Lenin: the theory of knowledge of dialectical materialism – part twenty-three

 

Freedom and Necessity

Engels says: “Hegel was the first to state correctly the relation between freedom and necessity. To him, freedom is the appreciation of necessity. ‘Necessity is blind only in so far as it is not understood.’ Freedom does not consist in an imaginary independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives of systematically making them work towards definite ends. This holds good in relation both to the laws of external nature and to those which govern the bodily and mental existence of men themselves – two classes of laws which we can separate from each other at most only in thought but not in reality. Freedom of the will therefore means nothing but the capacity to make decisions, with knowledge of the subject. Therefore the freer a man’s judgment is in relation to a definite question, the greater is the necessity with which the content of this judgment will be determined…. Freedom therefore consists in the control over ourselves and over external nature, a control founded on knowledge of natural necessity (Naturnotwendigkeiten).” (5th German edition, pp. 112–13.)

V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 170

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Part twenty-three/to be continued…

Full text at Marxists Internet Archive

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