In this article, I explore select case studies of Parkinson patients treated with deep brain stimulation in light of the notions of alienation and authenticity. While the literature on DBS has so far neglected the issues of authenticity and alienation, I argue that interpreting these cases in terms of these concepts raises new issues for not only the philosophical discussion of neuro-ethics of DBS, but also for the psychological and medical approach to patients under DBS. In particular, I (...) suggest that the experience of alienation and authenticity varies from patient to patient with DBS. For some, alienation can be brought about by neurointerventions because patients no longer feel like themselves. But, on the other hand, it seems alienation can also be cured by DBS as other patients experience their state of mind as authentic under treatment and retrospectively regard their former lives without stimulation as alienated. I argue that we must do further research on the relevance of authenticity and alienation to patients treated with DBS in order to gain a deeper philosophical understanding, and to develop the best evaluative criterion for the behavior of DBS patients. (shrink)
In this paper I develop a phenomenology of falling ill by presenting, interpreting and developing the basic model we find in Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness ( 1956 ). The three steps identified by Sartre in this process are analysed, developed further and brought to a five-step model: (1) pre-reflective experience of discomfort, (2) lived, bodily discomfort, (3) suffered illness, (4) disease pondering, and (5) disease state. To fall ill is to fall victim to a gradual process of alienation, (...) and with each step this alienating process is taken to a new qualitative level. Consequently, the five steps of falling ill have not only a contingent chronological order but also a kind of logical order, in that they typically presuppose each other. I adopt Sartre’s focus on embodiment as the core ground of the alienation process, but point out that the alienation of the body in illness is not only the experience of a psychic object, but an experience of the independent life of one’s own body. This facticity of the body is the result neither of the gaze of the other person, nor of a reflection adopting the outer perspective of the other in an indirect way, but is a result of the very otherness of one’s own body, which addresses and plagues us when we fall ill. I use examples of falling ill and being a patient to show how a phenomenology of falling ill can be helpful in educating health-care personnel (and perhaps also patients) about the ways of the lived body. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against certain dogmas about ambivalence and alienation. Authors such as Harry Frankfurt and Christine Korsgaard demand a unity of persons that excludes ambivalence. Other philosophers such as David Velleman have criticized this demand as overblown, yet these critics, too, demand a personal unity that excludes an extreme form of ambivalence (“radical ambivalence”). I defend radical ambivalence by arguing that, to be true to oneself, one sometimes needs to be radically ambivalent. Certain dogmas about (...) class='Hi'>alienation are even more entrenched. Allen Wood’s entry on “alienation” in the Oxford Companion to Philosophy begins as follows: “A psychological or social evil, characterized by one or another type of harmful separation, disruption or fragmentation, which sunders things that belong together.” I think that it is not true that self-alienation is necessarily “harmful.” I argue that radical ambivalence is a form of self-alienation. Thus, because faithfulness to oneself sometimes requires radical ambivalence, to be true to oneself, one sometimes needs to be alienated from oneself. (shrink)
The term ‘digital alienation’ is used in critical IS research to refer to manifestations of alienation online. This paper explores the difficulties of using a traditional Marxist analysis to account for digital alienation. The problem is that the activity people undertake online does not look coerced or estranged from the creator’s individuality, both of which are typically seen as necessary for the production of alienation. As a result of this apparent difficulty, much of the research has (...) focused on the relationship between digital alienation and digital labour. -/- This paper attempts to overcome these difficulties by discarding the traditional approach. We argue one can better understand digital alienation by focusing on the relationship between user intent and technical infrastructure, rather than concerns with labour. Under the existing economic model dominating the internet, free services are financed by recording user activity and then using the products of this commercial surveillance to sell information about people to others. We show how the real harm in current online business models is that commercial surveillance is being used to commodify private life. Seeking to define personal data in more precise terms, we will introduce two new concepts necessary for a detailed discussion of any ethical issues regarding personal data - the digital shadow and the digital persona. We will then show how affordances in current online systems are tuned to commodification of the user’s personality. We will then explore the nature of online surveillance and show how affordances combine with the surveillance economy to produce digital alienation. (shrink)
