THE ONTOLOGY OF FREEDOM

Saulius Kanišauskas

Abstract


This article poses the question of whether neoliberals promoting “the reign of freedom” have an ontological basis. Jean-Paul Sartre, who challenged the ontological foundation of freedom, argued that a human being is condemned to be free. However, his thinking that the value of human ontology and uniqueness is based on the absolute and not determined by spontaneity leads to Immanuel Kant’s understanding of the antinomy of freedom and its related problem of determinism. Thus, the article points out that the proposed solutions to the determinism vs. indeterminism problem are factually contingent. Even in natural processes, contingency as the absence of necessity manifests itself in immanent emergent evolution – the state of order is replaced by a state of chaos,which in turn is replaced by a qualitatively new order. Therefore, in the development of natural and social reality, both freedom and its absence are plausible. Freedom, which is closely related to chaos, is a mode of self-contained ontology, so it is therefore assumed that freedom does not have self-contained value and can only be evaluated as having instrumental value – a tool to achieve objectives. It is concluded that the neoliberal idea of “the reign of freedom” does not have ontological status.

Keywords


freedom, paradox of freedom, determinism, contingency, values

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13165/SMS-17-9-2-01

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236