Marx on Freedom and Necessity

Dialogue 28 (4):545- (1989)
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In a famous passage in volume three of Capital, Karl Marx distinguishes between a “realm of freedom” and a “realm of necessity”. The passage has attracted attention as seeming to register a dismal perception by Marx of the productive labour that will be necessary even under communism. “Dismal perception” is G. A. Cohen's verdict in his lucid essay “Marx's Dialectic of Labour”. Cohen has now softened the charge to “a somewhat gloomy perception”. But he continues to hold that the passage reveals Marx viewing even post-capitalist labour “as bound always to be unsatisfying”, a marked shift from Marx's optimistic 1840s view that under communism labour would be unalienating. The debate has recently been joined by James Klagge, who has argued against Cohen that the volume three passage does not disclose a shift in view, and so does not register a “deep pessimism” or “negative appraisal” by Marx of post-capitalist labour.



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Karl Marx: Selected Writings.Karl Marx & David Mclellan - 1978 - Science and Society 42 (4):491-494.
History, Labor and Freedom.G. Cohen - 1991 - Critica 23 (67):88-96.
Marx's dialectic of labor.G. A. Cohen - 1974 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 3 (3):235-261.
Marx’s Realms of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Necessity’.James C. Klagge - 1986 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 16 (4):769 - 777.

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