Your assignment this week is to write an essay (around 500 words or more) in which you answer the following questions: Do you believe that our modern society and economic way of life significantly hurts human beings and objectively inhibits our achieving our true potential? What are the best reasons you can offer to support your opinion to this question?
The last few weeks we have read and discussed Aristotle, J.S. Mill, as well as Karl Marx’s theories of human nature, as well as Marx’s further controversial theory of alienation of human beings under capitalism and its dominant superstructure or social relationships. In this essay you are to consider the ‘big question’ about whether or not you agree with Marx’s pessimistic assessment of the modern world by first explaining what Marx means by the expressions ‘alienated’ as well as ‘unalienated’ labor. Further, you need to explain in your essay what, according to Marx, is ‘species-life’ and why Marx considers the concept of species-life to be an important premise in his larger argument that capitalism alienates human beings.
If you agree with Marx’s overall argument that workers under capitalism are alienated, take sufficient time to fully explain what you take to be the weakest claim or premise to his argument and how would you strengthen it. If you ultimately disagree with Marx’s claim that the full nature of all but those who own the Means of Production are systematically prevented from achieving their full potential by capitalist relations of production, explain carefully how you would respond to the specific concerns of Erich Fromm in the excerpt “Automatons Cannot Love” in our chapter. To do this, state specifically why you take the concerns of Fromm that contemporary capitalism alienates us from love of others and God to be misguided or ill-formed.
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