Although not treated in the literature on Hegel and Marx, the topic of refinement is integral to Hegel’s defense of the modern market economy and to Marx’s response. Both Hegel and Marx regard refinement as bringing with it a form of liberation from animal desire. This liberation occurs when our natural desires take on social significance: specifically when our desires for things intermingle with desires for recognition from others. For Hegel, this liberation occurs in the modern social world, whereas for Marx it is in fact thwarted by capitalism and will have to await socialism. Attention to the topic of refinement shows that Marx’s critique of capitalism and his case for a socialist alternative relies on a Hegelian framework. I here build on the work of a small number of authors who write about Hegel and Marx on recognition (Brudney, Gould, Chitty, Quante). However, a gap in this literature is that they largely ignore Hegel’s discussion of recognition in the market, focusing instead on two better-known accounts: master-slave and abstract right.
Post-Kantian European Philosophy Seminar Convenors: Joseph Schear, Manuel Dries, and Mark Wrathall