In this book, the most thorough account of Marx's theory of alienation yet to have appeared in English, Professor Ollman reconstructs the theory from its constituent parts and offers it as a vantage point from which to view the rest of Marxism. The book further contains a detailed examination of Marx's philosophy of internal relations, the much neglected logical foudation of his method, and provides a systematic account of Marx's conception of human nature. Because of its almost unique concern (...) with helping readers understand Marx's unusual use of language, Alienation has proven very popular in university courses on Marxism on both undergraduate and graduate levels. The first edition was widely reviewed, and in this new edition Professor Ollman replies to his critics in 'More on internal relations,' published here as Appendix II. In addition to this new appendix the author now provides a more systematic discussion of Marx's theory of ideology, elements of which were formerly dispersed throughout the book. He also attempts to set the treatment of political alienation within the broader framework of Marx's theory of the state as a model of how an approach based on internal relations can be used to integrate various apparently contradictory interpretations of Marx's views. (shrink)
Introduction -- Karl Marx's concept of alienation -- Objectification, alienation, and estrangement -- Other origins of alienation and objectification -- Marx's account of alienation : from early to late -- The alienated object of production : commodity fetishism -- The alienated means of production : machine fetishism -- Machines and the transformation of work -- Marx's energeticist turn -- The first law of thermodynamics -- From arbeit to arbeitskraft -- The second law of thermodynamics -- Machines (...) in the communist future -- Technology and the boundaries of nature -- Material wealth and value : the Grundrisse's fragment on machines -- The strife between technology and capital : the fall in the rate of profit -- Enjoyment not value : challenging the logic of exhaustion -- Man himself as fixed capital -- Class kinship and the redistribution of the means of production -- Machines in the capitalist reality -- Between thermodynamics and humanism : approaching capital -- Machinery as an historical category of production -- Machines, trains, and other capitalist monsters -- Rough, foul-mouthed boys : women's monstrous laboring bodies -- Wage labor and race -- Wage labor and sexuality -- Machinery and revolution -- Alienation beyond Marx -- Science and technology in Marx's excerpt notebooks -- Karl Marx and Charles Babbage -- Machines and temporality : the treadmill effect and free time -- Technophobia and technophilia -- Technophobia and twentieth-century theory. (shrink)
This article develops a phenomenological exploration of chronic pain from a first-person perspective that can serve to enrich the medical third-person perspective. The experience of chronic pain is found to be a feeling in which we become alienated from the workings of our own bodies. The bodily-based mood of alienation is extended, however, in penetrating the whole world of the chronic pain sufferer, making her entire life unhomelike. Furthermore, the pain mood not only opens up the world as having (...) an alien quality, it also makes the world more lonesome and poor by forcing the sufferer to attend to the workings of her own body. To suffer pain is to find oneself in a situation of passivity in relation to the hurtful experiences one is undergoing. In making the body and the world more unhomelike places to be in, pain also tends to rob a person of her language. Severe pain is hard to describe because it pushes the person towards the borderlines of imaginable experience and because it makes it hard to see any meaning and purpose in the situation one has been forced into. The analysis of chronic pain in the article is guided by the attempts made by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Martin Heidegger to understand the nature of human embodiment and existence, and also by descriptions of chronic pain found in the Swedish author Lars Gustafsson’s novel The Death of a Beekeeper. (shrink)
Most moral theories share certain features in common with other theories. They consist of a set of propositions that are universal, general, and hence impartial. The propositions that constitute a typical moral theory are (1) universal, in that they apply to all subjects designated as within their scope. They are (2) general, in that they include no proper names or definite descriptions. They are therefore (3) impartial, in that they accord no special privilege to any particular agent's situation which cannot (...) be justified under (2) and (3). These three features do not distinguish moral theories from other theories, nor indeed from most general categorical propositions we assert. Yet, in recent years, these features of moral theories have been the target of a certain concerted and sustained criticism, namely, that to be committed to such a moral theory, or to aspire to act in accordance with its requirements, results in what has come to be known as moral alienation. Moral alienation, according to this criticism, consists in (i) viewing one's ground projects from an impersonal, "moral point of view" engendered by one's acceptance of the theory; (ii) being prepared to sacrifice these projects to the requirements of moral principle; and (iii) making such a sacrifice specifically and self-consciously in order to conform to these requirements. Moral alienation is said to manifest itself in one (or both) of two ways, depending on the nature of the project thus susceptible to sacrifice. One may be alienated from oneself, if the project consists of tastes, convictions, or aspirations that are centrally definitive of one's self. In this case one's commitment to the project can be at best conditional on its congruence with one's moral theory. It is claimed that this must make for a rather tepid and unenthusiastic commitment indeed. Alternatively, one may be alienated from others, if the project is an interpersonal relationship such as a friendship, marriage, or collegial relationship. In this case one's responses to the other are motivated by one's awareness of what one's moral theory requires. It is claimed that this obstructs a genuine and unmediated emotional response to the other as such. My aim here will be to argue that this very compelling criticism - call it the moral-alienation criticism - is nevertheless misdirected. The real culprit is not any particular moral theory, but rather a certain familiar personality type that may or may not adopt it. (shrink)
This paper discusses Marx’s concept of alienated (or estranged) labour, focusing mainly on his account in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. This concept is frequently taken to be a moral notion based on a concept of universal human nature. This view is criticized and it is argued that the concept of alienation should rather be interpreted in the light of Hegelian historical ideas. In Hegel, alienation is not a purely negative phenomenon; it is a necessary stage (...) of human development. Marx’s account of alienated labour should be understood in similar terms. It is not a merely subjective discontent with work; it is an objective and historically specific condition, a stage in the process of historical development. Marx usually regards it as specific to capitalism. The criticism of capitalism implied in the concept of alienation, it is argued, does not appeal to universal moral standards; it is historical and relative. Overcoming alienation must also be understood in historical terms, not as the realization of a universal ideal, but as the dialectical supersession of capitalist conditions of labour. Marx’s account of communism as the overcoming of alienation is explained in these terms. (shrink)
Harry Frankfurt introduces the concept of externality. Externality is supposed to be a fact about the structure of an agent's will. We argue that the pre-theorethical basis of externality has a lot more to do with feelings of alienation than it does with the will. Once we realize that intuitions about externality are guided by intuitions about feelings of alienation surprising conclusions follow regarding the structure of our will.
The concept of alienation: Hegelian themes in modern social thought -- Creative activity and alienation in Hegel and Marx -- The concept of labour -- The individual and society -- Freedom and the "realm of necessity" -- Alienation as a critical concept -- Private property and communism -- The division of labour and its overcoming -- Marx's concept of communism.
In this article I ask how fruitful the concept of alienation can be for thinking critically about the nature and causes of the contemporary environmental crisis. The concept of alienation enables us to claim that modern human beings have become alienated or estranged from nature and need to become reconciled with it. Yet reconciliation has often been understood—notably by Hegel and Marx—as the state of being ‘at-home-with-oneself-in-the-world’, in the name of which we are entitled, perhaps even obliged, to (...) overcome anything in nature that is alien to the human mind. This approach to alienation derives ultimately from the German Idealist philosopher J. G. Fichte. I explore an alternative conception of alienation and reconciliation to be found in the work of the Early German Romantics, especially Friedrich Schlegel and Novalis. The Romantics think of reconciliation as including a dimension of alienation, in the form of an awareness that nature is greater than and exceeds the understanding of human beings, insofar as we are merely limited parts of the all-encompassing whole that is nature. I argue that this is a more fruitful approach to alienation and reconciliation than that pursued by Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. (shrink)
Quelle est l’ontologie sociale que réclame l’interprétation du capitalisme en général et du néocapitalisme en particulier? Cet article défend l’hypothèse selon laquelle cette ontologie doit suivre le fil conducteur de « l’aliénation objective ». Comprendre le capitalisme, c’est pour une large part comprendre comment des puissances détachées, expressions autonomisées de nos pouvoirs et de nos actions, en viennent à faire l’histoire sans nous et souvent contre nous, sous la pression de la tendance expansionniste qui les anime. L’article explicite cette hypothèse, (...) en souligne certaines difficultés, et, enfin, montre comment elle se rattache au propos de Marx au début du Capital. (shrink)
