Communism as Eudaimonia

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Abstract
Karl Marx states in Capital that “man, if not as Aristotle thought a political animal, is at all events a social animal” (Marx, 1992, 444). That Marx draws from Aristotle’s work has been long-recognized, but one could argue that Marx’s very conception of man—what he calls “species-being”—is a derivative of Aristotle’s theory of the good life. This article explores the Aristotelian underpinnings of Marx’s political philosophy and argues that Marx’s theory of species-being and human emancipation supervenes upon Aristotle’s theory of eudaimonia. The consequence of such a rethinking suggests that the Aristotelian good life itself is possible only in the communist society of Marx’s imaginings and, as such, is a state that must be realized—whether by nature or revolution—for human flourishing. Inspired by Aristotle’s assertion that “friendship exists to the extent that what is just exists” (Aristotle, 1991a, 527), this article draws from several of Aristotle’s and Marx’s texts to situate man as an inherently social being, whose need of other men serves both to edify and realize a common end toward which the state is oriented: the life of virtuous activity performed by and in an association of equals.
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Archival date: 2019-03-01
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2019-03-01

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