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Duquesne University

1. Nietlong, Joseph Penlong. Feuerbach in Context: A Philosophical Reassessment.

Degree: PhD, Philosophy, 2004, Duquesne University

Between 1828 and 1872, Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach published a series of works that brought him into the very center of the philosophical and theological debate of his time. Frederick Engels wrote that the "enthusiasm was general; we all became at once Feuerbachians" Richard Wagner hailed him as the "ideal exponent of the radical release of the individual from the thralldom of accepted notions." Karl Marx went to great lengths to criticize, reformulate, and adopt his ideas. "Feuerbach's… insights have been absorbed and transformed, [not only in the works of] Marx, [but also in those of] Freud, Dewey, and Lukacs." "Feuerbach's radical critique of religion has been adopted with almost indecent fervor by radical theology itself, as a way of saving God for mankind and of rescuing religion from total irrelevance to this world. Sartre, Marcel and Buber have taken over Feuerbach's I-Thou as the touchstone of the relation of self to other. The existential psychology and psychiatry of Rogers, Laing, and others had repeated and elaborated the theory and the implicit therapy of Feuerbachian psychology." The intervening period has obscured Feuerbach's importance. When he is mentioned at all, it is mainly in a perfunctory manner, as a mere stepping stone, or as a bridge from Hegel to Marx. According to Feuerbach, God and truth, the purported objects of philosophy and religion were not the real objects of philosophy and religion. Rather, when decoded and unmasked, the real object of both turns out to be human being. Since human beings are intrinsically social, the realization of this anthropological content relates naturally to realizing the needs of the social group, whose freedom and fulfillment is seen as the elimination of the sources of religious alienation. This dissertation aims at presenting a radically fresh view of Feuerbach substantially original and different from the usual way this under-appreciated thinker is portrayed. This dissertation will be arguing that at the core of Feuerbach's thought are two central themes or concerns: the first epistemological and the second, ontological. By the first concern, I mean that which could be gleaned and constructed from his writings as amounting to the outline of a theory of knowledge. The second, or ontological concern, refers to Feuerbach's theory of being in which he inverts the usual understanding of the relationship between being and thought, mind and reality, thus uncovering a principal thread of modern thought: the principle of immanentism. In the first instance, Feuerbach, for the most part follows Hegel in holding that the relation of the thinking subject to its proper object is possible if and only if the subject and object (of knowledge) are of the same nature. However, for Feuerbach, only the senses, and not thought, gives us an object or thing in the true sense, " thus stressing the primacy of sensuousness in knowledge. "The secret of immediate knowledge, " Feuerbach says, is "sensation." One of the tasks of this dissertation will be to clarify why Feuerbach,… Advisors/Committee Members: Thomas Rockmore, Daniel Selcer, Ronald Polanksy.

Subjects/Keywords: alienation; Anthropology; AtheismustStreit; Atheist; Bayle; Critique of Hegel; Das Wessen des Christentums; De Ratione; dialectic; Dorguth; Engels; Essence of Christianity; Essence of Religion; Feuerbach; Fichte; Frederick Engels; Gattung; Gattungswessen; Gedanken uber tod und unterblickheit; Geist; German idealism; Globalization; God; God in exile; Hegel; Hegelians; HEINRICH Heine; infinite; I-Thou relationship; Kant; Karl Barth; Karl Daub; Karl Marx; Karl Rozenkranz; Martin Buber; Marx; Minerva the goddess; Moses Hess; Phillip Marheineke; projection; projection theories; Schelling; secularization; species being; Spirit; Stirner; The Essence of money; The future of humanity; Thoughts on Death and Immortality; Wartofsky; Young Hegelians

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APA (6th Edition):

Nietlong, J. P. (2004). Feuerbach in Context: A Philosophical Reassessment. (Doctoral Dissertation). Duquesne University. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Nietlong, Joseph Penlong. “Feuerbach in Context: A Philosophical Reassessment.” 2004. Doctoral Dissertation, Duquesne University. Accessed October 22, 2019.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Nietlong, Joseph Penlong. “Feuerbach in Context: A Philosophical Reassessment.” 2004. Web. 22 Oct 2019.


Nietlong JP. Feuerbach in Context: A Philosophical Reassessment. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Duquesne University; 2004. [cited 2019 Oct 22]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Nietlong JP. Feuerbach in Context: A Philosophical Reassessment. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Duquesne University; 2004. Available from: