Complex term with multiple meanings: the essence or defining property of something, a material realm untouched by human activity, the entire living world, of which the human species is a part of. Nature in social science: natural science deals with nature social science does not, social science studies nature but of a different kind than natural science, human nature is treated as external nature. Smith and o"keefe: goal of their essay: to show relations of human beings to nature, contemporary period, connections between capitalism and nature. Nature and historical materialism: historical materialism: trying to understand the material basis of our contemporary society. You cannot understand the contemporary period or capitalism w/o thinking it in historically terms. Nature as unity: first nature and second nature. Smith and o"keefe rely upon karl marx: nature intimately connected to society, nature without human activity does not exist. Historically, human and nature are connected bc nature fulfills basic human needs.