Practice Questions

for D. Palmer's Visions of Human Nature

Instructions: The self-assessment exercise for Chapter 8 is a combination of answering and asking questions. Part One contains five questions in the format you are used to from earlier chapters. Part Two sends you to the chapter report form you're all familiar with by now, and an input form where you must submit two questions of your own, to see if you know enough about this chapter to challenge your fellow students. Don't make your questions too hard, though, since I would like to use the questions I get from you for future classes. Please give me one multiple-choice question and one true-false question, taken from different parts of the chapter. Don't click the "SUBMIT" button at the bottom of this page until you have finished taking the test and are ready to submit your own test questions!

Chapter 8 - The Marxian Vision of Human Nature

Part One, Answering the Questions:

1. Marx argued that the communist social revolution must be the last movement of the prehistoric stage of human history because
(a) The proletariat has no ideology and rebels against alienation itself, seeking to employ the means of production to provide for everyone.
(b) The bourgeoisie will return the means of production to the oppressed working class, liberating them from propagandistic ideology.
(c) The proletariat will realize that the capitalist ideology they now believe in is false and replace it with the true Marxist philosophy of communism and dialectical materialism.
(d) (d) A powerful leader, like Joseph Stalin in Russia and Mao Zedong in China, will be able to command the economy and prevent the inequalities and excesses of the capitalist system.
(e) The bourgeoisie will be overthrown and the workers will control and maintain the superstructure of capitalist society in a spirit of freedom and equality.

2. Marx conceives of human beings are "species-beings." What does this term mean in Marx's theory of human nature?
(a) Human beings are always conscious of being members of the human race, and of being dependant upon others and sharing interests with them as part of a society, making "human nature" a matter of the concatenation of social relationships.
(b) The human essence is a universal and ideal abstraction inherent in each single individual of the species.
(c) The historical conditions that determine the character of the productions of Homo faber, human beings as makers and doers, are primarily intellectual in nature and have little to do with the systems of economics.
(d) Historical conditions determine whether or not our universal essence at a particular historical moment and geographical point consists of being social individuals or autonomous individuals.
(e) The human being is an eternal species whose drive to produce is wholly unaffected by particular historical conditions.

3. According to Marx's materialistic conception of human society, the foundation of society is composed of relations, modes, and material powers of production. On this foundation depends the superstructure and ideology of society. Which of the following things is part of neither the superstructure nor ideology?
(a) The legal and political institutions of governance.
(b) The dictates of morality and philosophy.
(c) The widespread religious beliefs of the workers.
(d) Political propaganda for a specific historical form of production.
(e) The connections between workers and their supervisors.

4. Which of the following is not part of Marx's concept of the alienation of labor?
(a) In the state of alienation our natural powers of production are corrupted and we encounter our works as alien beings and as enemies.
(b) It leads to the physical exhaustion and mental debasement of the human being, whose nature is that of a natural creator and producer.
(c) In alienation, the mind engaged primarily in mental processes is alienated from itself and fails to grasp itself as Absolute Idea and as pure freedom.
(d) Workers are compelled to engage in an activity of creation which should be undertaken in freedom, leading to work that is external to the worker and not part of his nature.
(e) In the whole social history of the world, only outright slavery creates greater alienation of labor than does capitalism.

5. Marx's theory of human nature has a lot to do with his understanding of economics. Which of the following is the best description of the relationship between the laws of economics and the character of human nature as Marx saw them?
(a) The economic system of communism, also called a command economy, can create a new and better human nature than the human nature that existed under capitalism.
(b) Human nature, as a product of philosophy and thus of ideology, is determined by economical forces.
(c) As economists like Thomas Malthus and Adam Smith believed, the laws of economics are absolute and objective, fixing the possibilities for human nature.
(d) Human nature is in the realm of freedom, and can only blossom when it goes beyond the realm of economics.
(e) None of the Above. Human nature is not actually affected by the laws of economics in Marx's theory; these laws merely obscure the movements of the dialectic in our mental processes.

Part Two, Asking the Questions:. When you have finished the quiz, click the "Report" button below to fill in your multiple-choice and true/false questions and send a progess report to the instructor.