Sunday, July 27, 2008

Individual and Society in Marx and Hegel, Beyond the Communitarian Critique of Liberalism

I've been reading a couple forums where my last article was posted and I'm not suprised by the level of incomprehension voiced by the supporters of communitarianism. The negative responses to my work always starts with the assumption that I am against community and cooperation. They talk about community ideals as if they are not based in dialectical lies. The key to understanding communitarianism is the philosophy that preceeds it. For example:

This is the html version of the file

Beyond the Communitarian Critique of Liberalism
Sean Sayers
University of Kent

This paper explains Marx's concepts of individual and society and their roots in Hegel's philosophy. Like recent communitarian philosophers, Marx and Hegel both reject the idea that the individual is an atomic entity which runs through liberal social philosophy and classical economics. Human productive activity is essentially social. However, Marx shows that the liberal concepts of individuality and society are not simply philosophical errors, they are products and expressions of the social alienation of free market conditions. Marx's account begins from Hegel's account of `civil society', and uses a framework of historical development similar to Hegel’s. However, Marx goes on to criticise the Hegelian and liberal conceptions of modern society and to envisage an unalienated form of individuality and community.
Address for correspondence:
Until 30 December 2004:
Department of Philosophy, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA 01075, USA
Tel. 413-538-2367; fax 413-538-2579
After 30 December 2004:
School of European Culture and Languages, Cornwallis Building, University of Kent,
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF, England
Tel. 01227-827513 (direct line); fax 01227-823641
8 December, 2004

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