This is a transcript of the her talk which is on Youtube. I used the automatically-generated transcript (so obviously be a bit careful – but it’s mostly good I think), and added screenshots of the slides from her presentation (which contain the full quotes). I just prefer to read, sorry^^
So today I’m going to talk about the concept of species-being, I’m going to think about this idea, the way that I think about a lot of things, namely through Hegel trying to understand what Marx means by species-being by thinking about what Hegel means by it. (…) I think there’s been an exciting recent revival of quite a number of Marxian concepts for critical theory, for thinking about social critique. For example, I’m thinking about the work of Charles Mills, of Tommy Shelby, of Nancy Fraser, Rahel Jaeggi, Robin Celikates, and Sally Haslanger. Marxian concepts that had sort of gone out of fashion are now sort of being discussed quite widely in philosophy again, concepts including alienation, ideology, and just broadly the idea of the critique of capitalism. And I think this is very exciting that these Marxian concepts are sort of being rethought and renewed. Within this context however, I think that the concept of species-being, and Marx’s understanding of our alienation from it, I think continues to sound at best outmoded and unhelpful. And at worst, this idea is in fact philosophically untenable, and maybe even politically conservative. I think there are generally two lines, two central lines of objection that are assumed to be decisive against all talk of human species-being, and especially within the context of critical theory. The first is that it relies on an ahistorical essentialism concerning human nature, and that this makes it ill suited for emancipatory social critique. The second is that anything we might be able to say at the level of human nature or philosophical anthropology, anything we might be able to say here is really far too indeterminate and ambivalent to be genuinely action-guiding, leaving us unable to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Today I’m really only gonna talk about, I’m gonna try to address the first objection. I’m not really going to say much about the second one, but in what follows, what I’m going to do is to sketch an outline of an approach to the idea of species-being and what Marx might mean by our alienation from it that begins to address then the first objection here. And I’m gonna suggest that I think without…When we use concepts like alienation in, I’m not gonna talk about ideology today, but I think this holds for a concept like ideology as well, that when we use concepts of alienation apart from the concept of species-being, that we lose a lot of the critical potential that wasn’t Marx’s original idea. So my orientation for this argument is to situate Hegel and Marx, and by extension, the tradition of critical theory within the context of what the philosopher Allen Wood has called a dialectical or historicized naturalism. I think the calling Marx a kind of dialectical materialist or naturalist, I think that’s not controversial. The reason I pick Wood here is that, Wood really wants to think of the commonalities between Hegel and Marx on this issue. And that’s why I find it particularly helpful. By historicized naturalism, I think Wood means the following: So on the side of naturalism, the ethical and social philosophies of Hegel and Marx should be understood as being, quote, “Founded on a conception of human nature that has implications for what human beings need, for what is good or bad for them, for what fulfills or actualizes them, and more broadly, for what conditions enable or distort their capacities for self-actualization.” And Wood compares this naturalism, Hegel and Marx’s naturalism, with the naturalism of Plato and Aristotle. I’m not gonna talk at all about Plato but I will say some things about Aristotle and Hegel’s Aristotelianism in particular. The naturalism that Wood ascribes to Hegel and Marx is dialectical and historical because it does not approach human nature as an eternal essence, fixed and unchanging for all time. Rather human nature is at once the process and the result of the self-determining activities of human beings, activities that are essentially social in character and whose processes continually change both the natural world that human beings inhabit as well as human beings themselves. And I think what is important for both Hegel and Marx, and this is a great quote here that we get from Marx just to try and elaborate on this idea of historicized naturalism, Marx writes that “Only naturalism is capable of grasping the act of world history.”
But I think what is important here for both Hegel and Marx is that the historical character of the human life-form does not change the fact that it exists as a life-form. And that like all life-forms, the objective evaluation of individuals and practices are life-form relative, at least that’s what I’m going to try to show. I’m gonna try to explain that idea. I think if we situate the idea of species-being and our alienation from it within the context of a dialectical or historicized naturalism, I think that that first objection concerning essentialism loses a lot of its force. Instead, I think what has opened up is a way of understanding the reasoning behind Marx’s invocation of human species-being in the first place. Namely, that it provides the only possible and actual context within which we can evaluate and critique capitalism as a human form of life.
So just a really rough outline here. What I’m gonna do is to, I’m gonna try to understand Marx’s suggestion that species-being provides an objective context for evaluation and critique. To do that, I’m going to outline this Hegelian-Marxian approach. I’m gonna talk about, basically, I’m going to say something about what Hegel thinks about this and why I think this is important for understanding what Marx thinks. I’m gonna talk about the issue of objectivity, then I’m gonna talk about the issue of logical form. Then I’m gonna talk about the issue of critique. And I know this is a seminar on “Capital.” When Paul invited me, I already, I immediately felt that, so I will say something about “Capital” at the end. But since the concept of species-being of course is more obvi…I think it’s more obviously prominent in the early work. I think I’m gonna try to make a case that it remains important, but I will only get to some remarks about “Capital” at the end. But I hope that what I say before that actually helps us understand “Capital” a little bit better.
So before jumping…Before getting to those, that outline, I wanted to just say something about Hegel on species. I think it’s pretty well known that Marx’s early use of this term is taken from Feuerbach, but less frequently discussed are the details of Hegel’s Aristotelian understanding of Gattung or species-concepts that I think form the main philosophical background of Marx’s discussion. As the earlier proponent of what Wood calls historicized naturalism, the idea that of something species or kind actually plays a central role in Hegel’s philosophy. And I think this is particularly the case in the “Phenomenology of Spirit” and also in the “Science of Logic.” In the “Phenomenology,” Hegel basically defines self-consciousness as inextricably bound up with species consciousness, such that self consciousness emerges in tandem with, and arguably in virtue of, the awareness of one’s own species life.
So I think this idea of species is important for understanding the idea of self-consciousness, but also Hegel’s definition of a spirit or Gaius. So here’s a passage where Hegel talks about self-consciousness as an awareness of species life. This is a passage that comes sort of at the end of a broader sort of wild discussion on life in the “Phenomenology.” But I think the important thing is that Hegel is basically trying to give us, develop the account of self-consciousness out of the account of life. So he says, “In this result, life points towards something other than itself, namely, towards consciousness, for which life exists as…”
Sorry, my screen has covered the rest of that quote there. Sorry about that. “That is, as species.” You can all see this. So this other life for which the species exists, as such exists and which is the species for itself, this idea of the species for itself is the important claim here pertaining to what Hegel means by self-consciousness. And this is namely self-consciousness. And I think this quote helps us understand what Hegel means by self-consciousness. But again, I think it’s important for understanding his definition of spirit as the I and as we and the we and as I, why is spirit the I and as we and the we as I, in part because grasping our species consciousness, understanding ourselves as part of a we, is important for understanding what Geist essentially is.
