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Some Marxists posit what they deem to be Marx’s theory of human nature, which they accord an important place in his critique of capitalism,...

Some Marxists posit what they deem to be Marx’s theory of human nature, which they accord an important place in his critique of capitalism, his conception of communism, and his ‘materialist conception of history’. Karl Marx, however, does not refer to “human nature” as such, but to Gattungswesen, which is generally translated as ‘species-being’ or ‘species-essence’. According to a note from the young Marx in the Manuscripts of 1844, the term is derived from Social work thesis pdf Feuerbach’s philosophy, in which it refers both to the nature of each human and of humanity as a whole. Marx criticizes the traditional conception of “human nature” as “species” which incarnates itself in each individual, instead arguing that the conception of human nature is formed by the totality of “social relations”.


Thus, the whole of human nature is not understood, as in classical idealist philosophy, as permanent and universal: the species-being is always determined in a specific social and historical formation, with some aspects being biological. The sixth of the Theses on Feuerbach, written in 1845, provided an early discussion by Marx of the concept of human nature. Feuerbach resolves the essence of religion into the essence of man . But the essence of man is no abstraction inherent in each single individual.

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