Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor A. Shalom
Our work is an attempt to come to grips with the basic structure of Marx's philosophical anthropology. According to Marx, man is, in the most fundamental sense, a "species-being". We endeavour to unpack and examine carefully both its major presuppositions and implications.
Throughout our work, we expound fully two basic conceptions which, we contend, are implied in Marx's doctrine. According to him, "Human Nature" is distinct from "External Nature". Secondly, the "Nature" of man is distinct from his "Essence".
In order to substantiate the first contention, we submit Marx's doctrine on relations to a careful examination. We discover two main types, physical or immediate relations and species or mediated ones. The latter constitute the ultimate fabric of Marx's whole system -- the "material" or "substance" of what he habitually refers to as the "infra-structure". These relations, found only within the human species, are empirical in origin but Ideal or formal in nature. This fact leads us to the conclusion that, within his doctrine, Marx presupposes man to enjoy a measure of "freedom" from the "physis", a subjectively conscious existence vis-a-vis the natural environment. This subjective consciousness enables man to live a formal existence distinct from his physical existence. Further analysis shows that man's freedom and subjective consciousness express and realise themselves through the mediation of an Ideal Totality or Community. Man's formal or subjective existence, accordingly, is simultaneously, a Totality or Community existence. The Totality itself consists of an Ideal Hypostatization of man's productive and collective life.
The substantiate the distinction between the Nature and the Essence of man we continue our analysis of man's formal existence. Our study shows that Marx conceives of human existence as a dynamic relationship between three distinct "moments": 1)the individual himself with his "power" for subjective consciouness; 2)his formal existence in time and space and 3) the prevailing Ideal Totality or Community. This is the substance of what we refer to as man's "mediated existence". The relationship between the three "moments" follows the syllogistic formula P - U - I, where P stands for the particular Essence of the individual, for instance, as a "citizen", a "noble", a "bourgeois"; U stands for the prevailing Community, such as Ancient Classical, Feudal or Capitalist and I stands for human Nature epitomised by the individual person in his subjective existence. The individual (I) enjoys a particular formality (P) through the mediation of the Community (U). This Trinitarian formula, we argue, constitutes the metaphysical structure of Marx's whole system.
Our analysis helps up remove the ambiguity in which Marx couches his description of man as a "species-being". According to him, as far as Human Nature is concered, man was, is and remains a Species or Totality being. We regard this as a metaphysical presupposition regarding "Human Nature in general". As far as the Human Essence is concerned, man, as yet, is not a Species being. The historical Communities have, so far, been separatist, exclusive and inadequate in both a quantitative and a qualitative sense. The "principle" or "nexus rerum" holding people together has been "something" qualitatively different from the idealisation of man himself. This constitutes, in essence, Marx's doctrine on Alienation.
The rest of our work, occupying chapters four and five, deals mainly with the philosophical ramifications of the two-basic conceptions on Human Nature discussed earlier. The implications of the distinction between the Nature and the Essence of man are discussed in relation to Marx's doctrine on the Proletariat and the Bourgeois. We discover here a major inconsistency within Marx's analysis. In direct violation of his own doctrine, Marx treats an "ensemble of species-relations" as a totality of physical and immediate relations. To this extent, Marx institutionalises the proletariat and opens the way to a decadent "Marxism".
In the final chapter, we discuss the casual relationship between "man" and "nature" within the perspective of the vital distinction between the two. Marx implies the view that man has first to "colonise" external nature, the "physis" before he can relate to it actively and subjectively. This "colonization" consists in endowing the natural environment and "matter" with a "formality", an ideal dimension. Only in this way can man relate to nature as man and be influenced by it. We argue that Marx's dialectic applies only to the human species in its relationship to "external nature". Only man is capable of creating an Essence or Formaility, distinct from himself and subsequently negating it by means of its anti-thesis.
Our work emphasises the Ideal and Humanistic dimension of Marx's doctrine and the relevance of some of his major ideas to contemporary social problems.
Cuschieri, Anthony Mario, "The Philosophical Foundations of Marx's Conception of Man" (1979). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 665.