In the “Science of Logic,” so that’s in the “Phenomenology.” In the “Science of Logic,” developing an account of species-concepts is, and understanding their sort of what makes them special, is a guiding thread of the second and most important volume of the “Logic” known as the “Subjective Logic.” There, Hegel argues that the activity and forms of judgment are essentially bound up with the determination of the distinctive universality of Gattung concepts, which provide an objective context for the identification and evaluation of individuals. So the concept of species basically plays, I think, a central role in two of Hegel’s most important philosophical contributions, his theory of self consciousness and spirit, but also in his theory of judgment and truth.
For our purposes here, I’m gonna start by talking about the issue of objectivity. And I think the way that Hegel treats this problem of objectivity is very helpful for understanding how Marx understands the issue of objectivity. So Hegel refers to something’s genus, species, or kind, he calls this an objective universality, and he contrasts this conception with two competing notions. So first, the idea of universality as an abstraction from particularity, and second, the idea of universality as a quantitative sum or totality. The concept of species is neither the result of an abstraction from individual instances of a kind, nor is it simply the result of adding up all of the individual instances of a kind to arrive at a universal summation or a totality. Rather, Hegel claims that the concept of species is a concrete universality in so far as it provides the necessary condition for the objective existence of an individual that belongs to it. So to use the most obvious, the most important example for our discussion, the species-concept human, or human species-being, what we need to understand then is that this is not, we don’t wanna take this in terms of an idealization that we arrive at simply by abstracting from particular human beings, nor is it the sum total of human beings that presently exist, or that have ever existed, rather human species-being is a necessary condition for the objective existence of individual human beings.
So in the “Logic,” Hegel puts this point by trying to generate conditional statements from species-concepts. So for example, these are just a couple of examples that we see in the text. He says, okay, Gaius is a human, what do we mean if we try to extrapolate the meaning of that? What we mean when we say Gaius is a human, is that if Gaius exists, then he is human. And then we could, here’s another example, the rose is a plant. What do we mean when we say the rose is a plant? We mean that if the rose is, then it is a plant. And the relation here in this case between the individual and its species-concept, is one of necessity. This is what Hegel stresses. And this relation of necessity essentially stems from the power of the species-concept. So being human is a necessary condition for Gaius to exist as what he is such that Gaius could not be an objective existence without being human.
So the idea that objectivity is necessarily tied to species-concepts, I think this is of utmost importance for understanding Marx’s characterization of the human being as a natural, living, real, and objective being. So in the “1844 Manuscripts,” Marx describes the social being, gesellschaftliche Wesen, species-life, Gattungsleben, and species-being, Gattungswesen, all in terms that are nearly identical to Hegel’s understanding of species-concepts.
So here is a passage where Marx is speaking of the relation between an individual and the species. So Marx writes that “society is not a fixed abstraction opposed to the individual. The individual is the social being. Therefore, even when the manifestation of his life does not take the form of a social manifestation performed in the company of others, it is still a manifestation and confirmation of social life. The individual and the species-life of human being are not different.”
So what is Marx saying here? He’s saying that species-life, so in the same manner that Hegel talks about the objective universal, species-life is not an abstraction from individual life, nor is it simply the aggregate of discreet individuals belonging to the species, rather Marx claims that the individual is the social being. I think we can now see that this identity claim is much more complex than it initially appears. For what Marx is saying is that if the individual is an objective being, then the individual is necessarily a social being such that species-life is a necessary condition for individual life. I think this is why Marx also says in this passage that the individual is a social being, even when one is not literally acting with others or even when we’re acting alone. I think even in such cases, species-life is going to be objectively manifest in our individual activity and remains a necessary condition of that activity. The key here is that species-being functions as a necessary and objective context within which individuals and their activities can be determined as something objective in turn. Now, the idea that objectivity is essentially tied to species-concepts, I think this is a particular importance if alienation is to be understood as an objective condition and not merely as a subjective feeling. There’s always a difficulty here in terms of interpreting the idea of alienation, not just as a subjective feeling. I think Marx’s point is that, if alienation is indeed an objective condition, this condition can only be understood as objective within the context of human species-being and its activity of laboring, producing, and consuming. Absent that objective context, alienation indeed remains a mere subjective feeling. And it would be an insufficient one from which to launch a critique of society, a critique of capitalism as a whole.
So, the second feature of Hegel’s approach to species that I think is important for understanding Marx, concerns their distinctive logical form. So here we’re gonna get deep into, a little bit deeper into the logic here. (laughs) In his discussion of species, of the species as an objective universal, Hegel suggests that judgments involving Gattung-concepts as predicates function differently from other kinds of judgements. So one distinguishing feature of these species-concepts I already mentioned just now, namely that they stand in a relation of necessity to their subjects, this necessary relation between subject and predicate, in the case of Gaius is human, is revealed in the conditional statement, “if Gaius exists, then he is human.” But of course, Hegel notes that you can’t really do this with all predicates. So we would obviously be wrong to move from Gaius is brown-haired to the conditional statement that if Gaius exists, then he has brown hair. And I think Hegel points this out to try to get us to seet hat there was something special about the Gattung-concept. When you elaborate on this relationship between subject and predicate, in the case of a species-concept, he writes that the predicate is, quote, “the immanent nature of the subject” and that the necessity in question constitutes the substantial identity of subject and predicate. In emphasizing this necessary relation implied by Gattung-concepts, I think the logical point is that such concepts imply relations of ground and consequence, or condition and condition.
Hegel also points to a second distinguishing feature of judgments involving species-concepts, namely that they are logically unquantifiable. And I won’t read this whole passage here, but this is a passage where Hegel transitions to making this claim. Again, he refers to the idea of the Gattung as the inner nature of the subject. What belongs to all the individuals of the Gattung belongs to the Gattung by nature. The key line is this last sentence here where he says that, the subject, all humans, it sheds its form determination or Formbestimmung and the human being is what we should say instead. So that’s just the key passage where I think Hegel makes this claim. But of course, this peculiarity of life-form judgments has also been noted by contemporary ethical naturalists, like Michael Thompson and Philippa Foot, and who both of them have argued for a conception of natural normativity on the basis of this logical form.
