The ethical and political philosophy of ancient Greece, which takes the publicity of the city-state as its core, deeply influenced Marx’s thought on publicity, but the two differ essentially on some major issues. The public spirit and the idea of community in the ancient Greek city-state provided Marx with rich insights into the construction of an existing form of humanity characterized by the harmony between by the individual and the community, and with the important theoretical inspirations for criticizing private egoism and social division in capitalism. The Greek public spirit made Marx realize that the private nature of capitalist society had violated essential human freedoms, and that human beings are characterized by both public life and private egoism. In his view, capitalist society comprised egoism and utilitarianism lacking any public elements, instead of public spirit and its ethical ethos. The classical Greek domestic economy, closely related to the realization of virtuous life and the maintenance of the city-state community, was mainly aimed at the protection and realization of a non-economic good, rather than at the growth of economic profits. In spite of his dissatisfactions with slavery and the contempt for labor in the Greek city state, Marx derived important inspirations for his criticism of the capitalist market economy and perspectives of the future economic formation from the classical domestic economy, which provided Marx with a public economic formation different from the exchange economy, subject to human beings without independence and autonomy. It exists not just for its own growth, but for the human communities and individual self-realizations. United individuals control production and exchange, and make the economy subordinate to the real needs of human beings. It will overcome all evils in the classical domestic economy and the capitalist economy. The city-state community had common values and goals, the people living the rein could thus acquire a common consciousness of mutual recognition, and their life and world had a natural unity. Correspondingly, all members consciously combine the significance of their existence with the rules and the total interests of the community, and develop a sense of solidarity in their interactions and lives. Marx’s construction of the association of free individuals draws a number of insights from this classical community. First, the community is the basic and indispensable guarantee of individual self-realization. Second, the life ideal of the Greek city-state community is intrinsically consistent with the public life in the Marxian association of free individuals. Third, the distinction between the private and the public sphere in ancient Greece directly inspires Marx’s idea about the realm of necessity and of freedom. However, Marx goes further than the classical political philosophy, for the association of free individuals absorbs not only the city-state ideal, but also the real status of the modern people, demonstrating essential differences from the city-state community.
陈飞. 重思公共性：马克思对古希腊公共性思想的扬弃[J]. 浙江大学学报(人文社会科学版), 2020, 6(6): 20-.
Chen Fei. Rethinking Publicity: Marx’s Sublation of Ancient Greek Public Thought. JOURNAL OF ZHEJIANG UNIVERSITY, 2020, 6(6): 20-.