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Lecture 4

PP 216 Lecture 4: Critical Theory Jan 16th.docx

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Gregory Cameron

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Critical Theory Lecture 4
Jan 16th
Theory of Alienation
1) From their work
a. Worker are alienated because they are not the ones who come up with the
idea in the first place, they are producing the idea of the capitalist. They
are making things that they don’t need or use.
b. Capitalist are paying those workers a subsistence wage.
2) From the product
a. Whatever they make, they do not own the product. It is owned by the
capitalist and they can do whatever they want with them
b. The work has to buy the product like anyone else
3) From fellow workers
a. Your work is not a social environment, it is not a cooperative atmosphere
4) From their own human potential
a. Work should involve the fulfillment of human nature, free. Work is where
we feel the least human. We act like machines.
- All human beings by nature are rational – Aristotle
- This can only be resolved through social change
- Everything we do is a symptom of alienation
Species being- Marx
oThe potentials and powers that are uniquely human
oIs out creative activity, we come up with a purpose and we have the ability
to execute it
oSpontaneous thinking, objectification
oLabour is material, (Ex. Chopping down a tree. Ex. Growing crops, and
eat what you grow)
oLabour is transformative (Ex. Artist  work of art, could lead to greater
oUnder capitalism this all changes
oLabour is always in response for a particular need
oThe transformation of the labour fulfilled a certain need, leads to the birth
of another need
oLabour is the engine of all human history
oLabour is a social activity
oLabour transforms the individual and also transforms the society
- The relation between labor and human nature has a lot of conflict
- You need to look into society to realize who we are
Commodity- Fetishism
- The alienation of social relationships in the division of labour when making a
- Commodity, is a external object through its qualities satisfies the buyer
- A mystical external reality
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