A Developed Notion of Freedom: Tracing the Thread of Human Freedom Through Marx, Mead, Habermas, Kierkegaard, Benhabib, and Arendt

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Cherem, Max G., 1982-
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The current project is perhaps best understood against the backdrop of its earlier manifestations. Originally, I was interested in articulating a fuller account of Aesthetic Expressive rationality. It seemed to me as if it was the least developed in Habermas's Tri-part schema of rationality. After quite a bit of research, I re-oriented my project to articulating Habermas's notion of Human Rights. As I began to research and finally write, it became apparent that something was missing. I found his schema very detailed, but cast at too high a level. The missing element was the 'I-Thou' relation. Habermas was wonderful at talking about social systems, communities, and different 'life-worlds', but he never commented on the fundamentally different qualities that arise between two people who mutually cite each other in a meaningful way. Thus, throughout the course of writing, it became apparent that I was in fact articulating a fuller account of human freedom and sociality. I do this through tracing a developing notion of freedom through Marx, Mead, Habermas, Kierkegaard, Gunther, Arendt, and Benhabib. In the end, I feel as if! have synthesized the contributions of these latter authors and given a qualification of Habermas's notion of freedom In short, I show how authenticity, ethicality, and morality are distinct spheres of action that, although not causally linked in any rigid way, serve to mutually inform and uphold one another. The first two chapters are basic explications laying down the groundwork for Habermas's latter theory of human rights. Although he never explicitly acknowledges it, his theory of human rights and popular sovereignty rests upon prior theories regarding the development of society. Although Habermas's opacity has rubbed off on me, I have nevertheless tried to cast these chapters at an accessible level. The third chapter details Habermas's notion of the mediation between popular sovereignty and human rights in contemporary society. The fourth chapter, by far the longest, is a synthesis of other thinkers to qualify Habermas and present my own account of human freedom.
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