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Conclusion

The Fragmented Legacy of the Philosophy of Freedom

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 May 2022

Waller R. Newell
Affiliation:
Carleton University, Ottawa
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Summary

After Hegel the Philosophy of Freedom becomes increasingly illiberal. Whereas for Hegel the nation-state was a middle ground between the extreme Left and Right, Marx, Nietzsche and Heidegger embraced revolutionary visions of a future transformation of mankind in which the state vanishes. Hegel extolled classical Greece for its balance between democracy, Platonic philosophy and high culture. Nietzsche and Heidegger instead embraced the pre-Socratic view of existence as war – more suited to their revolutionary stances. They still agreed that historicism could provide a unified account of life rivaling Plato in scope. That belief was shattered by the Fact/Value distinction, which restored Rousseau’s dualism between nature and freedom and made it a permanent chasm. Belief in a comprehensive theory of history was further discredited by totalitarian movements like Marxism-Leninism and National Socialism which used it to deify tyranny. Academically, the Philosophy of Freedom fragmented into Critical Theory, Postmodernism and Hermeneutics. Politically, radicals like Lenin, Fanon, Shariati and Dugin adapted it to their extremist purposes. Given its arguably dangerous political implications, I conclude by asking: Was the Philosophy of Freedom a mistaken path that should never have been taken? Or might it still contribute to liberal education today?

Type
Chapter
Information
Tyranny and Revolution
Rousseau to Heidegger
, pp. 263 - 298
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Conclusion
  • Waller R. Newell, Carleton University, Ottawa
  • Book: Tyranny and Revolution
  • Online publication: 28 May 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108333856.007
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  • Conclusion
  • Waller R. Newell, Carleton University, Ottawa
  • Book: Tyranny and Revolution
  • Online publication: 28 May 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108333856.007
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusion
  • Waller R. Newell, Carleton University, Ottawa
  • Book: Tyranny and Revolution
  • Online publication: 28 May 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108333856.007
Available formats
×