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DOI 10.12887/31-2018-4-124-16

Andrzej SZOSTEK MIC – Alienation: A Continuously Acute Problem. Remarks on Alienation, as seen through the Prism of the Ideas Developed by Karol Wojtyła–John Paul II

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The author presents a brief outline of Karl Marx’s concepts of economic alienation and social revolution (the latter conceived of as fight for human emancipation) in order to confront them with Karol Wojtyła’s theory of participation, which is the main focus of the considerations. Unlike Marx, Wojtyła holds that, rather than the economic relations, it is the category of the ‘neighbor,’ together with the derivative commandment of love (“thou shalt love...”), that provide the deepest ground for participation. Therefore, Wojtyła emphasizes that the Marxist theory of alienation is essentially the antithesis of the theory of participation, while the postulate of a class-struggle-based revolution, which follows from the theory of alienation, deepens the condition in question rather than contributes to overcoming it. In the concluding part of the paper, the author refers to the fact that Pope John Paul II did not consider overcoming the so-called socialist system, which began in 1989, as the end of working against alienation. Rather, he would stress that the problem of alienation is still acute, since alienation is now engendered by materialistic consumer attitudes which undermine the possibilities of participation.

The author holds that the mark of the consumer mentality characteristic primarily of Western societies is that their members are no longer aware of the alienation they experience and, consequently, they no longer strive to overcome this condition.


Translated by Dorota Chabrajska


Keywords: alienation, economic alienation, socialist revolution, human emancipation, theory of participation, consumer attitudes, Karl Marx, Karol Wojtyła


Contact: Faculty of ‘Artes Liberales,’ University of Warsaw, Nowy Świat 69, 00-46 Warsaw, Poland
E-mail: arszost@kul.pl

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  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. e-ISSN 2720-5355
  3. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 100.00
  4. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  5. DOI Prefix 10.12887