Alienation is the name of the deformations of human personality produced by capitalism and, specifically, by wage labor. The alienated are powerless. That inhibits their self-esteem, and takes from them the direction of their own lives and the choice of their life values. They become passive bystanders to existence, distrustful of their fellows and motivated by the desire for gain. The alienated tend to be timid, morally indifferent, and ready to support great evil. Appearances are all that matters to them. (...) They are resentful, conservative. Alienation itself becomes invisible. It unfits those who work for a wage from being active in the movements for social change from capitalism to socialism. The transition to socialism appears to become well-nigh impossible. The force of this argument ismoderated by the fact that the conditions of wage labor are not uniform and alienation, and therefore are more severe for some workers than for others. (shrink)
This article extends Moleski’s discussion (in “Polanyi vs. Kuhn: Worlds Apart”) of the worldviews of Kuhn and Polanyi in two ways: by considering an evolutionary view of science as proposed by Kuhn, and byevaluating Kuhn’s notion of “paradigm change” compared to Polanyi’s work on scientific practice.
Drawing from existentialism, feminism, the thought of Karl Marx and novelists like Dostoevsky, Richard Schmitt looks at modern capitalist societies to understand what it is that might be wrong for individuals. His concern focuses specifically on those who are alienated-- those persons who have difficulty finding meaning in their lives, who lack confidence in themselves and trust in others and, finally, who are constantly distracted by consumer society. He explores how and why alienation occurs. From friendship, love, and work, Alienation (...) and Freedom touches on issues meaningful to us all. (shrink)
Recent writers on economics have conceded that capitalism suffers from serious shortcomings. But they argue that, in spite of that, preference should be given to capitalism over alternative systems, because it alone gives free rein to the universal, human desire for private gain and is therefore best adapted to human nature. I argue against this psychological defense of capitalism that the desire for private gain is not a universal trait of human beings. On the contrary, it is a defining trait (...) of capitalist society that in it persons are first and foremost motivated by that desire. My argument rests on reflections about the way in which we identify motives. We identify motives not by introspection but by reference to lists of actions that persons, who act from a given motive, may be expected to perform in suitable circumstances. To function in a capitalist society I must perform the sorts of actions by reference to which we identify the desire for private gain as a active. (shrink)
Heidegger's writings are by many thought to be irretrievably obscure. This is not true of Sein und Zeit. In order to show this, I explain what Heidegger means by ?ontology?, ?preontological knowledge? and ?preontological mistake?. These explanations show that there is nothing in Heidegger's conception of his enterprise which makes it impossible that Sein und Zeit should be clear. Since the explanations require discussion of specific theses, I also show that Sein und Zeit is, at least in part, clear as (...) actually written. (shrink)
To be religious in the sense which Kierkegaard calls ?religiousness A? involves one, according to him, in a paradox. If we take the terms in which he describes this paradox in ordinary senses, it is not clear what this paradox consists of. If we take the terms in a technical sense, the description of being religious involves a paradox. But the paradox is of such a nature that it is now logically impossible that anyone should be religious. If we attach (...) a slightly different meaning to Kierkegaard's terms, being religious is possible but does not involve a paradox. Also on this interpretation, religious conduct becomes indistinguishable from non?religious conduct. (shrink)