So Thompson calls this natural historical, calls this kind of judgment a natural-historical judgment. I think the idea of natural history is obviously very important for Marx, it’s very important in “Capital.” Marx begins in the preface of the first edition of “Capital”by saying that “My standpoint from which the development of the economic formation of society is viewed as a process of natural history…” And the idea of natural history recurs in different places in “Capital.” So the idea of the natural-historical judgment, going back to Thompson here, Thompson identifies the form of this judgment in general, as “S’s are, have or do F.” So for example, rabbits are herbivores. The domestic cat has four legs. The yellow finch breeds in the Spring. For Hegel, Thompson, and Foot, the important logical point is that a judgment such as rabbits are herbivores is not equivalent to either this rabbit is a herbivore, some rabbits are herbivores, most rabbits are herbivores, or even all rabbits are herbivores. Instead, what such judgments describe are a, quote, and here I’m quoting Foot, “A natural history account of the life of a particular kind of living thing.” That is, being a herbivore tells us something essential about the life activities and life cycle of rabbits. In a friendly corrective to Thompson that I think is actuallyvery much in line with Hegel’s view, Foot elaborates further on the idea of a natural history. And she writes, I’m quoting her here, “What distinguishes an Aristotelian categorical, a natural historical judgment, from a mere statistical proposition about some or most or all the members of a kind of living thing is that it relates to the teleology of the species.” So in other words, life-form judgments involving non quantifiable species-concepts describe features relating to the necessary aims and ends of the species. The necessary aims and ends pursued by individuals of the species insofar as they are objective beings.
So unsurprisingly, I think this distinctive logical form of judgments involving species-concepts has important consequences for how we understand Marx’s statements concerning humans species-being. So first and foremost, these judgements again, they refer to relations of necessity. So now in Marx’s case, it’s going to refer to what human beings necessarily are. So for example, they are living, natural, needy beings, to what human beings necessarily have, for example, capacities for sensibility, for feeling, self-consciousness, action, and thought, and to what human beings necessarily do. For example, they labor, produce, and consume in social relationships and in relation to an objective, natural world. Second, these judgments are logically unquantifiable, such that the universality of human species-being in question is not equivalent to statements concerning all human beings. So instead, what I think human species-being refers to, is the natural history of the life-form human, a natural history that can not be elaborated or grasped without referring to the necessary aims and ends of the species in question. I think that it’s also important to see that these are irreducibly qualitative descriptions. I think this is also an important point that I’ll try to come back to when we get to “Capital.” That what Hegel and Foot and Thompson have identified as distinctive about these logical forms is that they’re irreducibly qualitative descriptions. So going back to the case of rabbits, the determination that they’re herbivores helps us to make sense of their life activities, their social relationships, their overall life cycle. In short, it tells us something about what rabbits need for self-maintenance, reproduction, and flourishing.
In the case of human beings, so here are some characteristic statements from Marx. These are famous passages, but I hope that this idea of species-being is now coming into view in a different way. So Marx writes, “The human being is a species-being not only in that practically and theoretically he makes both his own and other species into his objects, but also, and this is only another way of putting the same thing, he relates to himself as to the present, living species, in that he relates to himself as a universal and therefore free being.”And a little bit further on, he says, “But productive life is species-life, it is life producing life. The whole character of a species, its species character, is contained in its manner of life-activity, and free conscious activity is the species-characteristic of human beings.”
So in these well-known passages, Marx tells us that judgments concerning the character of the species essentially consist in describing their manner of life-activity, the collection of which would constitute the natural history of the species. Regarding human species, the manner of its life activity is a famously self-conscious action and thought, and a natural historical judgment about our own life-form, might read human beings produced self-consciously. Since this judgment is meant to tell us something essential about the life activities and life cycle of human beings, speaking to our necessary aims and ends, Marx elaborates by claiming that self-conscious activity consists in grasping our own species, character, and the species character of other things, such that they can become objects of our activity. And I think this is really important that the notion of species-being, of course, it refers to human species-being, but I think it’s precisely important because it also speaks to this very important capacity of human beings to use, to apprehend, to grasp and to use species concepts in the appropriate way. I think most importantly, self-consciousness for Marx is going to suggest that our life activity has freedom as one of its necessary ends. So that just finding appropriate plants to eat is necessary for the survival and flourishing of rabbits, free activity in which we come to grasp ourselves and others objects qua species-concepts is necessary for the survival and flourishing of human beings.
So coming down to this third issue of critique, how then should we understand Marx’s claim that human labor is alienated under conditions of capitalist production? This is clearly a critical claim. And how does this critical judgment fit alongside the natural historical judgment that humans produce self-consciously? This brings us to the third feature of Hegel’s approach to species that I think is important for understanding Marx’s appeal to species-being, namely that life-form judgements which involve the employment of species concepts, provide an objective context for the evaluation and critique of individual cases. So in the “Logic,” Hegel argues that it is only on the basis of judgments involving species concepts, and he calls these judgements of necessity. It’s only on the basis of these kinds of judgments that we can make evaluative judgments at all. And he calls these evaluative judgments, judgements of the concept. So that is to say, evaluative judgments where we ascribe predicates such as good, bad, true, beautiful, correct, right, or suitable. So this is just a list. This is Hegel’s list, but surely it’s obviously not exhaustive, but this is, I think, a helpful list that Hegel gives us. That in ascribing these kinds of predicates, when we ascribe these predicates to an individual subject, this presupposes judgments concerning the relevant species to which the individual belongs as their objective normative basis.
So Foot makes a similar point suggesting that the evaluation of an individual living things, quote,”Is possible where there is an intersection”of two types of propositions: On the one hand, Aristotelian categoricals, life-form descriptions relating to the species, and on the other hand, propositions about individuals that are the subject of evaluation.”
I think the, so the overall thesis here is that judgements ascribing an evaluative predicate to an individual subject are possible only on the basis of judgments concerning the species to which the subject belongs. To make explicit the way in which evaluative judgments presuppose judgments concerning the life-form of the subject, Hegel presents, so this is Hegel’s version of the general form of an evaluative judgment. He calls this an apodictic judgment of the concept. That’s very clunky. (laughs) But that is the sort of technical name that he gives to it. And he essentially says that when we make an evaluative judgment, it takes this general form:”So the x constituted so and so is good, bad, et cetera.” And here, the idea of something’s constitution, the term he uses is “Beschaffenheit” is meant to convey the necessary relation between an individual thing and its kind where the character of its particular constitution becomes meaningful only in connection with the relevant species-concept. And here he goes, sort of has some interesting language about how the constitution of actuality is broken in this way into the subjective context of the species and of course the constitution of particular individuals, and that this brokenness is what gives us the distinction between the is and the art [???]. But the point for Hegel then is that, what the objective context of the species basically provides, are the grounds for assessing the particular constitution of individual members. Grounds that allow us to evaluate those individual cases according to the standard of its own life-form.
