Assertions, conflations and human nature: a reply to Werner Bonefeld

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For me it is quite simple: if, on a cold winter evening, one goes outside with no clothes on, remains exposed to the elements in this visceral way for several days,
during which time neither food nor drink is consumed and one suffers from sleep deprivation because of the wretched situation one is in, then the chances of dying are much higher (see also Fracchia 2005). Surely there are implications of this
‘common sense’ observation for how we conceptualise and thus study human social practice (cf. Orzeck 2007, 511; Bruff 2008, 50–53). For Marx and Engels (1998, 47) it means that ‘the production of means to satisfy [human] needs, the production of material life itself ... [is] a fundamental condition of all history’. Indeed, ‘[w]hatever
the social form of the production process, it has to be continuous’ (Marx 1976, 710), because ‘[n]atural laws cannot be abolished at all. The only thing that can change, under historically differing conditions, is the form in which those laws assert themselves’ (Letter from Marx to Ludwig Kugelmann, in Marx and Engels 1988, 67, emphasis in original).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-556
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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