For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Beyond the worlds of work and leisure: Ernst Jünger and Josef Pieper on the prospects of post-liberal existence"

by Stoneman, Ethan (2020)


The popular twentieth-century Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper shared much in common with his fellow countryman Ernst Jünger: both served in World War I, though in different capacities; both became successful men of letters who wrote widely and voluminously for decades; both wrote popular philosophical discourses while eschewing many of the stultifying trappings of what Schopenhauer disparagingly referred to as “university professors” (though to be sure Pieper enjoyed a successful academic career as a professor of philosophical anthropology at the University of Münster from 1950 to 1976); and both, for a time, were preoccupied with Jünger’s prognosis of a near-future in which the nineteenth-century concept of the bourgeois individual would be supplanted by the worker, who, neither individual nor mass man, would be the central figure in a technocratic society devoted to total work or mobilization. Although immensely critical of Jünger’s position regarding “the gradual metamorphosis of humanity into a ‘worldwide army of workers,’” Pieper nonetheless regarded that vision as sufficiently close to an emerging post–World War I reality as to represent a real and pressing exigence to the European tradition of liberality and freedom and, more generally, to an undiminished humanity that views the world as an integrative but non-functionalized whole.1


Junger, Pieper, Post-Liberal, Philosophical Anthropology, Leisure


On Jünger

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