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Emancipation and the Bounds of Meaning: Reading, Representation and Politics in Young Hegelianism

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Abstract:

This paper explores the status of symbolic representation in the work of the Left Hegelians Bruno Bauer and Ludwig Feuerbach. Hegel believed, contrary to his Romantic contemporaries, that symbols were too ambiguous to serve as means of philosophical communication; and as his followers turned against religion, they radicalized Hegel's critique of Romantic symbolism in the name of an emancipatory impulse toward clarity and full possession of the object of meaning. While Bauer insisted that the possibility of human emancipation depended on overcoming the otherness of symbolic representation, Feuerbach reintroduced the symbolic as a crucial dimension of his humanist theory of religion and his account of embodied subjectivity.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1084877032000138576

Publication date: August 1, 2003

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