C4E Master Class with Rainer Forst

Critical Ethics

Noumenal Alienation: Rousseau, Kant and Marx on the Dialectics of Self-Determination

Alienation (as Entfremdung) should be understood as a particular form of individual and social heteronomy that can only be overcome by a dialectical combination of individual and collective autonomy, recovering a deontological sense of normative authority. If we think about alienation in Kantian terms, the main source of alienation is a denial of standing or, in the extreme, losing a sense of oneself as a rational normative authority equal to all others. I call the former kind of alienation, where persons deny others equal standing as a normative authority in moral or political terms, first order noumenal alienation, as there is no proper mutual cognition and recognition of each other in such a social context. I call the latter kind of alienation, where a subject does not consider themselves an equal normative authority or an end in oneself’ – second order noumenal alienation (again, in a moral and a political form). In this sense, alienation violates the dignity of humans as moral and political lawgivers a dignity seen by Rousseau, Kant and Marx as inalienable: It can be denied or violated, but it cannot be lost. [full-text link]

This interactive event is intended for graduate and professional students and postdocs. Participants should be prepared to discuss the above article by Professor Forst. To register, please click below (by May 1): 

Rainer Forst
Professor of Political Theory & Philosophy
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a.M.

hosted by:

Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

co-sponsored by:

University of Toronto, Faculty of Law

Thu, May 3, 2018
12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
Room 200, Larkin Building
15 Devonshire Place