Alienation and Estrangement in the Thought of Hegel and the Young Marx

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Dept. of Philosophy, Boston University


For Hegel, alienation ("entausserung") is not to be identified with estrangement ("entfremdung"). Alienation can lead to estrangement; it can work to overcome estrangement; or it can simply be positive and desirable on its own. While estrangement is necessary for the development of culture, ultimately it is negative and is to be overcome; only positive alienation will then remain. For the young Marx, alienation never overcomes estrangement, and alienation is never positive. Alienation always leads to estrangement and both are to be overcome completely. Against this background it becomes possible to study the different ways in which these concepts operate.

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