So I wanna now combine, just gather up these three features of Hegel’s approach to species-concepts that I’ve identified as crucial for Marx’s account concerning objectivity, concerning logical form, and concerning this issue of critique. I wanna draw two preliminary conclusions here about the idea of alienation from species-being and what it might mean. The first is that this negative evaluative judgment, this all important negative evaluative judgment that clearly runs across all of Marx’s work, namely that labor under the capitalist mode of production is a condition of alienation, a condition…If we wanna extrapolate, it’s a condition of unfreedom, it’s a condition of degradation, it’s a condition of dehumanization. Putting it in the form of Hegel’s judgment, labor constituted in this way is clearly bad. This judgment is only possible on the basis of another set of judgments, namely the evolving set of natural historical judgments concerning the human life-form.
If we gather up Marx’s scattered remarks about human species-being, a non-exhaustive list, and I wanna emphasize that this is definitely not exhaustive, it’s also evolving. An evolving non-exhaustive list of these judgments might look something like this. So human beings are natural and social beings, human beings produce and consume, human beings labor by means of interactions and exchanges with nature or the sensuous external world, what he comes to later call metabolism is really important concept, I think in “Capital.” Human beings engage in labor to reproduce life, but not only to reproduce life, we also labor as part of acts of self-expression and self-affirmation. This one that human beings produce self-consciously we’ve already seen. I wanna stress the importance of this next one again, that human beings have a capacity for theoretical and practical activity on the basis of species-concepts. So there’s a reflexivity here concerning our use and sort of application of species-concepts, both of course our own self-conceptions, our own species-concept, but also the species-concept of other things. Human beings organize labor according to social relationships and social practices. And this last one, human beings labor and produce by means of the creation and use of tools.
According to the view that I’m trying to defend here, I think Marx’s evaluation that human labor is alienated under conditions of capitalist production, is an object… This can be an objective evaluation. This can only be grasped as an objective evaluation in interaction with this evolving set of natural historical judgments concerning the human life-form. Thus, although, so in that famous, very, very, very widely read section on alienated labor, from the “Manuscripts” were Marx outlines what looked like four exemplary cases of alienation from the perspective of the worker who sells their labor for wages. I think it’s in fact more accurate to say that all of these forms of alienation and in fact, all forms of alienation in general, are going to be alienation from species-being in the sense that judgements about alienated labor are objective and meaningful only in connection with judgments about the human life-form. So just to take one example, alienation from fellow human beings or fellow workers, this is only going to be a source of degradation, if social cooperation is an objective and necessary condition of human flourishing, Marx’s model of critique then is fully immanent. And of course, immanent critique is a really huge topic for critical theorists. I think, in fact, on a view defended here, I think all critique and evaluation, Hegel and Marx give us a way of thinking about all critique and evaluation as something immanent since the standard of critique is of course nothing but the human life-form itself. And I wanna stress again here that the evolving set of natural historical judgments, they do not have the status of fixed, eternal, or a priori truths. Rather, and recalling their distinctive logical form, they describe what is necessary for the existence and flourishing of real individual human beings under material and historical conditions, and now quoting Marx, “both those which they find already existing and those produced by their own activity.”
So the second conclusion I wanna draw concerns the distinctive badness of alienation in contrast to the forms of natural defect that are described by Thompson and Foot. So I’m taking this example here from Foot. If deer are animals whose form of defense is flight, then slowness in an individual deer could be evaluated”as a natural defect or weakness. However, of course it would be odd for us to say that a deer is alienated from its life-form in virtue of being slow. And here, I think the category of natural defect seems to capture the phenomenon adequately. Take another example, if a meteor hits and I am forced to live in isolated solitary existence due to catastrophic conditions, it would also not be quite accurate to describe this as an instance of alienation either. Even if we agree that of course social interaction with other human beings is a requirement for human flourishing. I think what this suggests is that in referring to working conditions under capitalism as alienating, Marx is not making a claim about natural defect. And neither should alienation be understood simply as deviation from human species-being. I think instead, the distinctive badness of alienation, appears to be connected with a species characteristic of human beings that is continually pointed out by Marx, namely that its activities are self-consciously directed. So the badness of alienation you could say is something that arises only under conditions where there’s also something like self-conscious activity. So it’s a distinctive kind of badness.
I think, so Marx describes the conditions of workers as alienating, not because those conditions simply just deviate from an abstract ideal of how human activity ought to be, but instead because of two distinctive features about the human form of life. First, that the conditions of labor are themselves a product of conscious human activity, and second, because human beings have an awareness concerning the very form of their activity as self-consciously directed. So alienation then is a distinctive kind of badness that arises in connection with free activity where free activity is a necessary aim, purpose, or goal for a flourishing human. The introduction, I think I wanna note here that the introduction of freedom and self-consciousness however, doesn’t entail that the critique of alienation can in any way swing free of judgments concerning human species-being. On the contrary, I think the distinctive character of human freedom consists in large part in our ability to employ species concepts in a self-conscious manner.
So here is a passage where Marx states this, he says that “human beings know how to produce according to the measure or mass of every species and knows everywhere how to apply its inherent standard to the object; thus the human also fashions things according to the laws of beauty.” I think there’s lots of interesting things to say here about the connection between beauty and species-concepts. Lots of interesting things to think about here also in connection with how species concepts play a role in Hegel’s aesthetics. But we put that, I don’t wanna get distracted here. I’ll put that aside. But essentially here, what Marx is saying is that, our freedom consists in grasping species-concepts, including our own, as an inherent criteria in our standard, understanding their logical form and freely directing our theoretical and practical activity on the basis of such of such criteria. The key is that I think there’s nothing in Hegel or Marx to suggest that the fundamental grammar of our critical evaluative judgments changes when the life-form in question is the human one. That’s self-consciousness, that our consciousness concerning our existence as a species does not mean that our self evaluations can somehow ever be species independent. Indeed, I think they both suggest the opposite, that without the human life-form, as a criterion, our critical evaluative judgements concerning ethical life have no objective basis or standard at all.
