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Does anyone have resources on Marx's theory of human nature (or 'species-essence' as he refers to it). I understand that he refers to human nature as the totality of social relations. But where does the labor part factor into it here, and is 'homo faber' an accurate term to describe it.

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  • I'm not sure Marx ever spelled out anything specific. He generally followed Locke, I think, but by Marx's time 'State of Nature' arguments were passé, and Marx was more interested in social relationships. The individual essentialism of the earlier era wouldn't have seemed important to him. Jul 17, 2022 at 3:44
  • @Ericleast992 I have no idea what Marx thought or said but the statement "human nature as the totality of social relations" strikes me as the equivalent of claiming that the nature of the CO₂ molecule is the totality of its chemical relations, which is clearly false. Jul 17, 2022 at 9:26
  • @Speakpigeon: I don't see why you assert that statement as 'clearly false'. Most everything important or useful about a given molecule has to do with its interactions with surrounding atoms, molecules, particles/waves, energy fields, or systems, We care about CO<sub>2</sub> because our bodies expel it, it reflects thermal radiation, it's part of the life cycle of plants, it's the end-product of certain kinds of combustion, it has a useful melting point, etc. A molecule of CO<sub>2</sub> in isolation is at best of pedantic, academic concern. Jul 17, 2022 at 14:15
  • @TedWrigley The nature of the CO₂ molecule goes beyond its chemical relations, at least this is what comes out of particle physics and quantum mechanics. 2. "Most everything important or useful about a given molecule (...)" Nature is what it is, not just what is important to us. What is important to us is only one part of its nature, maybe what you could call its macroscopic properties. 3. "A molecule of CO₂ in isolation" I didn't talk about the molecule of CO₂ in isolation. Jul 17, 2022 at 16:56
  • @Speakpigeon: I can't speak to metaphysical claims about things that exist beyond what we can observe. What I'm saying is that we only know about the properties of CO<sub>2</sub> because of its interactions with other particles, molecules, and fields, and most of those properties are interaction property. Reactivity, solubility, mass, boiling point, color, etc...: what are these except the properties of CO<sub>2</sub> when it interacts with the world around it? Jul 17, 2022 at 23:04

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