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InternationalJournalofPhilosophyStudy(IJPS)Volume1Issue1,April2013www.seipub.

org/ijps

ATentativeStudyontheViewofMarxist
PhilosophyofHumanNature
XieXiaorui
TheBasicTenetsofMarxismMajor,IdeologicalandPoliticalTheoryTeachingandResearchDepartment,
ChongqingJiaotongUniversity,China
ChongqingJiaotongUniversityGraduateDepartment,No.66UniversitiesAvenue,NananDistrict,Chongqing,
China400074
rui992281431@126.com

Abstract

Interpretation of Marx's View of Human


Nature

The subject of human nature has been explored by


philosophers of all ages. Unlike other philosophers, Marx
combinedpracticetoinspecthumannatureandscientifically
drew a conclusion that human nature whose core is life
activity from ones own initiative is the sum of all social
relations; and the final purpose as well as the fundamental
driving force to study it is to meet the ominidirectional
needs of human.The human characteristics are summarized
as the totality, hierarchy, practicalness. Marxs theory of
humannatureplaysanimportantroleinlearningthehistory
of the primary stage of socialism in the right way,
understanding the market economy in China and bringing
inspirationtotheconstructionofharmonioussociety.

Marx explained the specific content about human


naturefromthreelevelsinhisthreeimportantworks.
In Economic & Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, it said:
all of one kind, class attributes of the species on the
nature of life, and the class attribute is the free
conscious activity. Karl,H.M. 2000 In Theses On
Feuerbach it said: Feuerbach attributed the essence of
religion to human essence. However, inherent in
humannatureisnotasinglepersonofabstract,infact,
itisthesumofallsocialrelations.Karl,H.M.2006
InTheGermanIdeologyitsaid:Whattheyneedistheir
nature.Karl,H.M. & Frederick, E. 2003Actually,
the three aspects of Marxism on human nature is
organic unified as a whole. It can be simply
summarized as follows: the core of human nature is
the free vital movement and the fundamental
motivationandultimatepurposeismeetingtheentire
requirement of human. The manifestation of human
nature is the unify of social attribute and natural
attribute. Following is the explaination which covers
threeaspects:

Keywords
KarlMarx;ViewsonHumanity;Content;Characteristic;Modern
Inspiration

Introduction
What is human nature? At all times and in all
countries the thinkers and philosophers who having
beentryingtoreachaconsensusonthequestionthey
have debated for thousands of years. However, the
seniors, failing to be aware of the importance of
practice, studied human nature out of social practice,
whichleedstobeinglostintheabstractunderstanding
of human nature. As a tutor of the proletariat, Marx
have worked all his life for the emancipation of
mankindaswellasexploredhumannature.However,
unlike other philosophers, Marx combined the study
withpractice.Accordingtotheprinciplethathistroyis
createdbypractice,atthesametimeitisimprovedby
changing, he explored the subject of human nature
correctly,scientificallyandfully.

FreedomofConsciouslifeActivityisFundamentalto
HumanAttribute
In previous investigations of human nature, many
peopletookthefreeexpressiononprimitivedesireof
people,orasinglepersonalwayastheultimategoalof
human nature. This is a misunderstanding of human
nature. Philosophic Foundation of the studies of
Marxs human nature comes from the description of
labor. He explained the fundamental attribute of
humannaturebycomparinghumanwithanimallabor.
In his view, human production is free, conscious,

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intelligent, comprehensive, and free conscious life


activityisthefundamentalattributeofhumannature,
as well as fundamental characteristics to distinguish
humans from animals, which contrary to this
fundamentalattributeishumane.HereMarxhassaid
that freedom is not our general understanding of
individualfreedomwithsociety,buthumanfreedom
showing beyond all other animals, is the production
out of the immediate needs of the flesh and of the
human species to multiply the need for truly free
production.Oncelabourhaslostfreedom,thereisno
creativityanditisforcedandpainfullabor.

aggregation of each individual. Labour makes a


person become society people. Peoples labor is
reflected not only in their own physical strength, but
in their human nature. Human labor is social no
matterincontentorexistingmethodanditisakindof
socialactivity.Marxsaid:insociety,natureisthelink
among people; and only in society, nature is the
foundation of human existence. Therefore, human is
theunityofsocietyandnature.Karl,H.M.1995It
canbeseenthattheunifyofthenatureandsociatyis
themanifestationsofhumannature.
Analysis of the Characteristics of Marx's
View of Human Nature