So just to conclude here, I am now going to, I wanna say a couple of things about “Capital.” I’m sure it’ll be way too quick, but I wanna think abouthow species-being continues to play a role in “Capital.” And one thing that, of course, Marx does continue to spea…The first thing I guess to notice is just that Marx of course, does continue to speak of alienation. In “Capital” in the appendix, he says that we are confronted by the alienation of man from his own labor. I think the sort of first issue that I would emphasize in reading “Capital,” is that the question of labor and labor power is always for Marx about human labor. Now I, that can seem maybe obvious or just something, maybe it can seem trite, but I’m gonna try to show why it’s actually, it lends us a lot of content. It’s very important to emphasize that this is human labor. And then he so he says here, and I’m quoting, “We presuppose labor in a form”in which it is an exclusively human characteristic.” He continues to, like in the early work, he continues to emphasize the nature of human labor. A self-conscious activity with the famous passage about the spiders and the bees, that we build the cell in our minds before carrying it out. He describes labor also as purposeful activity. And I think this is also important thinking, this is another Hegelian moment here. Hegel in the preface of the “Phenomenology” says that reason is purposeful activity. And so of course Marx’s materialist rendering of this is to think about labor as a form of purposeful activity. In “Capital” in elaborating sort of the distinctive features of what human labor looks like, Marx also says, labor, I quote,”is a process between a human being and nature, a process by which human beings through their own actions, mediate, regulate, and control the metabolism between themselves and nature.” And I think through this more developed concept of metabolism, we also get the idea that the way that human labor realizes its purposes, the way that in which it is a purposeful activity, it’s going to be delimited in certain kinds of ways. And that these form natural limits to the way in which human labor can be actualized, that there are, as Marx says, natural conditions for human life. The distinction between… And so once we get this idea that human labor has to be naturally delimited in certain kinds of ways, we can begin to see why species-being is still so important for understanding the sort of limitedness on the one hand of human purpose of activity and the unlimitedness of the accumulation of capital on the other. I think this is this distinction between limitedness and unlimitedness, has, in part has its source in a distinction that Aristotle draws in the Politics when he’s talking about the art of acquisition. And these are just a couple of passages here. Aristotle says that, “For the amount of property which is needed for a good life is not unlimited… There is a boundary fixed, just as there is in the other arts.” And then referring to this other form of acquisition for Aristotle based on exchange, he says, “But there is another variety of the art of acquisition which is commonly and rightly called “the art of wealth-getting” that, quote, “has no limit of the end.” The end here refers to telos. So our understanding limitedness and of course, understanding our natural limits is connected with understanding our purpose or our telos, where this end is always the limit. So that’s, I think it’s helpful to think about this distinction as being at least in part derived from the way that Aristotle thinks about these things. And of course, Marx says that what capital tries to do, he says, “Capital oversteps not only the moral, but even the merely physical limits of the working day.”
So the second issue that I think continues to be important, how does species-being continue to play a role in capital? And I think we can think about the way in which that there’s an irreducibly qualitative character of human activity, of human ends, of nature, and our relationship to it, that there is a qualitative character of life and species-being that really plays an important role in a lot of the central concepts that we get in “Capital.” Going back to this idea of natural history. So this is a passage where Marx is speaking about the categorical distinction between owners of money or commodities and owners of nothing but their own labor power. Marx says that these relationships are neither natural historical, I think the translation has it that they are, they don’t have a natural historical basis, nor are they properly socially, and this passage is interesting because I think he’s saying, they’re not, of course capitalist relations are social, they’re not social in a true sense, where so being social in the true sense has to be connected to the idea of natural history. I think that the association here of what is properly natural historical, and also what is properly social, is important. The relationships in saying that they are not based in natural history, he’s suggesting that the relationships in categories of capitalism distorts the essentially qualitative determination of human activity and purposes. And of course we see this in the opening distinction that Marx draws between use value and exchange value. Use value of course, is a qualitative form, conditioned, he says, by the physical body of the commodity. Exchange value, and I think conditioned by the physical body of the commodity, again, speaks to the idea of natural limitedness. That the qualitative character of use value requires that we think about the natural limitedness in connection with the physical body of the commodity in question. Exchange value being of course in essentially quantitative form, is contingent relative. And Marx says that the idea that there can be an “inner” or “immanent” determination of a commodity in quantitative terms, is in fact, he says, “that’s a contradiction in terms.” There’s no such thing as an intrinsic or inner or immanent exchange value.
This difference between the qualitative and quantitative determinations is crucial because I think the distinction between concrete and abstract labor sort of grows out of this initial distinction that Marx makes. So he writes, “With the disappearance of the useful character of the products of labor, the useful character of the kinds of labor embodied in them also disappears. This in turn entails the disappearance of the different concrete forms of labor. They can no longer be distinguished, but are all together reduced to the same kind of labor, human labor in the abstract.” I think what Marx is suggesting here is, concrete labor is connected with, it has to be something useful. It’s labor, precisely as purposeful activity. It has a qualitative character, an irreducibly qualitative character that is tied to a physical body. And in the case of labor, in the case of when we’re thinking about labor as a commodity, we need to think about not just the physical body of the commodity, not just consider this in terms of Korperlichkeitbut in terms of Leiblichkeit. Marx talks about, so the distinction between something like a physical body and a lived embodiment that determines the shape of the purposeful activity in question, and this distinction between Korper and Leib was very important in German philosophical anthropology. It shows up in Victor, it shows up in Hegel. And it’s very important also in the philosophical anthropology of Plus Nour. But essentially I think the way that species-being continues to play this role in “Capital” is that the concrete is tied to the qualitative determination of species-life as an objective universal context. So the distinction, whereas the context of the species gives us a concrete form of objectivity and a concrete form of activity, the abstract quantitative determination gives us only a phantom-like or a spectral objectivity. It doesn’t give us sort of the object, the kind of objective universal that we got in that Hegelian sense that I laid out. Abstract labor instead they are, he says, congealed quantities. They are homogenous. It’s human labor power expended without regard to the form of its expenditure, i.e., without regard for labor as living, as a living purposive a form of activity within the objective context of the species.
So this is my last slide here. Basically what I’ve tried to show is that a species-being species-life, this is the normative background against which the critique of labor power as the key to the critique of political economy can take place. Species-being gives, it determines the form of human labor and its relation to nature as something objective, as opposed to a spectral objectivity. Species-being determines the form of human labor as something concrete, as having an irreducibly qualitative character, that human purposiveness and natural purposiveness, these things have an irreducibly qualitative character determined by species-concepts. And finally, species-being gives us the necessary context of evaluation and critique that the critique of capitalism as a dehumanizing form of life can only take place within the context of human species-being. It is only with the concept of species-being that we can think about the critique of the capitalist form of life as a form of life. Thank you.
