Arendt and Marx on the relation between labor and freedom /

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2014
Uğur, Mesude
The aim of this study is to examine the relation between labor and freedom in the philosophy of Arendt which is in contrast to the relation between labor and freedom in the philosophy of Marx. My first motivation for comparing the relation between labor and freedom in the philosophies of Arendt and Marx is to understand whether labor is a form of slavery or freedom. And secondly, I try to understand whether Arendt’s conception of freedom which opposes freedom to labor, thereby excluding the relation between freedom and labor, and reduces freedom to “acting politically in the public sphere” is sufficient to understand freedom. In doing so, I question and critically assess the rigid ontological distinctions that Arendt makes between labor, work, and action as well as between the private and political spheres. As my exposition of Arendt’s book The Human Condition in my thesis will make clear, Arendt’s understanding of freedom puts it in strict opposition to necessity and thus labor. Focusing on Arendt’s criticism of Marx’s understanding of labor, I argue that labor and work cannot be so clearly separated. Further, Arendt sees action as the mode of human experience in which freedom is exercised, and action is dependent on work since it is work creates a world wherein action is possible. If we consider that work and action are related and that labor and work cannot be so strictly separated, we see that Arendt’s strict opposition between labor and freedom does not work.

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Citation Formats
M. Uğur, “Arendt and Marx on the relation between labor and freedom /,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2014.