The Struggle for Objectivity: Gramsci’s Historical-Political Vistas on Science against the Background of Lenin’s Epistemology

Pietro Daniel Omodeo 1
  • 1 Ca’ Foscari University of Venice,


This contribution interprets the intertwined issues of science, epistemology, society, and politics in Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks as a culturalist approach to science that does not renounce objectivity. Gramsci particularly criticized the scientist positions taken by the Bolshevik leader Nikolai Bukharin in Historical Materialism (1921) and the conference communication he delivered at the International Congress of History of Science and Technology in London in 1931. Gramsci did not avoid, at least implicitly, engaging with the theses of Lenin’s Materialism and Empiriocriticism (1909). Gramsci’s reception of these Russian positions was twofold: on the one hand, he agreed with the centrality of praxis (and politics) for a correct assessment of the meaning of epistemological positions; on the other hand, he disagreed with the reduction of the problem of epistemology to the dichotomy of materialism and idealism at the expense of any consideration of the ideological dimension of science.

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