Meeting the Omnidirectional Needs of People is the


Final Purpose of Human Nature and the
FundamentalDrivingForce

For the study of human nature, most western


philosophers hold the opinion innatism (also known
aspredestinationorfatalism)onhumannature.Marx
believesthathumannatureisthenatureofitself.Itis
the unity of natural attribute, social attribute and
spiritualattribute.Therefore,humannaturecannotbe
attributed to nature. The method which puts human
nature on social relationship ends the traditional way
forabstractunderstandingonhumannature.Itmakes
humanity realistic and comprehensible to achieve a
revolution on the view of human nature. Specifically,
Marxs view of human nature has the following
characteristics:

What do we live for? This issue was often brought


up without a satisfactory solution. In fact, it can be
franklyclaimedthatwelivetomeetdemandwhichis
a very important idea of Marxism. The reason for
naturespeciessexistenceistomeetdemand.However,
therearefundamentaldifferencesbetweenhumanand
animals.Firstofall,animalproductionisunconscious.
They just have a physiological satisfaction when
obtainning their foods. People are conscious, humans
should not only obtain material needs, but also the
spiritsatisfaction.Humanproductionistheactivityof
creating new lives. Secondly, animal production is
onesided,narrow,andonlyhappenedwhenrequired
bytherenewaloflifeandspecies.Humanproduction
is a kind of comprehensive activity . The purpose is
create a new world through social work to meet
humanrequirement.Humanrequirementsarevarious
and accelerated because human life activities are
comprehensiv. It can be said that meeting the omni
directional needs of people is the final purpose of
humannatureandthefundamentaldrivingforce.
Unify Nature and Social Attribute
ManifestationsofHumanNature

is

Generalizability
Plato believes that different people has different
nature and the development for everyone is the
complement of each kind of human nature. Partly
absorbed the Platonic view, Marx puts forward that
the essence of human nature is the sum of social
relationships and it actually contains two important
points: one, human nature is an overarching concept;
second, human nature can be realized only through
society. Marxs theory of total person is actually the
person who is fully socialized. The socialized human
nature is the sum of all personality. And when
personal needs amount to all requirements of
mankind,humannatureisfullyrealized.Sothelabor
which said by Marx is also like this. When each
individual can have labor skills and enjoy the
development fruits freely, and without the restriction
ofothernaturalsocialconditions,humanlaboristhe
realfreeconsciousactivity.

the

Marxbelievesthatpeoplehaveanaturalattributeand
socialattribute.Thenaturalattributeofhumanbeings
is the ability to change the nature. He considered
labour as medium between human and nature.He
believed that people changing nature as well as
themselves through labour. At the same time, people
alsohavetheirsocialattribute.Peoplecantexistinthe
worldasanindividual.Everypersonhasthecommon
nature of human being. And human beings are the

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InternationalJournalofPhilosophyStudy(IJPS)Volume1Issue1,April2013www.seipub.org/ijps

Hierarchy

The Enlightment of the Marx Humane View

In Marxs view, human nature has two levels: one is


general human nature, the second is the specific
human nature which showed in different historical
periods . We must firstly study the general nature of
someonebeforeweknowhim.Generallyspeaking,the
needsishumannature.Butwhatarethespecificneeds
and ways to meet these specific needs is determined
by peoples social and historical conditions. From the
secondlevelof human nature, thereisno sense if we
onlyknowgeneralhumannatureanddontknowthe
specific human nature. What is the people of every
generationlike?Itonlycanbefoundfromthesociety
which he lived in. Only in society can human nature
berevealed.Inreality,humannatureisalwaysspecific
and human cant live without social relations. Marx
always talks about human nature from the social
relationsanddailylifecycle.

Enlightenment of Marx Theory of Human Nature in


theEarlyStageofChineseSocialistConstruction
Socialist society fundamentally changes the
relationshipofpeoplesattachment,sopeoplebecome
the masters of themselves. Under the condition of
socialism,humandignitydoesnotrelyonthemoney,
background or rights,but the highest value of the
person and rely on the contribution he made for the
society. Therefore, the socialist society respects
persons dignity first and treats all people as people,
even if some are lawbreakers who need to be saved,
taught and makes him restore the human nature and
have the confidence of being a new good man. As
Comrade Mao Zedong said: To any criminal, we
should abolish the corporal punishment firmly, put
attention on evidence and not give credence to
confessions. We should not insult them, take away
theirpersonaleffectsortrytotreatthemsincerelyand
kindly. Mao Zedong. 2010However, in the early
years of New nation, we also passed through some
tortuous paths. Some national leaders gradually
deviated from the revolutionary humanitarian ideas,
which led to a onesidedness in the advertisement of
humanitarian,andthefewevilsdosomebadthings.
Afterward,
everything
which
refers
to
humanitarianism was treated as the bourgeois theory
ofhumannature.Historyindicatedthatonlywhenits
member fully enjoys the basic right and duty in this
society, can this society be full of vitality and
creativity.