I present a theory of alienation that accounts for the cognitive processes involved with moral thinking and political behavior in modern societies. On my account, alienation can be understood as a particular kind of atrophy of moral concepts and moral thinking that affect the ways individuals cognize and legitimate the social world and their place within it. Central to my argument is the thesis that modern forms of social integration—shaped by highly institutionalized, rationalized and hierarchical forms of social (...) life—serve to constrain the moral- cognitive powers of subjects leading to a condition of alienation as moral atrophy. This state results from the withering of the subject's internal powers of moral reflection and an overriding predisposition to rely on external value schemas to make sense of moral and political problems. I then present an analysis of alienated moral consciousness and its implications for modern social theory. (shrink)
Intimacy and Alienation puts forward the author's unique paradigm for psychotherapy and counselling based on the assumption that each patient has suffered a disruption of the `self', and that the goal of the therapist is to identify and work with that disruption. Using many clinical illustrations, and drawing on self psychology, attachment therapy and theories of trauma, Russell Meares looks at the nature of self and how it develops, before going on to explore the form and feeling of experience (...) when self is disrupted in a traumatic way, and focusing on ways towards the restoration of the self. Written in an accessible style from the author's singular perspective, Intimacy and Alienation will appeal to professionals in the fields of psychotherapy, counseling, social work and psychiatry, as well as to students and the lay reader. (shrink)
Marx's theory of alienation is of great importance to contemporary political developments, due both to the re-emergence of anti-capitalist struggle in Zapatismo, 21st Century Socialism, and the New Democracy Movement, and to the fact that the most important theorists of these movements single out Marx's theory of alienation as critical to their concerns. Despite this renewed practical and theoretical interest, however, these and other writers have been sparing in their accounts of the normative components which the theory of (...)alienation incorporates. Along with many recent commentators, I argue that the normative components of the theory of alienation are to be found in a notion of human development, and that a conception of the particular importance of the human species-essence plays a critical role in this respect. However, I take a different, and somewhat more detailed, tack than these previous authors in presenting a more detailed conception of human development and flourishing on the basis of Marx's c... (shrink)
Despite the ambiguities, even contradictions, that surround the term 'alienation' it has been much used and found useful, particularly at certain times. This paper provides a brief history and analysis of the term, exploring both its attractions to some, and the suspicions of others. The way in which the term is used and misused in educational research, and the ways in which the concepts which the term suggest could be developed, are also explored.
If “environment” means “that which environs us,” it isn’t clear why environmentalist thinkers so often identify it with nature and not with the built environment that a quick glance around would reveal is what we’re actually environed by. It’s a familiar claim that we’re “alienated from nature,” but I argue that what we’re really alienated from is the built environment itself. Typically talk of alienation from nature involves the claim that we fail to acknowledge nature’s otherness, but the built (...) environment is just as other from us as the natural one. And just as we are said to fail to recognize the role of nature as the origin of everything with which we have to do in the world, so too we fail to recognize the role of socially organized human labor in the objects that surround us. Overcoming alienation would require acknowledging the builtness and the sociality of the world we inhabit. (shrink)
Many philosopers and social theorists pursue the notion that recognition is a fruitful framework for engaging with a social analysis of moral and political life, and – more critically – that the failure of recognition is a feature of alienation. This article argues that the thrust of these arguments can be properly attuned by deploying a dual model of recognition that draws especially on Sartre’s work. Where there is struggle for recognition between subjects, the object of struggle is not (...) the recognition of identity, or even of difference, but the recognition of non-identity. The claim will be that this practical attitude of recognition designates inter-subjective attitudes that can institute normative practices whereby agents’ claims are motivated by the epistemic virtue of non-identity. (shrink)
L’article relève les occurrences du terme « aliénation » dans l’analyse hégélienne de la modernité propre à la Phénoménologie de l’esprit. Il analyse la signification du réseau terminologique et sémantique ainsi constitué au regard de la thématique ultérieure (par exemple marxienne) de la critique de la modernité.
