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Lecture 3

SOC231H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Human Nature, Social Change, Dialectic

Course Code
Zaheer Baber

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SOC231 Lecture 3
Hegel; Idealism - the dialectic at the level of ideas
Marx’s Critique;
Reject the either or and combines in a skillful manner - elements of idealism
exist in the world but combines with ideas of materialism
Explains that a certain social structure is needed with a little bit of both
Not pure idealism or pure materialism but complex combination
Constant social change through the resolution of contradictions
Relies on philosophy but rejects philosophy practiced for its own sake
‘Philosophy and the study of the actual world have the same relation to one
another as onanism and sexual love’
Focus on the actual social world and social change
The concept of Alienation
Marx is a radical thinker; thinks of the root of the issue
Human nature; infinitely perfectible - makes humans indifferent because
society comes first which causes humans to get competitive and have these
kind of characteristics
Mark; neutral, analytical take on “human nature” (not a matter of humans being either
good, evil, power-hungry, etc.)
Human species; Language and Labor
Only humans as a species haver a complex system of communication which
other species don’t have (only to some extent)
Only humans are able to work labor - do something to evolve the world
around us (very general concept)
We become fully human when we get the ability to speak language and do
labour to be able to survive
Marx; only humans consciously create and recreate their conditions of existence:
transformation of nature, culture, and social institutions
Other animals may, but it is not a conscious awareness/attempt
“The spider and the architect” →”human nature”
Spider can weave a web with such fineness that no human can imagine
Architect humans are able to conceptualize what the building will look like so
we are able to recreate and survive
Alienation; creative human nature constrained
Humans create social contexts but are prisoners of their own creation
Our own creations ‘experienced’ as alien entities
Humans controlled by their own creations
Under industrial capitalism: (compare with craft workers)
Workers are alienated from:
Process of labor
Product of the labor
From fellow workers
From their ‘species-being’ or themselves
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