Work (philosophy)

the work as sociological - philosophical category seizes all processes of the conscious creative argument of humans with nature and the society. Sense givers of these processes are working humans with their individual needs, abilities and opinions in the context of the current naturalnesses and social conditions of work.

Table of contents

purpose and a goal of the work

humans searching by means of work different of achieving goals also diverging. On the abstraction level of the “category work " it becomes clear that humans in all society systems - under abolition of systems-inherent contradictions - pursue the always following superordinate goals:

work as the subject of philosophical theories

who busily with the term “work ” from the philosophical point of view, encounters itself a dilemma: Although the “work” is into their form varieties a constant of the human existence, there are only little considerable philosophers, who lifted her out from the economics , ethics or theology. Platon saw the leisure for its “conscious creative argument with nature and the society as basic condition. This view is today still comprehensible under the aspect that under obligation sufficient creativity and the need purchase of the work are lost. From the antique one in the Middle Ages applied: Only who extracts itself from everyday troubles and compulsory labors, time, its needs has the head to frönen, and freely for new realizations and creative acting.

Aristoteles comes with a category in the sense of “causing” the “work” quite near, whereby this category refers however to nature altogether. “Human work” becomes predominant however in connection with or even as synonym for activity and/or. Act, production, “useful work”, occupation, gainful employment, service for the community etc. partially discussed (see. Work sociology). In the Middle Ages the philosophy of the work was usually led as theological debate (see. Benedikt of Nursia).

German philosophers 18. and 19. Century defined the work moral-philosophically and explained they as the moral obligation and living condition of the human existence (see. Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottfried Herder, George William Friedrich Hegel or Johann God-dear spruce). At the same time increasingly economic and sociological connections came into the field of vision (see. David Hume, Adam Smith, David Ricardo).

Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx supported its society analysis and criticism of the political economics with a developed work philosophy off. In argument thereby 19 is in. and 20. Century numerous Philosopheme developed to the “work ” (see. Hannah Arendt, Ernst Bloch, Max of webers).

Today system theoreticians see “human work” i.e. under - a philosophical category - the adequate aspect, as abstract term for the interactions carried consciously of humans and processes in social systems, whatever kind always these working systems may be.

historical aspect of the work

the productive forces of their society systems in “working processes ” set humans free . They arrange these processes arbeitsteilig after according to the rules and laws of the systems, in which they live in each case and work together. They move in structures, in which they arranged the appropriation and use of the work resources and the distribution of the results of work - depending upon culture epoch or system of government -. These structures überformen purpose and a goal of the “work” economically, ethicalally and politically. The work experiences thereby a historical development.

Is to be maintained by the work and the cultural and technical developments developed from it humans so far only not succeeded in nature strengthening but the productive forces by exceeding growth so that from it serious danger for the further existence of mankind threatens. This historical aspect of the work moves 20 since center . Century gradually into the consciousness of those humans, understand the work not only as activity or factor of production.

A special historical dimension receives the work by the level of development of the technology. Humans use the highest performance, newest media in working processes - depending upon ability and fortunes - except his worker , in order to guarantee or increase the quality and productivity of its work. Ever technisierter and more interlaced the media however are, the less manpower in the working processes are proportionately needed. From this situations arise, in which humans in working systems are set free or possibly from the participation at certain working processes are socially expenditure-bordered. As far as it concerns thereby acquisition work, under the term unemployment is summarized. Often setting free reasons lie causally in holding back or being able persons concerned. By individual efforts (work) concerning know such setting free and/or. Ausgrenzungen overcome to go around or, if them in certain working systems, e.g. in enterprises, associations, families, parties, religious communities, etc., to participate want. Objectively seen consciously acting humans are not unemployed in the sense of the “category work ” also in life situations of “unemployment ”.

Under free market conditions there can be however also structural reasons for “unemployment ”, e.g. in consequence of increasing automation and productivity increases. The development or maintenance of complex technical systems offers to well trained, qualified workers if necessary. new work perspectives. These rich however for the compensation of the been void acquisition work not out. In more highly developed industrial nations has the productivity end 20. Century conditions reached, that more than one third of the population of state permits to out-border socially from the acquisition work. The removal of this condition is regarded as one of the major tasks of responsible governments.

In our society still many open tasks within the social and cultural range wait clearly perceptibly for the treatment. By the development of new and improved financing models here acquisition work could do to be generated , those the person employed not only social acknowledgment on socialnational basis increases, but also a work-promoting, socially balanced earned income offers.

