Alienation: Philosophical Definition


The term “alienation” originally meant the deprivation of a right or a quality (legal meaning). Marx and Engels made ​​clear the fundamental alienation of proletarian life, insofar as the proletariat does not own the means of production.

General definition of ALIENATION:

– Latin: alienus: who belongs to another


– Action to become other than oneself, to enter into what is other than the spirit (Hegel)

– state of one who is before the products of his activity as before a foreign power that dominates (Marx)

Psychiatry: mental illness rendering the person a stranger to himself

Specific definitions of philosophers:

Kant: “The translation of his property to another is alienation” (Metaphysics of Morals)

Marx: “The alienation of the worker in his product means not only that his labor becomes an object, an external existence, but that it exists outside him, as a hostile and foreign power”


Cite this article as: Tim, "Alienation: Philosophical Definition, May 26, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, May 26, 2012,

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