false consciousness

An inability to see things, especially social relations and relations of exploitation, as they really are. The term occurs in late work of Engels, although the phenomenon is implied in Feuerbach's account of the religious impulse. The state of false consciousness may be the inevitable result of a way of living, and characterizes the generic and chronic kind of servitude that cannot even perceive its own situation. It may therefore coexist with a kind of illusory contentment. The cure is ‘consciousness-raising’. In the later writings of Marx the concept to some extent supersedes that of alienation.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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