Between the Promise of Freedom and the Dynamics of Alienation

Zu einer Sozialphilosophie des Geldes

What does it mean that modern societies mediate their economic relations through money? The dissertation project explores this question following Georg Simmel’s theory of money and contemporary social philosophy. The starting point is Simmel’s diagnosis that the institution of money founds a “life form of freedom” specific to capitalist societies. In contrast to Marxist and anarchist critiques, not only the objective moments of domination of the money form will be analyzed, but at the same time its ambivalent dynamics of freedom. On the one hand, monetary relations establish a negative understanding of freedom based on freedom of choice that is central to modern individual culture; on the other hand, such an understanding of freedom also alienates us from forms and institutions of positive freedom that arise through non-commodified relations to the world. The project explores this constellation of domination, freedom, and alienation following Simmel and examines the rationality potential of money.