativism.

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In a famous pre-prison article entitled "The Revolution against Das Kapital ", Gramsci claimed that the October Revolution in Russia had invalidated the idea that socialist revolution had to await the full development of capitalist forces of production. This reflected his view that Marxism was not a determinist philosophy.

The principle of the causal "primacy" of the forces of production , he held, was a misconception of Marxism.

What is Hegemony? Antonio Gramsci and the Prison Notebooks

Both economic changes and cultural changes are expressions of a "basic historical process", and it is difficult to say which sphere has primacy over the other. Because Marxism is a "philosophy of praxis", it cannot rely on unseen "historical laws" as the agents of social change.

Antonio Gramsci: contents of 'Selections from the Prison Notebooks'

History is defined by human praxis and therefore includes human will. Nonetheless, will-power cannot achieve anything it likes in any given situation: when the consciousness of the working-class reaches the stage of development necessary for action, historical circumstances will be encountered which cannot be arbitrarily altered. It is not, however, predetermined by historical inevitability as to which of several possible developments will take place as a result.

His critique of economism also extended to that practised by the syndicalists of the Italian trade unions.


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He believed that many trade unionists had settled for a reformist, gradualist approach in that they had refused to struggle on the political front in addition to the economic front. While Gramsci envisioned the trade unions as one organ of a counter-hegemonic force in capitalist society, the trade union leaders simply saw these organizations as a means to improve conditions within the existing structure.

Gramsci referred to the views of these trade unionists as "vulgar economism", which he equated to covert reformism and even liberalism. By virtue of his belief that human history and collective praxis determine whether any philosophical question is meaningful or not, Gramsci's views run contrary to the metaphysical materialism and 'copy' theory of perception advanced by Engels and Lenin, though he does not explicitly state this.

For Gramsci, Marxism does not deal with a reality that exists in and for itself, independent of humanity. The concept of an objective universe outside of human history and human praxis was, in his view, analogous to belief in God ; there could be no objectivity, but only a universal intersubjectivity to be established in a future communist society.


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Natural history was thus only meaningful in relation to human history. On his view philosophical materialism, like primitive common sense, resulted from a lack of critical thought, and could not, as Lenin [1] claimed, be said to oppose religious superstition. Despite this, Gramsci resigned himself to the existence of this arguably cruder form of Marxism: the proletariat's status as a dependent class meant that Marxism, as its philosophy, could often only be expressed in the form of popular superstition and common sense.


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