Marx’s Conception of Nature
(Original title: Marxova koncepcia prírody)Filozofia
, 24 (1969)
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Slovak
The present paper represents an attempt to illuminate the forming of Marx’s conception of nature from the standpoint of the basic philosophico-ontological starting point of Marx’s philosophy. Without this starting point, it cannot be correctly understood. The conception
of nature is an organic moment of Marx’s theory of being as a creative human practice, as a practical historical mediation of subjectivity and objectivity.
Nature is permanently present- in Marx’s world of thought, though never as the chief object of his scientific interest. It is always „only“ a moment in the solution of some main (usually economic) problem. In his early works, where his view of nature is given in the most rounded and concentrated, many-sided form, this view is a moment of the theory of man’s alienation. Owing to his generic properties: to his capacity of reflection and self-reflection, universalness of creation and to his freedom, man can manage to appropriate the whole nature and, consequently, to affirm himself as human being. Under conditions of private property this process of self-confirmation and self-objectification cannot be a means of many-sided unfoldment of human properties and capacities and of the humanization of nature. Only through the positive overcoming of private property alienation is removed, and, at a higher level, the dialectical identity of man and nature is renewed both in the individual and in the human race. Human society is a continuation of the history of nature. By its historical process, it negates (transforms) nature and preserves it at the same time. The dialectical identity of nature and man (society) is a starting point and an inevitable corrective of really human doing which leads, on the one hand, into the unfolment of the specific human essence of man and, on the other hand, into the humanization of nature.
Marx’s conception of the dialectics of nature is consequentially anthropological but not anthropocentric. It represents an overcoming of subjectivism and objectivism. It is the expression of a critico-philosophical attitude and, therefore, it provides certain points of support in contemporary check-up of the starting positions as well as of further developments. The return to Marx in the question of the philosophical conception of nature is an integral moment of contemporary structural shifts in Marxist philosophy, connected both with the problem of the revival of Marxism and the urgent needs of practical socialistic movement.