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… Who Is More Free? Essay, Research Paper

Human freedom is what Marx described it as: absolute knowledge derived from the realization that you are a part of everything and the lack of dependency on material goods. Marx s technique of thesi and antithesi coming together to form the next incantation of society is in my mind the most reasonable. Where Hegel said history changed as a result of geist, or mind, Marx believed it changed thanks to economic shifts. Marx believed human freedom would come at the realization of absolute knowledge, which would not occur until man was free from material needs, and controlled the means of production. Hegel however believed the opposite: that people must first attain absolute knowledge before they can control the way history progresses. Kant I must dismiss immediately for this reason: he believes that for one to be able to attain absolute knowledge, one must have no spatial or visual limitations. He even goes so far as to say that then only way one could live this way is if they were god. However, at the same time he alienates himself and mankind from that god by saying it is impossible to see all things, because there may exist things that simply cannot be seen, and there is no way to see whether those things exist or not.

For Kant human freedom is a relative impossibility, and so it would be wrong to say he preserves it any way, shape or form. As Magee points out on page 180, Kant argues that it would be impossible for us to know whether or not god exists, and whether or not we have souls. As Warnock later points out, the only way for a person to attain absolute knowledge and therefore freedom would be if they were god. But, Kant himself alienates humanity from god by labeling him imperceivable to people. So, a person cannot be god, therefore a person cannot attain absolute knowledge, and therefore a person cannot be free.

Hegel believed absolute knowledge came before freedom, in that allowing the mind to realize that it does not have to be controlled by outside forces makes way for a more rational view of the world, and so people are no longer tied down by anything. Marx said the opposite. First, he believed that people would not be held down by anything, and then they would gain their freedom. I agree with Marx that there is not permanent human nature, but I do believe that the current state of things in the world allows there to be a constant among people of the past several generations, and will remain true through the next few. That constant is the need for things that one lacks. Marx, though he denied there was any human nature at all, did mention the working class desire to take over the means of production. I agree with Marx and Hegel that freedom is absolute knowledge, but I disagree with Hegel s method of getting there. Marx s idea makes more sense. Before we can obtain this absolute knowledge, we must first shed everything that is holding it back from us. In this generation, though there may be other things keeping us away from it as well, our need for the material prevents us from that knowledge. So, to get rid of that need would allow for the mind to think about other things, and that would lead to growth of the mind and eventually absolute knowledge. Hegel s method would require us to reach this knowledge while we were in the middle of economic turmoil, and when one is bothered by the thought of survival, they do not have much time to come to conclusions regarding real truth.

Marx s idea of the individual deciding what is best for itself and the community is, in my mind, the closest thing to true freedom. It implies that choices are made based on a persons understanding of themselves, and therefore also implies a freedom to be able to change whatever profession that person may choose. A common criticism of Marx s system of beliefs is that human nature would not allow such a community to exist, but according to Marx s philosophy, human nature is in direct correlation with the economic conditions of a given society. In a true Marxist Communist society, the means of production would be controlled by everyone, and so economic conditions would be of no concern. This means that the question of human nature interfering would not be a question at all.

True freedom can be defined as a condition in which the subject is not held back from anything by anything. With Marx, the only thing holding people back are the economic conditions. Hegel believes people are holding themselves back by failing to make the connection between themselves and everything else. Marx would say to Hegel that people will not be able to make that connection until they are no longer burdened by the likes of the economic conditions. Therefore, Hegel s freedom could not be achieved. Only Marx s freedom is possible, and so he is the best at preserving my understanding of what freedom is.

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