In the industrial age humans developed organization forms, in order to arrange the appropriation and use of work resources and the distribution of the results of work by institutionalized labor disputes socially fairer and economicalally more effective. From the history of the labor disputes it can be derived that the introduction of new work time models to the reduction and simultaneous making of the work time flexible per-asked ways to the medium-term rearrangement of the acquisition work and overcoming of the mass unemployment are. In addition it applies to open fallow-lying or new fields of the acquisition work for the society, e.g. in educating - and training system, in science and research, in the disposal - and recycling economy, during the development and world-wide introduction of environmentalcareful technologies. In addition, conceivable intensified efforts would over if necessary be for the conquest of space. to explore and use extraterrestrial resources.

Despite everything applies also to the “category work” what z. B. Karl Popper in “the open society and its enemies “ intended, when he supported the democracy: The out free will certainly and solely responsible acting humans is a generally accepted basic condition for the “conscious creative argument with nature and the society”. Slaves, forced laborers or in the Kadavergehorsam arrested soldiers take in the context of closely set orders and/or. The role foreigncertainly instructs “medium” and/or. Weapons , those their making and/or. Useful services to commanders with body strength and intelligence render. In accordance with the “category the Romans in their slaves humans, but speaking tools did not see work .

aspects of work and - terms, which Karl Marx introduced to philosophy.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels analyzed the work under philosophical, evolutionary, economic and social aspects. A detailed representation of the working process is into the capital volume I; Fifth chapter; Working process and utilization process. Under 1. Working process is called it there introductory:

“The work is first a process between humans and nature, a process, where humans regulate and control his metabolism with nature by his own act mediated. It steps the natural substance as nature power opposite. Its physical of natural forces, arms and legs belonging, head and hand, he sets those in motion, in order to acquire itself the natural substance in a form useful for its eignes life. By working her by this movement on nature except it and changed, he changes his own nature at the same time. It develops the powers schlummernden in it and subjects the play of its forces of its own offering moderateness. “

The Marx' definition “of the category work” as metabolic process of humans with nature is incomplete, which to indistinct ones and contradictions in its analysis of the social production process led. Marx differentiates between productive work of the “direct producers” on the one hand, and useful work of remaining humans on the other hand. It misjudges thereby the superordinate system connection, after which for working humans nature and society form a unit. It is correct that humans do not only work during the metabolic process with nature and with the material goods won from it productively, but the creative argument on intellectual and social level is just as productive and productivity-increasing works.

Some aspects of work and - terms, which Karl Marx in the writings for the criticism of the political economics and in its Hauptwerk the capital described more near, are likewise of more general importance and to today the subject of philosophical, sociological and political discourses.

concrete work

working humans implement always concrete activities and carry out thereby i.d.R. appropriate, goal courts “concrete work” (Karl Marx calls it “concrete useful work”). According to the abilities, talents and needs of individual humans and their individual life situations “ concrete work” is infinitely various after form and contents. Also under the aspect of the individual appropriateness and objective determine working humans, who “concrete work” is to be carried out by it. “Concrete work” requires the employment of its worker, i.e. always a certain quantity at “alive work , from working humans as well as the supply and use article-light work in form of necessary media. From the use and the processing of the media thereby in the be-producing society costs result to him. But the results of its “concrete work” belong to it. As an owner of the result of working it - depending upon degrees of the Zielerreichung - has a value in use, which results individually from its personal need situation and idealistic appreciation, independently of the expenditure or any put onable market prices. Over the “concrete work” Karl Marx writes (see the capital, volume I, 1. Chapter):

“As Bildnerin of values in use, as useful work, the work is therefore a living condition of humans, eternal nature necessity independent of all company forms, in order to thus obtain the metabolism between humans and nature, the human life. “

abstract work

of Karl Marx postulated a double character of the work represented in the goods " been based on the fact that by means of “concrete work the” created value in use of a commodity is the basic condition to their marketing at all, so that however still no statement about the height of the exchange value is present. According to the materialistic world view however also the exchange value of a commodity rises primarily from the work spent on it. Therefore Karl Marx introduced the term of the “abstract work " . For the double character of the work it writes (see the capital, volume I, 1. Chapter):

  • “All work is on the one hand spending manpower in the physiological sense, and in this characteristic more directly more humanly or it forms the commodity value for abstractly human work. “
  • “All work is on the other hand spending manpower in special appropriate form, and in this characteristic of concrete useful work it produces values in use. ”

On the basis of the abstract work, which carries even the character of the exchange value in itself, Karl Marx developed the work value theory, which applies in the national economy teachings today as to a large extent disproved. However the “ abstract work” plays fundamental role during the work determination of data in the context of scales of salaries and wage still still another.

