Volume 48, Issue 2, Fall 2020
The Political Philosophy of Socialism
Free Productive Agency: Reasons, Recognition, Socialism
This paper argues that recognition is, fundamentally, a relationship between a person and a reason. The recognizer acts for a reason, in the interpersonal case, only when she takes the recognizee’s rational intentions—intentions whose content is favored by reasons—as reasons. Free agency, on this view, is a rational power to act for reasons: the recognizer’s disposition to take the recognizee’s rational intentions as reasons across relevant possible worlds in which she forms these intentions. On the basis of this generic account of free agency, I argue that free productive agency is a rational power to produce for reasons: the recognizer’s disposition to take the rational productive intentions of the recognizee as reasons across relevant possible worlds in which she forms these intentions. But capitalism makes it impossible to satisfy this requirement, for it subjects the taking of reasons to the realization of profit. So capitalism makes capitalist and worker unfree and the realization of free productive agency impossible.