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Karl Marx on Alienation - Dictionary of Arguments

Eco I 238
Alienation/MarxVsHegel/Eco: Hegel does not distinguish between externalization and alienation. (voluntary/involuntary).
Eco: he could not, because as soon as the human objectifies himself in the world of the things he has created, in nature, which he has changed, a kind of inevitable tension arises, whose poles on the one hand are the control of the object and on the other hand the complete losing oneself in it in a balance that can only be dialectical, i.e. consists in a permanent struggle.
Habermas IV 501
Alienation/Marx/Habermas: in Marx and in the Marxist tradition, the concept of alienation has been applied above all to the way of life of wage workers. With the transition to value theory, however, Marx has already freed himself from the educational ideal determined by Herder and Romanticism(1). Value theory only retains the concept of exchange and thus a formal aspect of distributive justice. With the concept of transforming concrete labour into abstract labour, the concept of alienation loses its certainty. He no longer refers to the deviations from the model of an exemplary practice, but to the instrumentalization of a life presented as an end in itself. See Life/Marx.


1.Ch.Taylor, Hegel, Cambridge1975, S. 5-29; deutsch Frankfurt 1977.

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Höffe I 364
Alienation/Marx/Höffe: (...) the Paris manuscripts(1) [expand] the critique of national economy into a philosophical anthropology about the nature of the human and his/her work. >National Economy/Marx.
Anthropology/Marx: The guiding concept is the concept of alienation known from Rousseau's social contract and Hegel's phenomenology of the mind: that the human becomes alien to his/her nature.
Alienation/Hegel: For Hegel, the alienation that the slave experiences in confrontation with the master, nature and him- or herself is a necessary phase in the formation of consciousness. Marx: Marx, on the other hand, plays through Hegel's complex dialectic for the "material", basic economic relationship, for the "hostile struggle between capitalist and worker". Like Hegel, >Master/Slave/Hegel), Marx also ascribes to the first inferior, the slave, now the worker, the greater possibility of liberating him- or herself from alienation. In a captivating analysis, he blames the main obstacle to a better society, the private ownership of the means of production, for a fourfold alienation: alienation from the product of work, from the nature of work, from oneself as a worker and from society:
1) First, the worker -and in a modified form also the owner of capital- is alienated from his/her product, since the worker does not enjoy the commodity him- or herself; moreover, nature faces the worker as a hostile world.
2) Second, the laborers alienate themselves from themselves, from their life activity, for, since he/she does not affirm labor, he/she feels " with him- or herself when he/she is apart from labor and apart from him- or herself when he/she is working; his/her work is in essence forced labor.
Höffe I 365
3) (...) Thirdly, (...) the human alienates him- or herself from his/her being generic, since he/she does not find himself in the work of the genus, the worked nature.
4) (...) he/she still alienates him- or herself from his/her fellow humans, since they do not meet him/her as a human, but merely as laborers, and thus as means for his/her own individual life.


1. K. Marx, Ökonomisch-philosophische Manuskripte (1844) (Pariser Manuskripte)


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Marx I
Karl Marx
Das Kapital, Kritik der politische Ökonomie Berlin 1957

Eco I
U. Eco
Opera aperta, Milano 1962, 1967
German Edition:
Das offene Kunstwerk Frankfurt/M. 1977

Eco II
U, Eco
La struttura assente, Milano 1968
German Edition:
Einführung in die Semiotik München 1972

Ha I
J. Habermas
Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne Frankfurt 1988

Ha III
Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. I Frankfurt/M. 1981

Ha IV
Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. II Frankfurt/M. 1981

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-09-22
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