Macquarie University
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Work, anthropology, and human determination in the thought of Schiller, Marx, and Marcuse

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posted on 2022-03-28, 00:59 authored by Karl Nicholas Moll
This thesis will trace the evolution of the relationship between concepts of work activity and human nature within a particular strand of German social philosophy, represented by Friedrich Schiller, Karl Marx, and Herbert Marcuse. By analysing the writings of these three key theorists, the thesis explores the value of the concept of work activity, defined as the human being's socially mediated interaction with the natural world, as a social-theoretical resource. In recent years this concept has been underutilised to the detriment of critical social theory, particularly in light of the specific socio-political issues that have emerged in the late capitalist era. Through the analysis of Schiller, Marx, and Marcuse, a case is put forward for a renewal of critical social theory around such a conception of work. The guiding idea is that critical social theory stands in need of a philosophical anthropology which approaches the individual human subject as a unified and complete being, whose freedom may be conceived as activated, as well as circumscribed, by the human being’s activity towards nature.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Part I. Schiller. Chapter 1. Schiller's 'transcendental' anthropology and the concept of play -- Part II. Marx. Chapter 2. Marx's philosophical origins Chapter 3. Anthropology, work and alienation Chapter 4. Capitalism as human determination -- Part III. Marcuse. Chapter 5. Marcuse's 'phenomenological' historical materialism Chapter 6. Work in Reason and revolution and Eros and civilization Chapter 7. Technology, nature and the ' new sensibility' -- Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 225-238 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy

Department, Centre or School

Department of Philosophy

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Nicholas H. (Nicholas Hugh) Smith

Additional Supervisor 1

Jean-Philippe Deranty


Copyright Karl Nicholas Moll 2014. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (viii, 238 pages)

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