An Analysis of Freedom and Rational Egoism in Notes from Underground

Michael Hannon


The following paper is an examination of Dostoyevsky’s Notes -om Underground, with specific emphasis placed on the notion of freedom the Underground Man purports. I begin by outlining N.G. Chernyshevsky’s rational egoism as maintained in, What is to be Done. I then use the themes set out in this text in order to clearly articulate the Underground Man’s own conception of freedom. Some of the questions this paper explores are: how do we know freedom is the ultimate good, in what sort of world is this freedom possible, and what sort of world does such freedom entail?


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University of Victoria