Ernst Bloch

region = Western Philosophy
era = 20th-century philosophy
color = #B0C4DE

image_caption =
name = Ernst Bloch
birth = July 8, 1885 (Ludwigshafen, Germany)
death = death date and age|1977|08|04|1885|07|08 (Tübingen, Germany)
school_tradition = Marxism
main_interests = utopianism, revolutionary ideology, liberation theology
influences = Marx, Hegel
influenced = Ernesto Balducci, Jürgen Moltmann
notable_ideas =

Ernst Simon Bloch (IPA2|ɛʁnst ˈziːmɔn blɔx, July 8, 1885 – August 4, 1977) was a German Marxist philosopher.

Bloch was influenced by both Hegel and Marx. He was also interested in music (notably Gustav Mahler) and art (notably expressionism). He established friendships with Georg Lukacs, Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill and Theodor W. Adorno. Bloch's work focuses on the concept that in a utopian human world where oppression and exploitation have been eliminated there will always be a truly ideological revolutionary force.


Bloch was born in Ludwigshafen, the son of an assimilated Jewish railway-employee. After studying philosophy, he married Else von Stritzky, daughter of a Baltic brewer in 1913, who died in 1921. His second marriage with Linda Oppenheimer lasted only a few years. His third wife was , a Polish architect, whom he married 1934 in Vienna. When the Nazis came to power, they had to flee, first into Switzerland, then to Austria, France, Czechoslovakia, and finally the USA. Bloch returned to the GDR in 1949 and obtained a chair in philosophy at Leipzig. When the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, he did not return to the GDR, but went to Tübingen in West Germany, where he received an honorary chair in Philosophy. He died in Tübingen.


Bloch's work became very influential in the course of the student protest movements in 1968 and in liberation theology. It is cited as a key influence by Jürgen Moltmann in his "Theology of Hope" (1967, Harper and Row, New York), and by Ernesto Balducci.

Bloch's "Principle of Hope" was written during his emigration in the USA, where he lived briefly in New Hampshire before settling in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He wrote the lengthy three volume work in the reading room of Harvard's Widener Library. Bloch originally planned to publish it there under the title "Dreams of a Better Life". The "Principle of Hope" tries to provide an encyclopedic account of mankind's and nature's orientation towards a socially and technologically improved future.



* "Geist der Utopie" (1918) (trans.: "The Spirit of Utopia", Stanford, 2000)
* "Thomas Müntzer als Theologe der Revolution" (1921)
* "Spuren" (1930) (trans.: "Traces", Stanford University Press, 2006)
* "Erbschaft dieser Zeit" (1935)
* "Freiheit und Ordnung" (1947)
* "Subjekt - Objekt" (1949)
* "Christian Thomasius" (1949)
* "Avicenna und die aristotelische Linke" (1949)
* "Das Prinzip Hoffnung" (3 vols.: 1954–1959) (trans.: "The Principle of Hope", MIT Press, 1986)
* "Naturrecht und menschliche Würde" (1961) (trans.: "Natural Law and Human Dignity", MIT Press 1986)
* "Tübinger Einleitung in die Philosophie" (1963)
* "Religion im Erbe" (1959-66) (trans.: "Man On His Own", Herder and Herder, 1970)
* "Atheismus im Christentum" (1968) (trans.: "Atheism in Christianity", 1972)
* "Politische Messungen, Pestzeit, Vormärz" (1970)
* "Das Materialismusproblem, seine Geschichte und Substanz" (1972)
* "Experimentum Mundi. Frage, Kategorien des Herausbringens, Praxis" (1975)


* “Causality and Finality as Active, Objectifying Categories:Categories of Transmission”. "TELOS" 21 (Fall 1974). New York: [ Telos Press]

Further reading

* Adorno, Theodor W. (1991). "Ernst Bloch's "Spuren"," "Notes to Literature, Volume One", New York, Columbia University Press
* Geoghegan, Vincent (1996). "Ernst Bloch", London, Routledge
* Hudson, Wayne (1982). "The Marxist philosophy of Ernst Bloch", New York, St. Martin's Press
* Münster, Arno (1989). "Ernst Bloch: messianisme et utopie", PUF, Paris
* Münster, Arno (2001). "L'utopie concrète d'Ernst Bloch", Kimé, Paris

External links

* [ Illuminations: Ernst Bloch, Utopia and Ideology Critique By Douglas Kellner]
* [ Ernst-Bloch-Zentrum]
* [ Ernst Bloch Assoziation]
* [ Centre for Ernst Bloch Studies, University of Sheffield]

NAME= Bloch, Ernst
DATE OF BIRTH=July 8, 1885
PLACE OF BIRTH=Ludwigshafen, Germany
DATE OF DEATH=August 4, 1977
PLACE OF DEATH=Tübingen, Germany

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