Gramsci, Sraffa, Wittgenstein: Philosophical Linkages

Document Type




Format of Original

18 p.

Publication Date

Fall 2002


Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Source Publication

European Journal of the History of Economic Thought

Source ISSN



The paper assumes that since Gramsci influenced Sraffa and SraffA influenced Wittgenstein it may be possible to delineate a set of philosophical ideas which they shared in some degree. Gramsci's ideas are first reviewed on terms of his concept of hegemony, concept of caesarism and philosophy of praxis. On this basis three philosophical themes are identified in his thinking: the conept of emergence; catastrophic equilibrium; and the idea of a concrete universal. The thinking of Sraffa (both earlier and later) and the thinking of Wittgenstein (later) are then interpreted in terms of these same three themes. These links neither exhaust their philosophical thinking nor necessarily constitute the only links among the three. But these ideas provide one way of exploring connections among the three. The paper closes with brief remarks concerning two opposed philosophical traditions in modern European intellectual history at the turn of the century — one associated with thinking in Britain and one associated with continental thinking — meant to suggest the distinctiveness of a line of thinking running through Gramsci, Sraffa and Wittgenstein.


European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Autumn 2002): 384-401. DOI.