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Lectures on the History of Moral and Political Philosophy$
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Jonathan Wolff and G. A. Cohen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149004

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149004.001.0001

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G. A. Cohen: A Memoir

G. A. Cohen: A Memoir

Chapter:
(p.327) Chapter 13 G. A. Cohen: A Memoir
Source:
Lectures on the History of Moral and Political Philosophy
Author(s):

Jonathan Wolff

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691149004.003.0013

This chapter presents a memoir of G. A. Cohen, who died on August 5, 2009. Cohen was born on April 14, 1941, into a Jewish Marxist family, and his life and character were woven into his philosophical work in an unusual way. His upbringing, his family, his Jewishness (as distinct from Judaism), and his need to position his own beliefs in relation to Karl Marx and to Soviet Communism all played central roles in his life and work. Armed with the techniques of analytical philosophy, Cohen began his earliest project, resulting in Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence, in which he sets out a clear account of the core of Marx's theory of history. This chapter considers Cohen's other writings which articulate his views on subjects ranging from capitalism and socialism to freedom and the nature and consequences of the thesis of self-ownership.

Keywords:   capitalism, G. A. Cohen, Karl Marx, Soviet Communism, analytical philosophy, Theory of History, Jewishness, socialism, freedom, self-ownership

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