It has become evident in advanced capitalism that the worker’s relation between their labor and their selfhood remains unclear and distorted. For many, labor is merely a means for putting food on the table and a roof over their head. This does not mean, however, that labor in itself gives rise to this prevailing relation. The objective of this essay is to uncover a fundamental ontological characteristic of labor; namely, its ability to reflect one’s subjectivity and capabilities as a human being. I attempt to demonstrate, through thinkers such as Karl Marx and G. W. F. Hegel, that the worker's labor and the exchange of their products are intimately connected with their selfhood—whether they see themselves as creative, competent, and so on. Furthermore, I argue that the advanced capitalist mode of production has distorted this essential relationship to labor, thus estranging the worker from their labor and subjectivity.
"Hegel, Marx, and the Realization of the Self in Work: Towards a Humanistic Ontology of Labor,"
Acta Cogitata: An Undergraduate Journal in Philosophy: Vol. 9, Article 4.
Available at: https://commons.emich.edu/ac/vol9/iss1/4