Peter Critchley deposited Marx, Reason and Freedom: Communism, Rational Freedom, and Socialized Humanity on Humanities Commons 4 years, 11 months ago
This thesis examines the idea of freedom in the thought of Karl Marx in relation to a philosophical tradition concerning the appropriate regimen for creative human self-realisation dating from Plato and Aristotle. The thesis consists of nine parts. Part One examines the work of a number of postmarxist democratic theorists in order to demonstrate the contemporary relevance of Marx’s conception of democratisation as a singular process that overcomes the dualism of the state and civil society. Part Two challenges the limited, ‘protective’ character of freedom and democracy in liberal political theory by developing the philosophical conception of ‘rational freedom’. This part examines the thought of Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, Hegel and Kant in order to emphasise the social and communal character of freedom, locating the individual in a rich social-institutional fabric. Part Three examines Marx’s critical relation to Hegel. Part Four focuses upon the subversion of the universal and communal character of the principle of ‘rational freedom’ by a capitalistically structured civil society. Part Five provides the ontological and socio-structural framework sustaining the conception of communism as the good society. Marx’s praxis is defined as an affirmative materialism which forms the basis for asserting a democratic social control dissolving the institutional-systemic apparatus raised over the life world. Part Six addresses the question of mediation, arguing for a conception of social control as a form of self-determination and social self-mediation. Part Seven develops a conception of communist individuality. The final two parts (Eight and Nine) seek to tie together the themes of true democracy, social control and self-mediation, affirmative materialism, community and communist individuality within a conception of commune democracy.