Marx’s theory of man can be best seen as an attempt to integrate the radical humanism of Fichte and Hegel on the one hand, and the naturalism of Feuerbach on the other. Fichte and Hegel were right, Marx thought, to place man in the centre of the universe and to see history as a process of man’s self-creation. Following Feuerbach, however, he objected to their attempt to identify man with his consciousness and to explain human history in terms of its independent dialectical movement. It is man who possesses consciousness and not the other way round, and therefore not human self-consciousness and Absolute Spirit but the sensuous, empirical man which ought to be made the explanatory principle of history. Since Fichte and Hegel took a ‘topsy-turvy’, ‘Idealistic’ and ‘speculative’ view of man their account of human history remained abstract and false. Further, since they denied the reality of nature, human freedom, which they so cherished, lacked a medium of objectification and therefore remained illusory and unreal. Marx thought that Feuerbach’s naturalism avoided the Idealist mistake and was more satisfactory. It acknowledged man’s essentially sensuous nature, recognised his membership of the natural world, and stressed the empirical basis of all human knowledge. However Feuerbach’s naturalism was static and unhistorical, and did not recognise that both nature and man were constantly evolving. It took a passive and ‘contemplative’ view of man and did not stress man’s power to create both himself and nature. It remained unable to explain human history. A view of man was therefore needed, Marx seems to have thought, that satisfied two conditions. First, it must combine the valid humanistic insights of Fichte and Hegel and the naturalistic and empirical orientation of Feuerbach. Second, it must combine them not mechanically but dialectically; that is, it must not combine them in the ‘insipid’ (Marx’s favourite expression) spirit of ‘Bourgeois’ compromise but in a truly dialectical manner. What Marx meant was that it must be a view of man in which humanism and naturalism interpenetrate, so that it is not merely humanistic and naturalistic but humanistic in its naturalism and naturalistic in its humanism. Marx set about to develop such a view.