HANS.DESPAIN at m.cc.utah.edu
Tue Aug 22 19:58:10 MDT 1995
On August 17 Kevin John Geiger wrote that "Marx denied that there was a
'human nature'". This is surely an (Althusserian) overstatement. If it
is meant to say that Marx, like any careful theorist, could not precisely
say what is the human essence, perhaps we agree. However, if this means
that human beings do not have a nature in an Althusserian or
Structuralist sense we must disagree.
Moreover, Marx's comments on species-being should be interpreted in light
of his histocial materialism of *German Ideology*, and his comments and
notion of human praxis. Marx did not use the term species-being
following his critique of Feuerbach in the *German Idology*.
I believe that two books from Erich Fromm *Marx's Concept of Man* (1961);
*The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness* (1973); and Norman Geras's *Marx on
Human Nature* (1983) are all very good books on this issue (especially
Geras defense against the Althusserian interpretation).
Although Marx's abandon's the Feuerbachian term species-being he retains
both Feuerbachian moments of humanism and naturalism. The humanism has
humans as agents of *praxis* (e.g. change, self-development, and
betterment). The naturalism has humans part of the natural or material
It seems to me that Marxists must retain a (Marxian) notion of human
nature for any "faith" or believe in full human emancipation.
Finally, I will mention that Bhaskar's Transformational Model of Social
Activity best captures the Marx's notion of human praxis. It is a
model which demonstrates that a distinction between micro and macro (economics)
is a false dichotomy.
despain at econ.sbs.utah.edu
hans.despain at m.cc.utah.edu
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