You will prepare and submit a term paper on The Disagreement on Human nature among the Greatest Philosophers. Your paper should be a minimum of 500 words in length. The Disagreement on Human nature among the Greatest Philosophers Absolute knowledge doesnt exist regardless which discipline it is. The human nature is just one discipline. Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant etc., all have given their insights about human nature but none has grasped it completely. This seems similar to the concept of God because no one has fully comprehended God or the concept of God either.
The reason is, among many things, one puzzling thing about human nature is its complexity. It would be easier to understand the human nature if we just consider this creature a creature of habit, but it is not that simple. Plato gave his Allegory of the Cave explaining this habitual nature (Soccio 141). A man lives all his life in a cave, he considers his environment as the only reality, as if nothing exists outside of it. On exposing him to the sunlight, this person thinks he is dreaming, that the fresh air, green grass and the singing birds are hallucinations.
The habitual nature of human is Plato’s version. Aristotle and Kant on the other hand focused more on how humans should behave. the maxim behind every action. Aristotle gave two levels of human behavior the one where he only acts as a man and the other where he acts as if there is a divine spirit within him, thus achieving a life higher than mere human nature (Aristotle 191). This is very different from Plato’s narrative because Kant implies that man by nature is evil or corrupt therefore he has to confirm to moral law in order to live a better life. He is not simply a product of its environment, he is inherently corrupt.
It is hard to pick one theory and reject the other. It will also be negating the introduction that there is no absolute truth or knowledge. In Kant’s theory there is space for spirituality. There must be divine authority overseeing man’s activities. Plato on the other hand is more supportive of nurture as opposed to the nature. Kant considers human nature as a composition of feelings, one relations and cognitions, and these aspects are governed by a priory prescribed by a “higher cognitive power” (Frierson 13)
Descartes is also in agreement with Kant that there is a divine authority. And hence man has a defined nature. René Descartess held anti-elitist and egalitarian views on human nature (Lopston 24). It also implies that considering this premise one has to accept that humans have been created as part of a grand design. The basic principles of all major religions state that divinity tests the humans against some commandments/rules, where the man has to abstain from evil and practice goodwill in good faith. For this reason when the concept of divinity is incorporated into the debate about human nature, the defined concept of human nature cannot be ignored. It becomes difficult to accept that humans are just another species, an organism of carbon decomposing every minute. If the concept of divinity is involved in the debate then spirituality and life after death also need to be considered. The human nature needs to be understood from the concept of the grand design, then he is not merely a man in a cave.
As stated in the beginning of the paper that there cannot be any absolute knowledge therefore there cannot be any absolute conclusion. The paper has briefly looked into different philosophies in order to understand which theory has more weightage. As human nature cannot be defined absolutely (if it were, all philosophers would have agreed on some common point) it is probably more accurate to incorporate both sides of arguments. that man is a product of his environment, also it has been created by a grand design and therefore has some qualities or nature imprinted in his DNA.
Aristotle. .Nichomachean Ethics. Ed. Paul Negri and William Kaufman. Mineola: Dover Publications, 1998. Print.
Frierson, Patrick R. .What Is the Human Being? .Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Loptson, Peter. .Readings on Human Nature. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview, 1998. Print.
Soccio, Douglas J. .Archetypes of Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub., 1992. Print.
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