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Labor, leisure and freedom in the philosophies of Aristotle, Karl Marx and Herbert Marcuse

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The aim of this study is to present an examination of the philosophies of Aristotle, Karl Marx and Herbert Marcuse concerning labor and leisure in the context of freedom. These philosophers have paid attention to the concepts labor and leisure; their view of freedom is dependent on the relationship they have established between labor and leisure. To this end, I firstly give a general overview of the concepts labor, leisure and freedom; afterwards, I try to show how these concepts have been considered in the history of thought. I examine the concepts labor and leisure in Aristotle’s political and ethical thought. I discuss the connection between Aristotle’s perfect state and his view of ethics in the context of labor and leisure, and the relation between best way of life and freedom in Aristotle is presented. Next, I analyze Karl Marx’s view of human nature and his theory of estrangement. I investigate the condition of labor and leisure in the capitalist society from Marx’s point of view; and consider Marxian conceptions “the realm of freedom” and “the realm of necessity” is considered in context of labor and leisure. Lastly, I analyze Herbert Marcuse’s critique of the advanced industrial society and the thoughts on “one dimensional man” it creates. I dwelled on the possibilities of technological developments, and the changes they bring about concerning labor and leisure, both as means of servitude and freedom. In the conclusion, I give a brief summary, and consider the similarities and differences among the views of Aristotle, Karl Marx and Herbert Marcuse concerning labor, leisure and freedom.