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Ernst Bloch is most famous for some standard phrases which have gone into the German language but which are very rarely, if at all, attributed to him. Der aufrechte Gang (the upright gait), die konkrete Utopie (concrete utopia), das Prinzip Hoffnung (the Principle of Hope - also the title of his three volume magnum opus, published in the 1950s) are just three of the concepts which demonstrate his commitment to rescuing political, historical and philosophical change back from the dogmatists of stasis and to putting individual human concerns and rights back at the centre of philosophical considerations. Behind all of his work is a both a documentation of, but also a contribution to the optimistic drive forward into new philosophical territories. From his early Nietzschean and expressionist work Geist der Utopie (spirit of utopia), via his studies of the relationship between Religion and History (Atheismus im Christentum) through to his analysis of human dignity and natural law (Naturrecht und menschliche Würde - written after his experience of having lived under Stalinist rule in the GDR), his constant concern was with demonstrating that we are not human beings but human becomings. His thoughts on these issues have been decisive inspirations for many writers and thinkers in the past decades and, in particular, his ideas about the role of religion in society are becoming increasingly pertinent in the post-secular age...

From the Centre for Ernst Bloch Studies homepage.

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