Class Notes (806,623)
Canada (492,357)
York University (33,488)
Philosophy (679)
PHIL 1100 (196)
Lecture 6


6 Pages
Unlock Document

York University
PHIL 1100
Henry Jackman

PHIL 1100 LECTURE NOTES – FALL WEEK 6 KARL MARX - In 1848 (age 30) – wrote The Communist Manifesto – dies at age 65 - “Alienated Labour” (1844) – focusing mainly on what is wrong with the status quo, rather than his account on how to fix it Labour and the Meaning of Life (pt. 1) - Workers are alienated in four ways: o 1) the product of their work (1-2) o 2) the act of production (2) o 3) their “species being” (2-3)  Human nature o 4) Other people Alienation from the product of work - Salaried workers, factory workers contrasted with traditional craftsman (where product of work was determined by you) o Product of factory worker was something that was owned by person who pays them salary, so they don’t have direct productive attachment that traditional craft-making scenario has o “the more commodities the worker produces, the cheaper a commodity he becomes.”  If a worker is producing cars and goes from producing 10 cars a month to 100 cars a month, increase in productivity is good for factory owner, but it was not good for workers because if each worker can produce 10 times as much as before, if there is a finite demand, factory only has to hire 1/10 as many workers so salary goes down o “the more the worker exhausts himself, the more powerful the alien world of objects … becomes, the poorer he and his inner world become.”  Poverty and terrible things for the workers Alienation from the act of production - Act of production is tied most importantly to having a meaningful life - Point of life is having a creative working life - Factory work compared to older styles of work where there was a variety of things done in the day, is just small bit of a job and doing it repetitively – it is not interesting work o Workers unsurprisingly don’t look forward to their work, only do it for salary - “the worker … is at home when he is not working, and when he is working he is not at home. His work … is forced labour. o It was forced because if you didn’t work you might end up starving o Anybody who is doing a job they don’t enjoy and wouldn’t be doing it if they weren’t paid at all is engaging in a form of forced labour o Marx thinks it’s almost always the case with factory work - “it is therefore not the satisfaction of a need, but only a means for satisfying external to it.” o In alienating conditions, work is only instrumentally good – the only thing good about work is that you get a paycheque and you can use it to buy the things that you want o In non-alienating conditions work might have intrinsic value - “the worker … feels that he is acting freely only in his animal functions – eating, drinking, procreating, or at most in his shelter and his finery o E.g. your free time is not time that you’re spending at work – that’s where you feel free o Life which is in some ways animalistic – even if fancy, still the basic activity of the animal - [continuation of previous quote]--while in his human functions he feels himself nothing more than an animal.” o We don’t feel free when we are working, even though working is, in Marx’s view, distinctively human o Alienation is not just the function of your paycheque – for example: if you love the pay, you still could hate the job - “An enforced increase of wages … would therefore be nothing but better remuneration for the slaves, and would have won, neither for the worker nor for labour, their human significance and worth,” o Alienation will not be fixed by increased wages -- only increases instrumental value o Problem in alienation is that instrumental value is the only value there is – not the needed intrinsic value Labour & The Meaning of Life (pt. 2) Alienation from Our Species Being - As a species of humanity, our alienation from human nature - “the whole character of a species … is contained in the character of its life activity; - [continuation of above quote] and free conscious activity is the species character of man… Man makes his life activity itself an object of his will and of his consciousness.” o We can reflect on our life activity and change it in a way o Sense that the characteristic activity of humans is something we can reflect upon and change  Example: Wolves are wolves, they act the way they are prone to act – they don’t look back on their wolfish nature and think they should behave differently – they behave as they are programmed to do – incapable of change in their nature. Conscious activity is distinctively human, and this activity can be reflecting on the nature of the activity itself. This is part of what makes us human - Production is distinctively human - “the animal … produces under the domination of direct physical need o Work and production not only done by people (birds build nest, for examples), but Marx argues the animal produces only under domination of direct physical need (bird to take care of eggs). o [continuation of quote] while man … produces truly … only in freedom from such need.”  True distinctive human production isn’t driven by physical need, in which case it will be comparable to animal action, but this distinctive activity is not driven by physical need, it is done for its own sake – viewed as intrinsically viewed - “in degrading spontaneous activity, free activity, to the level of a means, alienated labour makes man’s species life a means for his physical existence.” o the life of a producer now only exists as a service to keep the body alive, like an animal thing, in an alienated position o physical existence should be kept going so one can do what is specifically human – we shouldn’t be working just for the purpose of keeping our body alive o human life is there to serve the physical life, but should be the other way around Alienation from Other People - alienated from other people such as fellow workers and owners - what we have in common is our humanity, so if we ar
More Less

Related notes for PHIL 1100

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.