The Concept of Practical Necessity from Thucydides to Marx

in Theoria
Author: David James
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I argue that the concept of practical necessity adds to our understanding of the notion of constraint by analysing the use of this concept in the writings of Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hegel and Marx. Objective and subjective aspects of practical necessity are identified, and the relation between them is explained. It is also shown that human beings can be wrong about what is a matter of genuine practical necessity at the same time as some people have an interest in fostering in others false beliefs regarding this matter. In short, appeals to necessity may perform an ideological function.

Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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