Definition of Marx's theory of alienation
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Marx's theory of alienation Definition from Encyclopedia Dictionaries & Glossaries
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Entfremdung (estrangement) is Karl Marx’s theory of alienation, that designates the types of human relations which are not controlled by their participants and the ensuing results thereof. Such relations present themselves as the separation of things that naturally belong together; and the placement of antagonism between things that are properly in harmony. Theoretically, Entfremdung describes the social alienation (estrangement) of people from aspects of their human nature (Gattungswesen, “species-essence”) as a consequence of living in a society stratified into social classes; Marx had earlier expressed the entfremdung theory in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (1927). Philosophically, the Entfremdung theory relies upon The Essence of Christianity (1841), by Ludwig Feuerbach, which argues that the supernatural idea of “God” has alienated the natural characteristics of the human being. Moreover, in The Ego and its Own (1845), Max Stirner extends the Feuerbach analysis by arguing that even the idea of “humanity” is an alienating concept for the individual man and woman to intellectually consider; Marx and Engels responded to these philosophic propositions in The German Ideology (1845).
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