Idealistic Studies 39 (1-3):137-148 (2009)

Jacob Held
University of Central Arkansas
Although there has been consistent interest in Marx and Marxism there has been little sustained interest in the origins of Marx’s ethical thought and his relation to the German philosophical tradition as a whole. Work has been done linking Marx to Fichte, and a great deal more linking him to Hegel. However, the fundamental concept joining them all is recognition, or interpersonal relations in general. In this regard, none of the German thinkers can be understood withoutfirst grasping their understanding of the human person as one among many. This article begins this process for Marx. Although some literature has been devotedto the explication of Marx’s notion of species-being it is sparse and dated. In this article I proceed to reiterate how important species-being is as the foundationto Marx’s ethical philosophy. However, my main focus is on simply how to understand the concept itself. I, therefore, devote the majority of the article to ananalysis of Marx’s use of the concept in his early work as well as his critique of Ludwig Feuerbach’s use of it. This account provides the basis for understandingMarx’s concept of human essence and is the beginning of a project of rephrasing Marxian ethics around the concept of recognition thus reconnecting him to theGerman philosophical tradition.
Keywords Continental Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0046-8541
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