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By Benjamin Franks

Anarchism and ethical Philosophy [ Anarchism and ethical Philosophy by means of Franks, Benjamin ( writer ) Hardcover Jan- 2011 ] Hardcover Jan- 15- 2011

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It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood. It recalled the departed self-confidence, and inspired me again with a determination to be free. (Douglass, 1982: 113) Douglass’s story dramatises the thought that one of the appropriate objects of the capacities of independence is something to resist: that we 40 Anarchist Perfectionism need some pricks to kick against (the allusion is to Acts 9:5). That is, not only is the anarchist condition not necessary for the development of independence, the conditions it excludes – domination, in particular – might be necessary for that development.

Now, we might have doubts about the state’s role in public education, but that is not the main issue here. In principle, the state university worker is a public employee, paid to work in the public service. Thus, I might educate by teaching, researching and writing. But it might be felt that this is inadequate public service – or that public education requires more than the development of private philosophical credentials. It might also be argued that public education involves more than merely providing a service (more or less reluctantly) on demand; perhaps it requires going ‘to the people’ to share and even apply the fruit of intellectual labour.

The consequence of these arguments, if they are sound, is that the development and the exercise of capacities of independence come apart. The society of free, undominated people exercising their independence is not necessarily the best environment for the cultivation of that independence: anarchist perfectionism fails. 3 Conclusion A final summing up: I started from a tempting theory, anarchist perfectionism. 1, I described perfectionism in general as an account of the nature and significance of the Good: the Right is the promotion of the Good understood as human flourishing.

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