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(1885-1977) German Marxist philosopher
Year of Birth: 1885
Ernst Bloch was an influential German philosopher and social theorist, whose work had a major impact on 20th century Marxist thought. He was born in Ludwigshafen, Germany, on July 8, 1885, and was raised in a Jewish family. He attended the University of Munich, where he studied philosophy, sociology, psychology and literature. After earning his doctorate in 1906, he moved to Frankfurt am Main, where he worked as a lecturer in philosophy and sociology. He was an early exponent of what became known as Western Marxism, though his work was heavily influenced by the German Idealist tradition. He was a key figure in the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, and is best known for his work The Principle of Hope (1954-9), and his unfinished magnum opus, Atheism in Christianity (1959-69).
Bloch's early work focused on the theory of history, in which he argued that the past was not simply a dead weight that determined the present, but was an open and creative force. He saw history as an open process in which the present was actively shaped by the past. This idea of an open and creative historical process was later developed by Bloch in his concept of the "not-yet-conscious". This concept referred to the potential for the emergence of new forms of social and political life, which were not yet fully conscious or visible in the present. Bloch argued that these potentials were the fuel of social progress, and that they could be used to create a better future.
In The Principle of Hope, Bloch proposed a new vision of a radically different society, in which the struggle for justice and freedom would be the primary force driving social change. He argued that this struggle was not only possible, but necessary for the realization of a just and free society. He also argued that the task of creating a more just and free society was not simply a matter of revolutionizing the state, but of transforming the whole of society at the level of its basic beliefs and values. In this way, Bloch proposed a radical social theory, which attempted to go beyond the limits of traditional Marxist thought.
Bloch's work also had a major impact on social movements of the 20th century, particularly in the student movement of the 1960s. His writings served as a major source of inspiration for the student radicals, who sought to create a new, more open and democratic society. Bloch's works have been widely translated and continue to be studied by students and scholars around the world.
Bloch was also a prolific author, writing more than twenty books and hundreds of articles during his lifetime. His works have been translated into numerous languages, and his ideas continue to inspire contemporary theorists and activists. His work has been widely praised for its originality, clarity and insight, and he remains one of the most important social theorists of the 20th century.
Ernst Bloch died in 1977, leaving behind a vast body of work which has had a major influence on both Marxist theory and social movements. His ideas continue to be relevant today, as people continue to struggle for a more just and free world. Bloch's thought is widely regarded as one of the most important contributions to Marxist and social theory in the 20th century, and he will continue to be remembered as one of the most influential philosophers of our time.
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