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By Rahel Jaeggi

The Hegelian-Marxist inspiration of alienation fell out of fashion through the post-metaphysical rejection of humanism and essentialist perspectives of human nature. during this booklet Jaeggi attracts on phenomenological analyses grounded in sleek conceptions of supplier, in addition to fresh paintings within the analytical culture, to reconceive of alienation because the absence of a significant dating to oneself and others, which manifests itself in emotions of helplessness and the despondent popularity of ossified social roles and expectations.

A revived method of alienation is helping severe social concept interact with phenomena, akin to meaninglessness, isolation, and indifference, that have extensive implications for problems with justice. via severing alienation's hyperlink to a problematical notion of human essence whereas maintaining its social-philosophical content material, Jaeggi offers assets for a renewed critique of social pathologies, a much-neglected challenge in modern liberal political philosophy. Her paintings revisits the arguments of Rousseau, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger, putting them in discussion with Thomas Nagel, Bernard Williams, and Charles Taylor.

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Extra info for Alienation (New Directions in Critical Theory)

Sample text

Talk of alienation can also refer to detachment from one’s social involvements. In this sense one can become alienated from one’s life partner or from one’s family, from one’s place of origin, or from a community or a cultural milieu. More specifically, we speak of alienation when someone cannot identify with—grasp as “her own”—the social or political institutions in which she lives. Social isolation or excessive demands for privacy can also be regarded as symptoms of alienation. Slightly romanticized, alienation is sometimes understood as an expression of “rootlessness” and “homelessness,” which conservative cultural critics trace back to the complexity or anonymity of modern life or to the “artificiality” of a world that is experienced only through the lens of public media.

Thus, both the starting and end points of the existentialist critique of alienation diverge importantly from those of the Hegel-Marx line of development insofar as alienation is understood in the latter case as alienation from the social world, whereas in the former case the condition of being immersed in a public world is itself regarded as the source of alienation, understood as the subject’s loss of authenticity in the face of a public world defined by leveling (Kierkegaard) or by the rule of "the They" [das Man]” (Heidegger).

9 Moreover, no one today would endorse the kind of justification offered by a Hegelian philosophy of history, with its normatively teleological view of historical development. And even paring the philosophy of history down to a view that makes alienation into one constituent of a theory of the good life is frequently met with the charge of paternalism. There are essentially two contemporary positions that stand in conflict with theories of alienation: the Rawlsian tradition of philosophical liberalism, which eschews objective conceptions of the good life, and the poststructuralist critique of the subject, which calls into question the conception of the subject that the theory of alienation appears to presuppose.

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