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Rahel Jaeggi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231151986

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231151986.001.0001

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“A Stranger in the World That He Himself Has Made”

“A Stranger in the World That He Himself Has Made”

The Concept and Phenomenon of Alienation

(p.3) 1 “A Stranger in the World That He Himself Has Made”

Rahel Jaeggi

, Frederick Neuhouser, Alan E. Smith
Columbia University Press

This chapter describes the problems associating domain with the concept of alienation, with particular emphasis on the various dimensions of the concept and how alienation reveals itself both in everyday language and in the philosophical treatment of the concept. Alienation means indifference and internal division, but also powerlessness and relationlessness with respect to oneself and to a world experienced as indifferent and alien. Alienation is the inability to establish a relation to other human beings, to things, to social institutions, and thereby also—so the fundamental intuition of the theory of alienation—to oneself. The alienated person, according to Alasdair MacIntyre, is “a stranger in the world that he himself has made.” This chapter first explains the phenomena of alienation before discussing theories of alienation, such as those offered by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Søren Kierkegaard, and Karl Marx. It also provides a brief history of the theory of alienation.

Keywords:   alienation, philosophy, powerlessness, relationlessness, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, indifference

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