Dr Tristan Bradshaw

Agora Speaker Series 2022 - Dr Tristan Bradshaw

Aristotle and Marx: Configuring the History of the Human Animal, In and Out of Capitalism

History and science make strange bedfellows. Or at least that's the view of Aristotle. And yet Marx-in one of his most famous texts-not only invokes science in the name of history, but on this basis turns to Aristotle to begin his first published analysis of capital.

In this lecture, I try to account for this unlikely alliance. I suggest that there is exactly one place in Aristotle's vast corpus where he attempts a kind of 'scientific history', and that is his account of the human animal as a political animal in Politics. My reading of this famous part of Aristotle, which is admittedly unorthodox, is motivated by what I see as several persistent misinterpretations.

I will attempt to correct the record and, in doing so, see how Marx's use of Aristotle evinces his critical approach to antiquity as well as capitalism.