Practicalness
Practicalness,thathumannatureisdevelopedwiththe
development of social practice. What Marx studied is
realistic person, so the human nature what he said is
alsothehumannatureofreality.Peopleareinvarious
socialactivities.Thechangesofproductionmodeand
relationswillinevitablyleadtothechangesofhuman
nature. Theres no changeless human nature which
applies to all ages. In this case, Marx always talks
about human nature from practice. He believes that
thedifferentlevelsofdevelopmentmakesthedifferent
humannature.Thustherearedifferentcharacteristics
andnature.Inthedevelopmentofacertainperiodof
history,manifestationsofhumannaturearedifferent.
For example, the relationship between egoism and
altruism, in primitive society and the future
communist society, altruistic is much more obvious
but the egoism is not obvious. So do the reason and
desire. In modern society, due to the unprecedented
development of the productive forces, it is often
manifested that desire overcomes the reason in many
cases. Man is the master of dsire but gradually
enslaved by desire. In this case, the crisis of modern
society is human crisis, and it is the selfdestruction
crisis result from human nature unlimited desires
expansion.Onlyinpracticeandthehumannaturecan
be coordinated with all aspects , can the crisis of
modernityberesolved.

Marx Theory of Human Nature in the Revelation of


ChinasSocialistMarketEconomy
Thesocialistreformisanewtopicintheinternational
communistmovement. We need toapply to the basic
principles of Marxism and start from the reality of
China to make exploration and creation. The
establishment of a socialist marketing economic
systemisChinassocialandeconomicinfrastructureas
wellasaoperatingmechanismofrecyclingcurrently.
People are the main body of the socialist market
economic system. Peoples quality directly affect the
statusoftheconstructionofsocialistmarketeconomy
anditisdirectlyrelatedtothemodernizationgoals.In
order to achieve the goal of socialist modernization,
we must study the Marxs theory of human nature
deeply, and correctly affirmed in the dominant

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position on the basis of the modernization drive, and


create a new generation who could meet the demand
ofthesocialistmodernization.

Generallyspeaking,Marxrespectsthevalueofperson.
He advocates human freedom and comprehensive
development and realization of human liberation. He
foundedtheMarxistscientifictheoryofhumannature.
Marxs theory of human nature associated with the
development of a country closely, and it is not only
has theoretical significance, but also be of great
importancetopracticalsignificance.

MarxHumanityRevelationoftheTheoryofBuilding
aHarmoniousSociety
In the practice of building a harmonious society,
Marxstheoryofhumannatureinspireusdeeplyand
profoundly. The following points have the practical
guidance significance: Firstly, labor is the essence of
humanbeing,onlythroughlaborcanthelifevaluebe
proved and realized, can the contribution for the
construction harmonious society be provided. Then,
anyone who likes ease and dislikes work is a crime
against humanity perfection and development.It even
will not only lead to the atrophy and loss of human
nature but also add factors of disharmony for society
andthemselves.Secondly,thenatureofhumanreality
isthesumofallsocialrelations.Practicalrelationship
determines the nature of the people. Going deep into
the social practice of the masses and learning are
practicing and promoting the nature of human. It is
the only way to get the perfection of personality,
personal success and happiness. And it is also the
direct practice of building a harmonious society.
Finally,sincetherichnessofpersonsneedistheproof
of humane progress development, people must be a
littleenergetic,andpursueahighlevelandlofty,keep
the body and mind harmonious. At present, the
important manifestation of peoples physical and
mental disharmony is psychotic disorders which in
the unprecedented increase. So far, depression is
becoming the worlds biggest killer, and the main
cause is peoples material expansion desires. In the
consumption society, the human nature theory of
Marxhelpsusdevelopahealthyconsumptionconcept,
andavoidbecomingtheslavesofdesire,leadingtothe
alienationofhumannature.Inbrief,Marxstheoryof
humannaturerevealsthemysteryofhumannature.It
hasrevealedthemysteryofhumannatureandbethe
guide of scientific development of the human nature
theory. Marxs view of human nature and its
development have directive significance for the
constructionofharmonioussocietydirectly.

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