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The Criticism of All that Exists in the Philosophy of Gajo Petrović

Written by Jasenka Kodrnja, this article appeared on the third issue of the journal Filozofska istraživanja in 2008.
This text was inspired by the discussion between Gajo Petrović and Savka Dabčević Kučar in 1965, that is, by the article “About the Unrelenting Criticism of All that Exists” (the article was not published by the Croatian newspaper Vjesnik, with the explanation that it is “under the level presentable to the general public”). Petrović conceives criticism primarily as an analytical vehicle that reaches the essence (and in that regard, removes it from other meanings, such as:
constructive and destructive, vulgar criticism, negation).

However, Petrović integrates criticism into his entire philosophical system, linking it with concepts of freedom and practice. To be more specific, the syntagm “all that exists” combined with criticism, gives both an active and a social meaning (the truth is verified in practice). Petrović ironically assesses the situation in our society of the time, where “there is no prejudice”, so no “limitations”, “exceptions” or “permissions” for criticism are necessary. One might say that criticism is the essence of Petrović’s philosophical opus, because he positions himself as a critic of the dogmatic philosophy and politics, which appropriate monopoly over criticism. This is precisely why it is necessary to emphasize the importance of Gajo Petrović, and why the meaning of criticism of “criticism as a social privilege” and power, is still valid today.


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