alienated work

Karl Marx analyzed in its “criticism of the political economics “that under capitalistic production conditions the double-free hired hands are forced to sell their worker to the owners of means of production. Thus the worker accepts a goods character. The price of the worker and/or. Wages adjust themselves on market conditions according to supply and demand . “Concrete work”, which the hired hand carries out, becomes thereby entfemdeter work ". For a lohnabhängigen humans the purpose and the primary goal are its “alienated work” wages, thus money. Hired hand interests therefore Werthaltigkeit results of working, which itself in the quality, into which and in the prices of the manufactured goods and services manifests costs, actually only under aspects of wage security and job preservation. A quite comparable interest situation is on sides of the employees manager, those with high incomes nothing else as “alienated (mental) work” carries out and i.d.R. responsibility for the economic is only ready to take over ecological and social consequences of their decisions if it forces the order-political framework of national laws with appropriate prosecution measures to it.

work as human right

the progressive automation of the working processes leads in the highly developed industrial nations to a continuous purge of the worker demand. In the tendency the market laws cause that by automation the quantity “alienated from work” decreases, which rises unemployment and which real wages sink on sides of the employees. In the context of the social free-market economy it is therefore one of the most important tasks of the State of the economical basic conditions by means of economics to arrange finance and sociopolitical measures in such a way that from it no society-endangering structure crises on the job market develop.

In the “general declaration of the human rights “the right to work is avowed in the article 23. 1

(1) everyone has the right to work, to free occupation choice, on fair and satisfying conditions of work as well as on protection from unemployment.
(2) Everyone, alike, has the right to same wages for same work.
(3) Everyone, which works, has the right to fair and satisfying remuneration, which became it and its family one the human appropriate existence secures, if necessary supplemental by other social preventive measures.
(4) Everyone has the right to form for the protection of its interests trade unions and step such.

In the Saxonian condition the right to work is likewise embodied in the article 7 human being-worthy existence as a state goal.

the country the right of each humans to a human being-worthy existence, in particular on work, recognizes 2 (1) on appropriate dwelling, on appropriate living costs, on social safety device and on education, as a state goal on.
(2) The country professes itself to the obligation of the community to support old and handicapped humans and work toward the equivalence of their living conditions.

The right to work does not contain the right to a job.

see also


  • Karl Popper: The open society and its enemies.
    • I bound: The charm Platons., Francke publishing house, Berne 1957
    • volume II: Wrong prophets - Hegel, Marx and the consequences., Francke publishing house, Berne 1958
  • Karl Marx: The capital. Criticism of the political economics.
    • I bound: The Produktionsprocess of the capital., Publishing house by Otto Meissner, Hamburg 1867
    • volume II: The Cirkulationsprocess of the capital. (Given change by Friedrich Engels), publishing house by Otto Meissner, Hamburg 1885
    • volume III: The Gesammtprocess of capitalistic production, chapter I to XXV III. (Given change by Friedrich Engels), publishing house by Otto Meissner, Hamburg 1894
  • Friedrich Engels: The situation of the working class in England. After own opinion and authentic sources., The time publishing house, Stuttgart 1892 (again given change of walter Kumpmann with DTV, Munich 1987, ISBN 3423060123)
  • Günther differently: The antiquatedness of humans: Over the destruction of the life in the age of the third industriellen revolution., Publishing house C.H. Beck 1980, ISBN 3406476457
  • Manfred Brocker: Work and property. The paradigm change in the modern property theory. Scientific book company, Darmstadt 1992.
  • Wulf D. Dog: Keyword work: From the Banausentum to travail attractif. Thistle publishing house, Heilbronn 1990, ISBN 3-923208-21-9
  • Ernst Lohoff, Norbert Trenkle, Karl-Heinz Lewed, Maria Wölflingseder (Hg.): DEAD Men Working. Operating instructions to the work and social criticism in times capitalistic Amoklaufs. 2004. ISBN 3-89771-427-2
  • Arne harrow-broken, Jens Flemming, Gert Meyer, oh-corrode v. Mueller, Alfred Oppolzer, Akos Paulinyi, Helmuth cutter: History of the work. Of the old person Egypt up to the present. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1980, ISBN 3462013823.
  • Holger treasure: Work as rule. The crisis of the principle of efficiency and its neoliberale reconstruction., 2004, ISBN 3-89771-429-9
  • Jörg Reitzig: Articles of association, justice, work, Münster 2005: Publishing house Westfäli steam boat, ISBN 3-89691-611-4
  • Hans Uske: The celebration of the Faulenzer. The public disposal of unemployment., Duisburg, ISBN 3-927388-47-5
  • Eberhard Straub: Of the nothing doing. Life in a world without work. Berlin 2004, wjs publishing house, ISBN 3-937989-02-1
  • Heinz j. Bontrup: Work, capital and state. - Final speeches for a democratic economy. PapyRossa publishing house Cologne. Second edition 2005. ISBN 3-89438-326-7

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