Human Nature

I have found that we read, and I wrote, a lot on human nature, the state of nature, and man’s inherent tendencies to be good or bad… or neither. In thinking about what I believe is really true on this subject, I always end up thinking about it slightly more biologically than, say, Rousseau or Hobbes.

My first thought is usually that man’s primary objective must be to survive as a species. Man must survive and procreate. So therefor, we cannot be naturally evil. We cannot want to intentionally harm others and the human race. But then I debate that maybe our biological goal is less concerned with humans as a species and more concentrated on individual survival. Therefor, man would not inherently harm oneself and probably would not intend to act negatively towards others, unless their success as a human was at risk. So maybe it can be argued biologically that man is inherently competitive and filled with self interest for the purpose of survival. But I still generally chose to acknowledge man as inherently good with the intention of supporting mankind as a race.

I agree with most books we have read that man’s most innate tendency is that of self preservation. But, I guess the question to be answered is whether it is self preservation as an individual or self preservation as a member of a greater community… I don’t think there is an answer on the realities of human nature, but I do believe the only place we will find implications of an answer is in our biology.


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  1. seamus page

    I agree that in our readings which discussed human nature a lot of time was spent contemplating human nature discussed the will to survive within a human being. I personally believe that what dictated the course of thought of whether or not man’s will to survive is good or evil to be based off of what the author believes is the easiest way to survive. When It comes to survival one will do what is easiest to survive and no being can be faulted for that. Hobbes seems to believe that in essence, the easiest way to survive it to look out for oneself primarily. If this is the case than it would be easy to understand how Hobbes could come to the conclusion that humans would be so violent. Rousseau on the other hand seems to believe that the easiest way for one to survive is to help others who would in turn help you, but once you start to introduce the concept of power and it’s scarcity that causes humans to become violent.

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