UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Self-production and freedom Gordon, Richard Douglas


Philosophical anthropology holds the key to the resolution of the paradoxes of freedom and necessity. Through its investigations the genesis of the main features of human freedom can be accounted for and the whole field given a systematic order. Yet while we see, by this approach, the evolution of consciousness, self-creativity, transcendence, and the like - the very stuff of freedom -we also witness the determinate nature of freedom's emergence. Marx's conception of freedom depended heavily on the Hegelian view of history. But Marx "materialized" Hegel's dialectic, supplanting the primacy of Logos, or pure thought, in favour of production. In production he saw arise a series of unique oppositions: initially, the opposition of man to his product, and eventually of man to himself. Through these oppositions there developed, Marx felt, the uniquely human self-critical capacity on which he believed freedom to be founded. Herein, this approach is extended. The fundamental structure of self and the capacity to criticize and reform self are explained as evolutionary relatives of production. Recent work on freedom of the will has focussed on the susceptibility of human will to itself: on the capacity for self-control which has been termed "Hierarchical Motivation". This approach points to the roots of creativity in effective self-evaluation. Herein, that thesis is extended by approaching the issues from an anthropological rather than, as is more normal, a psychological direction. Thereby it is indicated that the most satisfying account of freedom requires more than phenomenological-conceptual analysis: it requires sociological and anthropological insights.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.