Georg W.F. Hegel (1770–1831), a philosopher of the German-idealist persuasion. His systematic and logic-heavy philosophy was inspired by Immanuel Kant and inspired Karl Marx. But they didn't agree on freedom.

It was Immanuel Kant’s idea that we’re able to transcend our inclinations (desires born in biology and culture) with universal laws: by abstracting away from them with pure practical reason, we become free moral agents. For example, I have an allegiance to my country’s despotic leader but, upon rational reflection, I realise I don’t support his oppressive methods or policies and favour democratic processes; I can’t rationalise why I would want to live in a world with him in charge.

But Georg W.F. Hegel (pictured) wasn’t convinced that Kant’s rational self-determination was possible: since we are motivated by desires and rational justification makes us free from them, what’s left to motivate us into adopting his rational system?! Hegel proposed a solution: collapse the cycle of rationalisation by holding a primary desire to call everything into question—the true hallmark of autonomy. However, it requires great self-scrutiny to sceptically relinquish one’s desires—loves, interests, ideologies—as potential corruptions of freedom. Is it possible? Is it worth it? Hegel put forward liberal reforms predicated on many negative freedoms—absences of obstacles in society—as bases for positive self-determination through the power of choice.

Karl Marx, meanwhile, accepted Hegel’s view that history has been driven by material conditions (e.g. wealth) as opposed to ideals (e.g. certain rights). But the communism Marx proffered failed to cover freedom in detail. He considered humans isolated, egoistic beings who impeded each other; adding rights wasn’t enough. So he asked us to welcome community ideals, whereby the ‘real, individual man resumes the abstract citizen into himself and as an individual man has become a species-being.’ Hence communism was a solution to the problems caused by fellow freedom-removing citizens.