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Marx’s Notion of Man as a ‘Species Being’ and Alienation

Marx’s notion of man as a ‘Species being’ and his idea of Alienation.

The notion of man as a ‘species-being’ for Marx meant the recognition of man’s human essence as a member of a species. A species which takes part in a process of conscious production whereby we produce as human beings for one another; Marx perceived this to be the process of mans ‘active species life’ (Bottomore; 1963 ). Marx specifically used the term ‘species being’ as a method to distinguish human life from animal life; where production is more a consequence of ‘blind instinct’ rather than conscious productive labour. The recognition of man as a ‘species’ becomes eminent to the theory of Alienation, which is central to Marx’s work and vital in reiterating the human essence of man.

‘Alienation’ for Marx was a consequence of the conditions within systems of mutual production, which caused man to lose his identity as a species being and fall into an alienated state through the production of capital. Subsequently, he became detached from his conscious life activity causing him to be detached from himself, from others and the product of his labour. Essentially man comes to lose all his traits that identify his recognition of himself as human, causing himself to become de-humanized (ibid.).

The main concern of this essay will be to adequately explain Marx’s notion of man as a ‘species being’ within the context of this notion of alienation, whilst providing an understanding of their place within the social construction of society, as Marx had intended.

Initially I will touch upon the philosophical background of Hegel and Feuerbach that influenced the writings of Marx, showing the somewhat shift in Marx’s approach from a philosophical background to a more economical and political interpretation of the conditions under which alienated labour occurred.

The conditions which define mutual systems of production causing man to be alienated will be addressed, with specific reference to the relations within modes of production profound within a capitalist economy.

An exploration of the political economy which Marx draws critique upon will finally be approached; proposing the elimination of private property as a means to overcome alienation, whilst also presenting ideas to progress the state into an economy where individuals acquire the product of there labour, an economy according to Marx under communism.

Marx’s utilisation of the notion ‘species being’ was initially addressed by Feuerbach whom developed the concept in his work on...

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Category:   Historical

Length:   11 pages (2,365 words)

Views:   13900

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