Dialectical Rationality in History: A Paradigmatic Approach to Karl Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

  • Michael A. Kissell


There are two principal approaches to the investigation of the nature and methods of historical knowledge: deduction within the frames of philosophical systems, and analytical reflection based on real history. The general tendency in the history of socio-philosophical thought is the shift from the first approach to the second. In the post-World War II period, analytical method was practiced in a two-fold way, as in the manner of the early and the later philosophy of Wittgenstein. His first (early) version of analysis presupposed the construction of model language in the light of which every actual statement must be corrected or thrown out if such a correction is impossible. From this point of view, the language of history is hopelessly damaged, and so history becomes a form of pseudo-knowledge. The second type of analysis — taking as its subject ordinary language in the real world — is much more liberal because it assumes “different linguistic games”: not just one language inherent in the empirical natural order. Thus arose the analytical philosophy of history which investigates the morphology of historical writings, different levels of historical knowledge, and the connection with other forms of creative spiritual activity.


Class Struggle Historical Knowledge Real History Historical Writing Dialectical Structure 
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  1. 2.
    Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii (Works), 2nd edn (Moscow, 1957), 8:119Google Scholar

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© Henry Kozicki 1993

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  • Michael A. Kissell

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