– Thank you so much. That’s terrific. Everyone is applauding. You can see them, you can’t hear them, but it would be a moment to mark our gratitude if we were all together. Okay. We’re gonna open up the floor for questions. We’ll ask you to put your questions in the chat. I will lead off with a question if that’s okay with you, Karen. I have so many, and it’s such a strong presentation. I appreciate hearing those Hegelian background noises in “Capital” because I hadn’t heard them at all before. There are mentions of reflectivity, self-reflection in the book, but the idea that it’s tied up with the Gattung concept is really helpful for thinking it, for thinking what the critique is doing. So let’s see, I have a couple of questions. Well, first a comment. One is, there’s another ground for critique in Capital, and that is something he says over and over that Capital is, the Capital system is self-contradictory. It says it’s paying for what it takes, but it takes much more than it’s paying for. And this is a, it’s another critique I think of a totally different order that’s coming in there. So I wanted to mention that I don’t know how that would fit with this, cause that’s not normative in the sense that you’re saying. It’s not normative. It’s not a question of self-definition either. It’s a different kind of contradiction. So that’s one proposal I make that he’s actually moving more towards that in Capital. And here’s another challenge. I wonder if the the form of species-being is enough to guarantee that the judgment that capitalism is bad or that x social form is good is enough because here’s a counter example from a memory of talking to a friend, who’s a hedge fund manager who thinks he’s doing really good and he thinks he’s doing what he’s doing for the good of everybody, putting liquidity into the market. How does that fit with this? Who knows what their Gattungswesen is, how can you say what the content of that is?
– Great comments and questions. The first point about contradiction.I think I wouldn’t disagree that contradiction and also crisis, that this plays an important role in thinking and maybe offering us a different model of the critique of Capitalism. And I think maybe the first initial thing I would say is that we can take that on, but I think contradiction on its own is not going to be sufficiently normative as a ground. For one thing we know that we can, and Hegel thinks this too, we’re quite good at living with contradiction, arguably both on an individual and on a societal level. And so it’s not clear that contradiction is going to be sufficient. Capitalism is incredibly good at so even, you didn’t mention crisis, but we can add crisis to it. Capitalism is incredibly good at sort of re-appropriating and sort of rebuilding itself precisely out of a crisis. And so I still think that at the end of the day, we’re gonna need a bit more, I don’t want to deny that contradiction is helpful in thinking about Marx’s critique of capitalism, but I don’t think it’s going to be enough to get this sort of full scale critique off the ground. The point about is species-being enough? So I didn’t, there’s always so much more to say. I didn’t get into a lot of the claims that I, a lot of the natural historical judgments, so that I pulled from Marx had to do with just sort of basic fundamental features that he thinks are, that delimit the shape of our laboring activity. But I think there are also, to give that more content, I think there are also a lot of sort of negative judgments that come up that, that the species concept is also going to gain, and again, I think about everything in Hegelian terms, so determination, for something to gain determinacy, negation, negation, determination is negation. And so the species concept doesn’t only have content, or isn’t only determined through so that again, that evolving non-exhaustive list, and you can add to that all kinds of things. That’s not the only way it has content. The species concept also gains content through sort of these negative judgements. And I think Marx especially, as he goes on, so he’s focusing on, well, what de-humanizes workers? And I think this is another way in which the concept of alienation is so important. It’s a negative natural-historical judgment that gives us, that points us towards something more that allows us to grow the species-concept, that allows it to gain more content. That’s something I didn’t talk about, but I think that is a part of the storythat I would like to develop as I continue to think about this.
– Thanks. I think we’ll go to the chat for some questions. And we’ll begin with a question from Hekki.Could we open up Hekki’s mic?
– Good. Good.
– Hi Hekki, how are you.
– Great all.
– Yeah. I’ll just ask you a question concerning freedom as I wrote that in the chat. So I wonder what you think about that. I mean, at one point, you were suggesting those saying that for Marx’s, our life activity has freedom as one of its
military ends.And then you did talk about three of them within connection to alienation or estrangement. Now, in the introduction of the “Phenomenology of Spirit” in Hegel’s in that the freedom in the sense of concrete freedom, that’s a long story, but that would mean, that is the essence. That is the telos of human beings. So I wonder if you, what are your thoughts are, whether there’s a substantial difference between Marx and Hegel on the role and perhaps the meaning of freedom, or whether that’s rather a matter of difference in formulations or perspectives, any thoughts you might have on them?
– So I have two thoughts there. I think on the one hand, I think there’s a lot of continuity. So the emphasis on freedom, and I think, again, I think here Marx is just continuing kind of from concept German idealism, that the importance of freedom, I think they share that. It’s absolutely clear in passages. So I quoted the passage about free activity. There’s also those really famous passages about the free development of each as the free development of all. So it’s clear that freedom is going to be a necessary aim for human beings. And I think he fundamentally, I think he thinks about this in a fundamentally Hegelian way. He also thinks, so to give that a little bit more detail, it’s fundamentally Hegelian also in that so of course, Hegel thinks that freedom is not just subjective, but also it’s something manifested objective spirit. And that the whole idea that freedom is something objective, is it that’s what gets, that’s why the critique of capitalism is so important for determining something like a truly objective sense of freedom, precisely because freedom is not just something subjective, but manifest and realized to varying degrees in objective spirit or in actual social political institutions. And so the, yeah, and that’s also why, I guess the critique of Hegel’s philosophy of right was so important for Marx’s early works. The second thing that I thought of when you asked your question was of course, Hegel defines freedom as being at home in the world with and other, you can translate that in different ways, and of course the opposite of that would be something like alienation. That the very idea of alienation, I think, is defined in precisely as a contrast to this idea of freedom as being at home in the world. The institutions of capitalism makes it such that we fundamentally do not feel at home in the world, and I think that’s another way in which there is an important connection between how Hegel thinks about freedom as a fundamental end of human beings or of Geist and how Marx thinks of it. That the very formulation of alienation I think can only be fully understood in contrast to Hegel’s definition of freedom.
– Okay. We have a question from Simon Toracinta and Simon says some of it might have been answered already, but I’ll read it anyway. And you can pick what you want to respond to. This is in the chat, to what extent is Marx’s delineation in “Capital” volume three of the realm of freedom and the realm of necessity informed by his earlier concept of species-being, and if species-being as you’ve outlined it as significant, how might that help us understand Marx’s conception of freedom and his understanding of human flourishing?
