• Critical Studies in Rational Freedom: The Radical Transfiguration of the Greco-Germanic Principle of Rational Freedom

    Peter Critchley (see profile)
    Aristotle, Ethics, Philosophy, German, Marx, Karl, 1818-1883, Philosophy, Plato, Political science--Philosophy
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    Hegel, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Kant, German philosophy, Karl Marx, Political philosophy
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    This thesis approaches 'Marx's politics' from its 'rational' origins in ancient Greek thought. Stated briefly, ‘rational freedom’ affirms a socio-relational and ethical conception of freedom in which individual liberty depends upon and is constituted by the quality of relations with other individuals. The argument of this thesis is that Marx both transforms and incorporates the 'rational' themes and values developed by Plato and Aristotle, Rousseau, Kant and Hegel. The thesis locates communism as a 'true' public within a normative philosophical concern with the appropriate regimen for the human good. This reconstructs a tradition and a concept of 'rational freedom' around principles of reciprocity, mutual respect, communication, communality, solidarity. The 'rational' here comprehends subjectivity as an intersubjectivity which secures the unity of the freedom of each and the freedom of all. This tradition rejects the atomistic model of freedom as self-cancelling in equating freedom with unrestricted individual choice and the unregulated pursuit of self-interest. The 'rational ‘ conception defines freedom as conceivable only by locating individual interactions within a network of relationships. Marx certainly realised that the automatic connection between reason and freedom under law could no longer be assumed in class society. But this led him less to abandon the 'rational' conception of freedom than to seek its material foundation in a classless society dissolves the abstracted legal-institutional form of reason into a self-organising democratic society. This thesis argues that Marx radicalised the 'rational' principle of collective and reciprocal freedom beyond the state in a new associational public. In transcending the legalistic and moralistic framework of the 'rational' tradition, This thesis demonstrates how Marx actualises rational unity of each individual with all individuals within the social world of everyday exchange, reciprocity and solidarity.
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