Nineteenth Century Philosophy

Ludwig Andreas Von Feuerbach

What did Ludwig Feuerbach conclude man was?

In his Principles of the Philosophy of the Future (1843) Feuerbach wrote the rallying cry for many vegetarians: Der Mensch ist, was er isst, or “Man is what he eats.” However, his full thought on this was not merely dietary. The preceding sentences, written in 1850, read:

The doctrine of foods is of great ethical and political significance. Food becomes blood, blood becomes heart and brain, thoughts and mind-stuff. Human fare is the foundation of human culture and thought. Would you improve a nation? Give it, instead of declamations against sin, better food.

Feuerbach struggled with how “human fare” became human thought. His solution was to convert “the essence of religion into the essence of man,” but Marx criticized him for his location of abstractions in the individual, preferring to understand the individual as a collection or intersection of social and economic relations.


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