– Great question. So in, again, in good German idealist fashion, of course, the realm of freedom and the realm of necessity, but we wanna overcome this dichotomy between something like the realm of freedom and the realm of necessity. One thing I don’t think… One way I think we shouldn’t read that very important passage is to think that, the realm of necessity somehow belongs to nature and the realm of freedom belongs exclusively to self-conscious activity or self-consciously directed activities and labor and so on and so forth. So that’s how I wouldn’t wanna read that distinction. I think it’s important to, so there’s a really technical answer I can give about the way that Hegel models his sort of notoriously, when he talks about the concept. And I think when he talks about the, in the “Logic,” he says, with the concept, we reach the realm of freedom. I think the idea of the concept is also developed, modeled on the idea of species. That’s a really technical thing that we could talk about, but less technically, I think maybe going back to this relationship to nature that we see in metabolism, that, so since I don’t want to say that the realm of necessity is just something like the realm of nature and the realm of freedom is just a free self-conscious activity. I think in order to sort of overcome this opposition, we need to sort of find, human beings have to find some kind of reconciliation in their relationship to nature such that that relationship is also, that that natural relationship is also a relationship of freedom or a relationship that can enable our freedom. I could have changed the title of my talk to emphasize the humanism part, but I think really what I think the concept of species-being gives us, is a way of thinking about critique as both naturalists and humanist. And of course, in the early Marx, this is much more clear when he just says that naturalism is humanism and humanism is naturalism. And it’s clear that trying to identify something like a truly human form, not just a truly human form of work, but also a truly human form of the senses, the way that he speaks in those early texts, that reconciliation of the realm of freedom and the realm of necessity is about reconciling the human relationship. It’s in part about reconciling the human relationship to nature.
– What do you think just to follow up on that briefly of Marx’s insistence, especially later that the basis of the species, if you wanna call it that, but really it’s society, is needs, and those needs are, they’re not natural and they’re not free in a certain sense. They’re really based on the historical stage, what counts as needs based on what needs were produced before and how they transformed, doesn’t sound so free.
– So I don’t think that needs are not natural. I think you’re right. That in the passages that I’m thinking about, for example, from the German ideology, of course, he says that the way that we, we’re always building new needs and of course needs are always socially and historically determined, but that doesn’t mean that they, so again, this idea of reconciling, I started with this idea of historicized naturalism. I think the way that I would, and this is, I didn’t talk about needs, but this is, would be a much longer story I’d have to tell, is that I think understanding the nature of, we can’t ever fully, we can’t ever fully say that needs are only socially and historically determined. If I wanna go back to this idea of not just a natural limit, but the idea, the emphasis that Marx places on the physical body or the lived in, or in the case of labor, the lived body. I mean, there are some limits to how we can historically and socially interpret the nature of needs. And so I would still say that our understanding of what needs are, still needs to have some basis in thinking about human beings as human organisms basically. I don’t think we would ever fully be able to offer an account of needs that completely broke free from our status as natural organic beings.
– Okay. That’s great. I mean, it’s great. Great answer. Lots to talk about. We have a lot of questions in the chat, so we’re going through them. You’re doing okay to take a few more?
– Yeah. Definitely.
– So can we go to Matthew Abbott and open his mic?
– Thanks, Karen. That was a really wonderful paper, very sympathetic with what you’re doing. And I wanted to ask you about the issue of utopian versus scientific socialism and your response to those fairly typical critiques. I think and sometimes quite lazy critiques that any attempt to kind of read a normative element into the mature Marx is illegitimate. And it kind of ends up conflating the early light Marx in problematic ways and so on. Yeah, so I’m wondering how you would respond to those kinds of critiques or perhaps a more interesting way of putting that question would be to ask, in what sense is your Marx,the mature Marx, the Marx of capital, doing science? In what sense is the account scientific for you? Perhaps study ways of linking up to the notion of naturalism that you’re talking about to kind of contemporary debates about science and naturalism through that as well.
– Great question. That second question is a tough one. I’d never thought of that before. The first question I think, (chuckles) I mean, it could be because I’m a philosopher. I think, I don’t know what it means when people wanna say that there’s nothing normative going on here. It’s not clear to me why we would recapital [???] if the point isn’t that the whole point of this massive thr…We spend so much time reading it. If it’s not going to give us, if it’s not a claim about the way that labor under these conditions are bad, I guess not that that might be a very dismissive thing to say, but I think I just don’t know. I don’t even know what it means. Or maybe I do, and then the option is well, then for me as a philosopher, I’m not interested in reading “Capital” because, okay, it’s just a, it’s a purely descriptive or empirical story in which case, then we just play that game of poking the holes with the empirical account, with Marx’s history. And at least for me, again, I don’t wanna be too dismissive, but I think as a philosopher, I don’t know then how to read “Capital”without thinking about it in normative terms. The question about science is a great one. I immediately, I guess there’s two ends of that on the backend. So in the pre-history, I think about the concept of science or Wissenschaftthat we get in Hegel and German idealism, where that just simply refers to something like a systematic body of knowledge, and then on the front, not on the front, I guess looking ahead, or not actually looking ahead in Marx’s contemporaries, I think about Darwin and sort of the way in which science is developing, and of course, there’s also, I didn’t talk about any of this and, but there’s a lot of interesting work on, again, I was looking back to Hegel, but if you go forward in the timeline to fill out that concept of species, I think we need to think about Marx’s relation to Darwin. So, so yeah. Great question about the way, I think, I’ll have to think about that more, the sense of science once we take this naturalistic point of view that I’m trying to defend.
– [Matthew] Thank you.
– Thanks. Okay. We’re going now to Matthew Delhey Delhey.
– Hey, can you hear me?
– [Karen] Yes.
– Great. Yeah, actually my question builds off really nicely from the last one. And once again, thanks for the talk as everyone else’s saying.Yeah, so my question is just more like taking it to, I’m sorry, I’m a bit nervous actually, but taking it to like contemporary critical theoryand thinking about Agamben and Yagi, because it strikes me thatwhile you’re kind of emphasizing of species-being as like kind of superficially similar to what they’re doing with forms of life, that actually, you seem to be saying something quite different. And I just wanted to get your opinion on about this because for Agamben and Yagi, they’re very careful to separate what they mean by life from any kind of like biological form of life, biological understanding of life. And we can kind of understand why they would be worried about that, but you’ve already kind of raised the specter of Darwin here and evolution. So, yeah, I guess my question is, do you see your account as diverse? Like, how do you see your species-being version of critical theory kind of interacting with this other form of life? It seems to me to be quite different ’cause you do seem to be open to kind of incorporating biological evolutionary understandings of life in the critical theory project, kind of going back to the Horkheimer unity of science and philosophy thing. Okay. Thank you.
