Dear Phil:

Thanks for pointing that out you talk. I will listen to it with great

Here is textual evidence of M&E's views in 1845, a decisive year in Marx's
development of his materialism and historical materialism.

In *Theses on Feuerbach *Marx (1845) writes: “ [T]he human essence is no
abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the
ensemble of the social relations.” He also distinguishes his own
materialist philosophy by privileging “social humanity”: “The standpoint of
the old materialism is civil society; the standpoint of the new is human
society, or social humanity.” (The tenth thesis). In *The German
Ideology *(1845),
Marx and Engels expand on these ideas: “This mode of production must not be
considered simply as being the production of the physical existence of the
individuals. Rather it is a definite form of activity of these individuals,
a definite form of expressing their life, a definite mode of life on their
part. As individuals express their life, so they are. What they are,
therefore, coincides with their production, both with what they produce and
with how they produce. The nature of individuals thus depends on the
material conditions determining their production.” (Marx and Engels, 1945)

This text is taken from my slightly expanded edition of the essay I shared
with you published in March in OPITW. The expanded edition was for
translation and publication in Farsi in Iran. Here a link to the Farsi

I am familiar with Norman Geras's book and recently republished an article
from Science and Society by
J. Struhl
(2016) that expands on Norman Geras's work.

But I am skeptical of them for two reasons. First, Marx changed his views
on human nature over time.  This is discussed in Mandel *The Formation of
the Economic Thought of Karl Marx (*1971) the last two chapters and in
detail in Mészáros, István. *Marx’s Theory of Alienation*. 1970 .

Second, as I argued in the essay, Marx's view of human nature remained
mostly philosophical anthropology and it could not have been otherwise.
Social and life sciences have yet to be developed to an extend to shed any
light on human nature aside from a philosophical one.

Third, as I argue in my essay and noted in my response to Jay (1) Marx and
Engels were quite aware and interested in other factors besides what they
consider in the formulation of their materialism and historical materialism
but they set them aside to focus of social classes and modes of
production.  When Morgan published his research, Engels wrote his The
Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884), thus
developing their theory of history in light of new findings that went
before the "written history" they knew about when they wrote The Manifesto
of the Communist Party (1848).

Finally, my interest in my essay is not to discuss the development of the
idea of human nature in Marx and Engels. It is rather to suggest that their
philosophical anthropology at the crucial time they wrote The German
Ideology (1845) and Theses on Feuerbach (1845) came to influence their
major work which from The Manifesto to Capital and that given 150 years of
accumulated knowledge about humans from various social and life sciences
requires us to revisit these and in my own case, formulate a new theory of
ecological socialism which is adverse to anthropocentrism and in fact

Of course, my theory which I have been developing in the course of the past
decade, is not complete or final. It is, I hope, a point of reference for
further critical thinking. If you read my essay carefully (I think at some
point you did suggest you would read and comment on an earlier essay "The
Crisis of Civilization and How to Resolve It: An Introduction to Ecocentric
2018) you will find, for example, that I am arguing of multiple agencies in
history while in Marx's theory humans are the agency.  How can we explain
that a virus has brought the capitalist civilization to its knee, something
Marxists always hoped the proletariat will do at some point.

Of course, if you find the time to read my essays, I would as always be
grateful for any critical comments. Our situation is to complex and too
urgent for any one or even a small subset of humanity to undertake and
resolve. The future of the world depends on out collective intellectual and
activist effort.

With warm regards,


On Tue, Jul 14, 2020 at 12:53 PM Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> "...human nature is the sum total of our social relations shaped by the
> prevailing mode of production."
> I think Norman Geras refuted the idea that this was Marx's view in his
> book *Marx and Human Nature* (Verso 1983).
> I gave a talk on capitalism, socialism, and human nature a few years ago.
> It certainly isn't the Marxist view, but it is a Marxist's view:
> On Tue, Jul 14, 2020 at 2:30 PM Mandi Smallhorne <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>> Dear Kamran and all,
>> I am not going to critique Sapolsky’s views, but you spark a memory.
>> I adore his Primate Memoirs. “I never intended to be a savannah baboon,”
>> it begins.
>> I share with him a deep love of baboons, and simply ate up this
>> wonderful, funny, moving and compassionate memoir of his many years
>> studying a baboon troop on the East African veldt. His comparison of
>> himself, as a gawky young researcher, a bit uncomfortable with girls, with
>> the young baboon Benjamin, whose hair was always untidy and wild and who
>> plainly yearned just to be near one of the coolest young females in the
>> troop, had me howling with laughter and smiling with affection and
>> recognition.
>> Primate Memoirs came out at least 15 years ago, maybe more, and he has
>> pointed out in subsequent videos and writing that the troop went on to
>> become a different, gentler group, for very interesting reasons. But when
>> the book closes, you fear it is the end of the troop: the baboons pick up
>> TB from a safari lodge’s dump, and he watches as one by one, many of the
>> characters he has loved, and followed for most of their lives, die.  “And
>> Benjamin… my Benjamin…” I have reread the book several times, and never
>> failed to feel tears well in my eyes when I read that.
>> *Mandi Smallhorne*
>> Freelance science journalist
>> *From:* Science for the People Discussion List <
>> [log in to unmask]> *On Behalf Of *Kamran Nayeri
>> *Sent:* 14 July 2020 03:01 AM
>> *To:* [log in to unmask]
>> *Subject:* Robert Sapolsky: Behave: The Biology of Human at Our Best and
>> Worst
>> Dear All:
>> I have been reading Behave and watching lectures and interviews by Robert
>> Sapolsky. He is a fascinating speaker and has obviously a depth of
>> knowledge in his field of study.
>> I wonder if anyone on this list is familiar with his work and has
>> opinions about it and can share any critique of the view of the biological
>> nature of humans.
>> Thank you.
>> Kamran
>> <> Virus-free.
>> <>
>> <#m_4126295440210484177_m_1033585720934256757_DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2>

Kamran Nayeri