Philosophy Talk: Marxian Republicanism

Date, time, location

Friday, December 1, 2023
4:30 pm to 6:00 pm EST

King Building, 343

10 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH 44074

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Additional details

Free and open to the public

Suzanne M. Love will give a philosophy Talk titled "Marxian Republicanism".

Abstract:  In this talk, I will outline Marx’s distinctive republican political theory. Like other members of the historical republican tradition, Marx was committed to the elimination of relationships of subordination. But Marx’s commitment was of a different sort than other historical republicans: while other historical republicans articulated a moral commitment to eliminate these relationships, Marx eschewed moral argumentation and offered instead a prudential justification for this commitment. I will start here by reconstructing a Marxian account of what constitutes domination, distinguishing forms of control that are taken to be problematic from those that are not. From there, I will sketch a Marxian psychological account of why it is prudent for us as human beings to eliminate these relationships of domination, highlighting his focus on capitalist domination in particular. I will conclude by contrasting Marx’s prudential republicanism with Philip Pettit’s extremely popular neo-republican view. Unlike Pettit, Marx offers both a distinctively nonmoral definition of domination and a nonmoral justification for eliminating it. On this Marxian view, all coercive relationships of subordination constitute domination and should be eliminated, including a coercive state. Marx’s prudential republicanism thus offers an alternative republican framework for a more thoroughgoing contemporary critique of domination.

Dr. Love is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy with a joint appointment at the College of Law at Georgia State University. Love received her BA from Scripps College in 2008. She then received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2012. After law school, she studied philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, earning her Ph.D. in 2018.
Love’s primary research interests are in political and legal theory, where she aims to show that Immanuel Kant’s theory of right has a great deal to offer to contemporary discussions of political and legal theory. In addition, Love also studies Karl Marx’s treatment of capitalism. Her current research focuses on discussing economic and property systems within the framework of Kant’s theory of right. Love argues that the innate right to freedom, which serves as the foundation of Kant’s theory of right, both entails robust socioeconomic rights and is inconsistent with capitalism.

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