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Example text

He goes on, 'By producing their means of subsistence men are indirectly producing their actual material life', and a little later, 'As individuals express their life, so they are. ' Earlier, introducing the concept of alienated labour in the Paris MS, he had written, 'Productive life is species-life ... ' 'Alienated labour ... ' For Marx, says Tucker, 'man is universally a being who produces things'. Animals, of course, are also productive in a marginal way, by their own vital activity they secure the means of their own subsistence.

The latter are credited with sensation (at least that of touch) and with imagination. The implication is that non-human animals do not have knowledge, which necessarily presupposes the power to think, or, for that matter, the power of judgement, of forming beliefs, true or false. Aristotle's position is, at any rate, like that of sensible men in general, somewhere between the extremes of Descartes and Hume. For Descartes animals were complex mechanical contrivances, the possession of souls was proprietary to human beings and God.

At the beginning I pointed out that the question, has man an essence, is ambiguous. It could mean : is there a set of defining properties associated with the concept of man? This would be answered negatively in one way by those, if there are any, who believe the concept to be simple and unanalysable and in another way by those, and there are certainly some of these, who believe that men are linked not by a common property or properties but rather by family resemblance. But it could also mean: is it essential to the individuals that are men that they are men?

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