This article explores the ongoing question of academic freedom within the South African university system and extends this issue into a foundational inquiry of our understanding of freedom in society as a whole. The article employs Hegel’s concept of freedom as its baseline, gives a brief description of how Hegel constructs his concept, and ultimately critiques this concept on the grounds that, by making property the first embodiment of freedom (and subsequently, the first embodiment of selfhood) Hegel’s concept of freedom relies too much upon self-interest in its self-determination. This critique is furthered by highlighting ways in which this concept problematizes the university’s role within society and, by extension, the overall concept of freedom within society. It concludes by encouraging future discussions that unfold the concept of freedom beyond a mutually self-interested desire for autonomy.
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