The Problem of Freedom in Marxist Thought: An Analysis of by James J. O’Rourke (auth.)

By James J. O’Rourke (auth.)

This research seeks to provide the speculation of freedom as present in one line of the Marxist culture, that which starts with Marx and Engels and maintains via Lenin to modern Soviet philosophy. even though the first aim is just to explain how freedom is con­ ceived through the thinkers of this custom, an try out is usually made to check even if their perspectives are strongly deterministic, as has usually been presumed by way of Western commentators. is so as concerning the scope of the time period 'contemporary A comment Soviet philosophy'. The Soviet level in Marxist philosophy stretche. s again to the 1917 revolution. even if, for the needs of this learn merely works released after 1947 have been tested, and nearly all of them date from the 1960's. except the truth that such a lot works of earlier classes weren't to be had, bibliographical symptoms, akin to the titles of the articles in Pod znamenem marksizma, didn't recommend that the idea of freedom used to be then an enormous crisis. in truth, even 1947 there has been little improvement of this subject matter until eventually the upsurge after of works in philosophical anthropology over the past decade. however, it isn't being urged that the perception of freedom present in fresh writings is consultant of previous Soviet philosophy, in the course of the Stalinist 'dead' interval or prior. purely extra examine may well determine that. This paintings was once offered as a doctoral dissertation on the collage of Fribourg, Switzerland, less than the course of Professor J. M.

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Without the knowledge and skill passed on to him by past generations, his actions would be primitive and broadly MARX 43 subject to chance; without the co-operation of other men their results would be insubstantial. This also underlines the fact that Marx never conceived freedom as the mere ability to direct one's life without interference from the other members of society. Marx does not deny that a certain measure of this kind of freedom is desirable; indeed, his utopian realm of freedom, with its emphasis on the development of one's personal faculties, would seem to presume it.

6 2 Unlike animal, man distinguishes the activity from himself, insofar as he makes it an object of his will and consciousness. 63 It is for this reason that such activity can be free. Marx called his own position naturalism. 64 And this certainly means that man is considered part of nature to the extent that he is entirely a this-worldly being. There is no metaphysical transcendence about him. However, it does not mean that he is merely one element in nature along with others. Rather than being subject to nature, he controls and dominates it.

He has both theoretical and practical abilities. He is capable of engaging in a wide 42 THE PROBLEM OF FREEDOM IN MARXIST THOUGHT range of pursuits, including scientific, artistic, cultural and social activities. Accordingly, his fulfillment must also involve the exercise of these diverse activities. This is the anthropological basis for Marx's strong rejection of the division of labor: the specialist who can perform well only his trade is not a free man; his life represents a realization of only one side of his nature and is thus a frustration of his humanity.

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