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By Rahel Jaeggi, Frederick Neuhouser, Frederick Neuhouser, Alan E. Smith

The Hegelian-Marxist suggestion of alienation fell out of style after the postmetaphysical rejection of humanism and essentialist perspectives of human nature. during this publication Rahel Jaeggi attracts at the Hegelian philosophical culture, phenomenological analyses grounded in smooth conceptions of employer, and up to date paintings within the analytical culture to reconceive alienation because the absence of a significant dating to oneself and others, which manifests in emotions of helplessness and the despondent reputation of ossified social roles and expectations.

A revived method of alienation is helping severe social idea have interaction with phenomena equivalent to meaninglessness, isolation, and indifference. through 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 predicament 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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What is alienating about alienated labor is that it has no intrinsic purpose, that it is not (at least also) performed for its own sake. Activities performed in an alienated way are understood by those who carry them out not as ends but only as means. In the same way, one regards the capacities one acquires from or brings to the activity—and therefore also oneself—as means rather than ends. In other words, one does not identify with what one does. Instrumentalization, in turn, intensifies into utter meaninglessness: When Marx says that under conditions of alienation life itself becomes a means (“life itself appears only as a means to life”)7—what should be an end takes on the character of a means—he is describing a completely meaningless event, or, as one could 14 THE RELATION OF RELATIONLESSNESS say, the structure of meaninglessness itself.

Insofar as this can be understood as a pejorative description of the sphere of sociality in general,29 it refers to a social interrelatedness characterized by, at once, conformity and anonymity—that is, a situation in which decisions and evaluations are not made explicitly but as if it were simply self-evident how one should decide and evaluate. ’”30 This, too, describes a kind of domination: we have fallen under “subjection to the other,” but there is also a strange oscillation here between domination by others and self-“domination” (or self-rule), which is explained by the anonymous and fleeting character of the subject of this domination (by the “They”).

The aspect of this account of an individual’s self-relation that is crucial for the critique of reification lies in the opposition between the concepts of existence (Existenz) and being present-at-hand. When we relate to ourselves existentially (existierend), we do not relate to ourselves as to an object that is simply present in the world. We relate to ourselves in our life activities—that is, in what we will and do. That I have “my own Being to be” means that I do not simply exist as any object could be (present-at-hand); rather, I must lead my life, carry it out myself.

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