Contre les économistes classiques qui se sont pour la plupart concentrés sur l’échange et la valeur, Marx propose dans les Manuscrits de 1844 une réflexion précise sur l’argent qui prend ainsi place dans le procès global de l’aliénation. L’argent se caractérise notamment par sa forme pure et abstraite et participe d’une création de besoins artificiels qui accroissent la dépendance de l’individu. Ce faisant, l’argent est cause d’une aliénation spécifique : il transforme la quantité pure en une valeur à l’aune de (...) laquelle tout est réévalué. Cette abstraction croissante de ce qui au départ n’est qu’un moyen explique qu’il constitue progressivement la règle de tout commerce. Les échanges ne sont plus alors que les occasions de manifester l’argent lui-même. Si c’est bien sur la propriété privée que se fonde la puissance de l’argent, celui-ci a aussi son mécanisme propre.Against the classical econonics who focuses on the problems of exchange and value, Marx thinks in the Manuscripts of 1844 about money and especially its place in the global alienation process. Money is particularly described as an abstraction and plays a role in the making of artificial needs who alienate men. That is why money is a specific form of alienation : it transforms pure quantity in value in order to estimate everything. This increasing abstraction of a simple tool makes money the rule of every deal. Therefore exchanges become only occasions to make money appear. Despite the fact that the power of money is based on the property, money is also a specific form of alienation. (shrink)
The essays in this collection, which derive from the conference 'Alienation and Alterity: Otherness in Modern and Contemporary Francophone Contexts', held at the University of Exeter in September 2007, explore various aspects of this ...
An investigation of Handke's play by means of an analysis of the elements of the Tractatus, known to have influenced Handke at the time he wrote Kaspar. This approach yields a much more plausible account of Handke's representation of his central character's alienation than are available from now-standard semiotic and post-structuralist analyses.
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)
Theories of autonomy commonly make reference to some form of endorsement: an action is autonomous insofar as the agent has a second-order desire towards the motivating desire, or takes it to be a reason for action, or is not alienated from it. In this paper I argue that all such theories have difficulty accounting for certain kinds of agents, what I call ‘Woody Allen cases’. In order to make sense of such cases, I suggest, it is necessary to disambiguate two (...) distinct forms of endorsement, both of which contribute to autonomy. (shrink)
In Chapter 9 of The Practice of Moral Judgment and her later article Making Room for Character, Barbara Herman offers a distinctive response to a familiar set of concerns with the room left for character and personal relationships in Kantian ethics. She begins by acknowledging the shortcomings of her previous response on this issue and by distancing herself from a standard kind of indirect argument for the importance of personal commitments according to which these have moral weight in virtue of (...) their connection with the psychological health of individuals. Agreeing with an imagined critic’s concern that Kantian ethics must do more than merely tolerate motives of connection, she proposes that we adopt a deliberative field account of practical deliberation incorporating a developmental model of desire formation. I argue that, while this is a subtle and interesting account of desire development, it is not one that will satisfy the critic and should not satisfy the Kantian. I claim that the Kantian cannot forgo instrumental arguments for the importance of personal relationships and commitments and that they should not be shy of endorsing these arguments. (shrink)
HR/AL: Professor Taylor, what are you working on these days? CT: Well, several things. One of the things I am working on is something I was lecturing this fall at the New School University, and that I have called ‘modern social imaginaries’. It is an attempt to understand western modernity in terms of the different ways in which people imagine their social existence. These imaginaries are a condition for new kinds of practices that are characteristic of modernity. This research is (...) an internal part of a larger project to understand modern secular civilization, the modern west as a secular civilization. What does that notion exactly mean? What does it amount to? How did it happen? (shrink)
In this paper we attempt to prove that it was Ludwig Feuerbach’s anthropology that influenced Bakunin’s philosophical path. Following his example Bakunin turned against religion which manipulates, as Hegelianism does, the only priority human being has—another human being. Although Feuerbach’s philosophy did not involve social problems present at Bakunin’s works, we would like to show that it was Feuerbach himself who laid foundation for them and that Bakunin’s criticism of the state was the natural consequence of Feuerbach’s struggle for the (...) individual. Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin proved that Feuerbach’s attempts to rise anthropology to the rank of theology are not sufficient to free the individual from the power of abstractions as in his opinion it is not only God (religion) that should be overthrown but also the state. (shrink)