Are Labor and Freedom Compatible? Political Economy, Hegel’s Practical Philosophy and the Young Marx
Ormazabal Sánchez, Kepa Mirena
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The question discussed in this paper is whether a political society not emancipated from labor can be a free society. In a less abstract way, the question can be posed as follows; can a society with a laboring class and a labor market be free? The question arises because labor and freedom seem to be in conflict, so a society with a working class and a labor market can neither be free nor democratic. The opposition between labor and freedom has always been a central theme in Practical Philosophy, and its recurrent idea that labor involves an irretrievable loss of self-consciousness and, thereby, of freedom has survived right up to this day. The Marxian treatment of alienation is just an outstanding example of this old idea, but not a real novelty. In this paper I intend to explore an alternative path to the still dominant idea of Practical Philosophy by examining the ontological foundations of the alternative response developed by Hegel in his Philosophy of the Spirit.