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[Philosophy] Human Nature. (P3)
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Default [Philosophy] Human Nature. (P3) - 10-26-2010, 01:06 PM

Your view of human nature will determine even how you think we should set up our society. Ask yourself this, for example: Should our society be based on capitalism or socialism? Well, supposed humans are essentially self-interested.
Then wouldn't the best way to get people to work be to allow every individual to keep whatever benefits he or she producesm and not to support those who don't work?
Won't self-interest then lead every person to work hard and to produce as much as he or she can?
Isn't this the fundamental idea behind capitalist societies, with thier free enterprise systems and ideas about individualism?
If all people are basically self-interested, then shouln't we spend more on police, prisons, the military and other institutions we use to protect people from on another?
On the other hand, what if humans are not basically self-interested, but cooperative and unselfish? Then wouldn't it make sense to inspire people to work for one another's good and to share whatever each produces? Aren't socialist institutions, such as welfair programs and redistributive taxes, based on the idea that human nature is basically social and that humans can and should share with one another?
Isn't the huge sum of money that we spend on prisons, police and the military a big waste that could be put to better use in helping meet human needs?
Which one of these two options is more realistic? How far should our society go in pursuing either one? Doesn't your answer depend on how you view human nature?

It is clear, then, that a lot hangs on how you answer the question 'What is a human being?'
In this chapter, you will begin your philosophical journey by looking at how several philosophers have tried to answer this question. By examining what they say in support of their views, you will be in a better position to form your own answer and to make up your own mind about the entent to which we are unselfish and spiritual beings, or self-interested and material beings. Our aim is not to convince you to accept any of the views of human nature presented here. Our aim is to help you decide for yourself what it means to be a human being.

Other quotes/ Definitions:

Human nature - what it essentially means to be a human being; what makes us different from anything else.

¨Philosophy is doubt.¨

¨Every man has a wild beast within him.¨
-Frederick the great.

Psychological egoism - the belief that human beings are so constituted that they must always act out of self interest.

¨Of all created creatures man is the most detestable. Of entire brood he is the only one that possesses malice. Also he is the only creature that has a nasty mind.¨
-Mark Twain.

End of chapter 2.1

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