– Thank you. So I do think it’s a friendly disagreement. I think I do differ. So the way that I would wanna use the concept of a form of life or a life-form, even in the literature that I was drawing on, it is different from the way that Yagi understands the concept of a form of life. And as you said, it’s, in her case, it’s important that it’s distinguished from a biological understanding. I think in my case,I want a lot of different things that I hope are compatible. I want the concept of the life-form to be one that makes sense within a naturalistic, so a biological and also evolutionary point of view. I think I wouldn’t want the concept of life-form to become so fully, I guess, a philosophical one such that it has no connection at all to a natural or biological way of thinking about species. On the other hand, this is what I’m, this is an ongoing project, I’m still thinking through some of these ideas. On the other hand, going back to that question about the normative, I do the concept of species that I think is operative in Marx, that I think is operative in Hegel is one, it’s a normative concept. So what I hope for him to be able to do is to think about this concept in a way such that it can somehow straddle so that it can be continuous with thinking about biological life. Again, I think the way that Hegel and the German idealists were thinking about this, the model was organic. The model was a kind of organic model, so that fits with the genealogy of the concept. But on the other hand, the reason I’m primarily interested in, and especially in the case of Marx, it is a normative concept undeniably. So the trick that… The balancing act that I would like to do is to show how these, both of these things, that it can be continuous. But that does make yeah, that fundament, that means that I do the concept of life-form or a form of life that I was talking about in this paper, that does make it different from the way that Yagi thinks about forms of life.
– Okay. I’m mindful of the time, but we’ll take a few more if that’s okay with you.
– Yep. That’s great.
– Cool. I’m gonna pass over Dylan’s question, which is good. I think the majority of it has been answered except the last part, which asks you more or less, what’s the difference between species-being and class for Marx? So you might answer that. And maybe I’ll ask this question too. Now, since I was supposed to read for him. For Marx, how do we come to know our species-being objectively, kind of ludicrous that I read these’cause everyone has them in the chat, but we’re doing this show. So here I am. How do we come to know our species-being objectively?How are we to adjudicate between alternative characterizations of our species-being and its requirements?
– So how do we know, I’m reading it too. How do we come to know our species-being objectively? So one, I didn’t give an argument for this, but one way to answer it is that, in the beginning, in the very beginning of the talk, I pulled a passage from Hegel where Hegel seems to argue that our very capacity for self-consciousness is bound up with a capacity to know our own species-concept. And so he refers to self consciousness, that the power of self-consciousness, the activity of self-consciousness, he says it’s the genus. In Hegel, it’s always translated as genus. Here, I was using species just for the sake of continuity. It’s the Gattung for itself. So in so far, it seems like that that capacity is baked into our very, what it is to be self-conscious to be self-aware to be an eye, and ultimately to become Geist or spirit, is to have a capacity for grasping species concepts. If we want to make this less about self-consciousness and sort of think, I think the fact that we ourselves are living beings, is also part of, so why is this idea of a species-concept so important, we ourselves are living beings. And so part of to understand ourselves is to, in some sense, be able to understand ourselves as part of a living organic species. So that’s one way that I would try to answer our question. And of course, how do we come to know our species-being objectively? You could ask the same question about, Marx thinks that we have a capacity to wield not just our own species-concepts, but again, species-concepts in general. And so I think that is tied to, he’s getting that from this Hegelian idea that being a self-conscious being is to at least part of it is a story about grasping our own species-concept. The last part about species-being and class. That’s a great question.So there’s a tendency in some of these passages about species being too in the early Marx that also suggests that our species-being hasn’t been fully realized, that we have not yet become fully human, that our senses are not yet fully, we’re not viewing, we don’t see or hear in fully human ways. And so there’s also a sense in which this species-concept is so in great Hegelian fashion, the species-concept is kind of a condition of possibility for making sense of so many of our human activities and our historical moment, but on the sort of other end, the species concept is also an aim or goal or something that we are developing, something that is continually in development. So it’s both sort of the presupposition and the aim or goal. And so on the issue of class, I take it that in the early Marx, when he talks about the proletariat as the universal class, I think there, he might be thinking about that it is only in this historical moment that actually the human species might have a chance to truly develop as a universal species. That we have to… And of course the conditions for that are in part laid by capitalism itself. And so the connection there would be that, I think there’s a projection where potentially a big if that the proletariat as a class could potentially be the catalyst that actually realizes the human speciesas a universal species.
– Okay, cool. We’re gonna take one more question from Sanford Dealand if we could open Sanford’s mic. It’s a good ending question about your concept of critique. Sanford, are you with us? Sometimes people have to go,so maybe I will read the question ’cause it’s a good one. Could you say more about the relationbetween critique being immanent in your sense, i.e., drawing its standards from a conception of functioning well, and the idea that critique should be immanent in the sense that it is located in social reality. He’s citing Lu Katra and Horkheimer. Just wanna explain the other, or are these just two different ideas?
– I don’t think they’re totally different in part because the, as we build out, so I stress sort of the naturalistic side of the species-concept. But as some of the passages that I quoted, in some of the passages that I quoted, it’s clear that Marx thinks of the species-concept precisely as social reality. So he talks about it as, when that line about the individual is the social being. And then I mentioned later in the talk that I think there’s a sense of social, there might be different senses of social at work because of course in Marx, so many things, even the alienated relationships of capitalism are social, reveal themselves to be social to an extent, but the sense of social that I was trying to pull out, that there’s also a sense of social that’s specifically tied to natural history, as he says, that truly to be truly social would be to be social in a way that is still tied to this notion of natural history. So that’s to say that I don’t think they’re fundamentally different because to be immanent to social reality is in part, it means also to be immanent within our, the particular developmental stage that we’ve reached in our natural history. So again, I would want to think about connection between the way in which that term immanent works when we’re thinking about the more naturalistic side of the species concept, and then the way that that immanent works when we’re thinking about immanent to social reality.
– Okay. Thank you very much. And thanks to everyone for their questions. Karen, thanks for your great talk and really full answers and thinking through for us.
– Thank you so much.
– Thank you so much for being here. We’re gonna sign off. This would be a time of thunderous applause, were we in a room.