Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Origin of "Freedom is the recognition of necessity" ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Origin of "Freedom is the recognition of necessity"
Category: Science > Social Sciences
Asked by: digiphernalia-ga
List Price: $4.00
Posted: 14 Aug 2002 01:56 PDT
Expires: 13 Sep 2002 01:56 PDT
Question ID: 54424
I first heard this phrase in the 60’s. Garrett Hardin mentioned it in
“Tragedy of the Commons”, he sort of attributes it to Hegel – “I think
it was Hegel who said…”.  I have always taken it for granted that it
comes from Hegel, or via Hegel from some predecessor philosopher, but
recently when I really spent some time trying to find the phrase on
any of the Hegelian texts available on the net I came up empty.  Does
anyone know for sure?
Subject: Re: Origin of "Freedom is the recognition of necessity"
Answered By: till-ga on 14 Aug 2002 02:42 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Sometimes things you looked upon as sure prove to be wrong. I made
similar experiences in my life.
This quotation is not from Hegel, but form Friedrich Engels, although
the idea comes from the philosopher Hegel.
Three sources to prove it (I found more, but these will do) :

“The idea that 'freedom is the recognition of necessity' appears in
Engels' Anti-Duhring. This formulation comes from Hegel, where it
plays a particular, and essential role in Hegel's system. Engels'
revival of Hegel's definition was taken up by Plekhanov and Kautsky,
and continues to have a place in the arguments of Trotskyist groups
today. “
Freedom and Necessity
( )


“ According to Hegel as interpreted by Engels "Freedom is the
recognition of your necessity." Some say necessity is to be determined
by social condition. All the necessity of human beings can not be
fulfilled unless and until the same human beings create a condition
for it. But in the long course of history it has been observed that
what ever social conditions has been created by people is not being
enjoyed by the same people. On the contrary a selected few enjoy the
cream. They are the landlords, kings, capitalists and bureaucrats. By
virtue of becoming a landlord, king, capitalist and bureaucrat a
limited few enjoy the entire surplus of the society.”
Freedom – Practical need
( ) 
“ The Columbia World of Quotations. 1996.
NUMBER:	21617
QUOTATION:	Freedom is the recognition of necessity.
ATTRIBUTION:	Friedrich Engels (1820–1895), German social philosopher.
Quoted in The Harvest of a Quiet Eye, Alan L. Mackay (1977).“
The Columbia World of Quotations
( )

Search Strategy
( ://

digiphernalia-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
well done - thank you - makes one feel quite inadequate after the
fact.  Wish you could solve my current Popper world-3 problem in the
technology section as well.

Its is understandable that Garrett, writing in the 60's would prefer
to use a quote from Hegel rather than a quote from Engels:-) But I
wonder where the Hegel "formulation" can be found?

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy