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Is Marx's Thought on Freedom Contradictory?

Kandiyali, Jan (2021) 'Is Marx's Thought on Freedom Contradictory?', Critical Review, 33 (2). pp. 171-183.


In The Longing for Total Revolution Bernard Yack argues that Marx’s thought is plagued by a recurring contradiction. On the one hand, Marx criticizes his idealist predecessors for failing to get beyond the dichotomy between human freedom and natural necessity, and he identifies labour, activity determined by the necessity of having to satisfy material needs, as the primary activity of human freedom. On the other hand, Marx’s account of what makes us distinctively human as well as his view that capitalism dehumanizes workers implicitly relies on the same dichotomy. In response, this paper argues that while Yack identifies a tension in Marx’s writings, he overlooks the resources Marx has to resolve it.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 09 May 2023.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0.
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Critical Review. Kandiyali, Jan (2021). Is Marx's Thought on Freedom Contradictory? Critical Review 33(2): 171-183. It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:24 September 2021
Date of first online publication:09 November 2021
Date first made open access:09 May 2023

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