Discussion Human Nature Psychology

March 8, 2022
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Discussion Human Nature Psychology

Discussion Human Nature Psychology

Horney distinguishes three models of human nature:

1. Human beings are sinful by nature. Only grace can save them.
2. Human beings are a mixture of both good and bad impulses.
3. Human beings are basically good, intrinsically healthy.

Which view did you learn growing up as a child? Which do you believe in now?

Human nature is a concept that denotes the fundamental dispositions and characteristics—including ways of thinking, feeling, and acting—that humans are said to have naturally.[1][2][3][4] The term is often used to denote the essence of humankind, or what it ‘means’ to be human. This usage has proven to be controversial in that there is dispute as to whether or not such an essence actually exists.

Arguments about human nature have been a central focus of philosophy for centuries and the concept continues to provoke lively philosophical debate.[5][6][7] While both concepts are distinct from one another, discussions regarding human nature are typically related to those regarding the comparative importance of genes and environment in human development (i.e., ‘nature versus nurture’). Accordingly, the concept also continues to play a role in fields of science, such as neuroscience, psychology, and social science (such as sociology), in which various theorists claim to have yielded insight into human nature.[8][9][10][11] Human nature is traditionally contrasted with human attributes that vary among societies, such as those associated with specific cultures.

The concept of nature as a standard by which to make judgments is traditionally said to have begun in Greek philosophy, at least in regard to its heavy influence on Western and Middle Eastern languages and perspectives.[12] By late antiquity and medieval times, the particular approach that came to be dominant was that of Aristotle’s teleology, whereby human nature was believed to exist somehow independently of individuals, causing humans to simply become what they become. This, in turn, has been understood as also demonstrating a special connection between human nature and divinity, whereby human nature is understood in terms of final and formal causes. More specifically, this perspective believes that nature itself (or a nature-creating divinity) has intentions and goals, including the goal for humanity to live naturally. Such understandings of human nature see this nature as an “idea”, or “form” of a human.[13] However, the existence of this invariable and metaphysical human nature is subject of much historical debate, continuing into modern times.

Against Aristotle’s notion of a fixed human nature, the relative malleability of man has been argued especially strongly in recent centuries—firstly by early modernists such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In his Emile, or On Education, Rousseau wrote: “We do not know what our nature permits us to be.”[14] Since the early 19th century, such thinkers as Hegel, Darwin, Freud, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Sartre, as well as structuralists and postmodernists more generally, have also sometimes argued against a fixed or innate human nature.

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has particularly changed the shape of the discussion, supporting the proposition that mankind’s ancestors were not like mankind today. Still, more recent scientific perspectives—such as behaviorism, determinism, and the chemical model within modern psychiatry and psychology—claim to be neutral regarding human nature. As in much of modern science, such disciplines seek to explain with little or no recourse to metaphysical causation.[15] They can be offered to explain the origins of human nature and its underlying mechanisms, or to demonstrate capacities for change and diversity which would arguably violate the concept of a fixed human nature.

Classical Greek philosophy

Philosophy in classical Greece is the ultimate origin of the Western conception of the nature of things.[12]

According to Aristotle, the philosophical study of human nature itself originated with Socrates, who turned philosophy from study of the heavens to study of the human things.[16] Though leaving no written works, Socrates is said to have studied the question of how a person should best live. It is clear from the works of his students, Plato and Xenophon, and also from the accounts of Aristotle (Plato’s student), that Socrates was a rationalist and believed that the best life and the life most suited to human nature involved reasoning. The Socratic school was the dominant surviving influence in philosophical discussion in the Middle Ages, amongst Islamic, Christian, and Jewish philosophers.

The human soul in the works of Plato and Aristotle has a nature that is divided in a specifically human way. One part is specifically human and rational, being further divided into (1) a part which is rational on its own; and (2) a spirited part which can understand reason. Other parts of the soul are home to desires or passions similar to those found in animals. In both Aristotle and Plato, spiritedness (thumos) is distinguished from the other passions (epithūmíā).[17] The proper function of the “rational” was to rule the other parts of the soul, helped by spiritedness. By this account, using one’s reason is the best way to live, and philosophers are the highest types of humans.

Aristotle
Aristotle—Plato’s most famous student-made some of the most famous and influential statements about human nature. In his works, apart from using a similar scheme of a divided human soul, some clear statements about human nature are made:

Man is a conjugal animal: An animal that is born to couple in adulthood. In doing so, man builds a household (oikos) and, in more successful cases, a clan or small village still run upon patriarchal lines.[18] Man is a political animal: An animal with an innate propensity to develop more complex communities (i.e. the size of a city or town), with systems of law-making and a division of labor. This type of community is different in kind from a large family, and requires the special use of human reason.[19] Man is a mimetic animal: Man loves to use his imagination, and not only to make laws and run town councils: “[W]e enjoy looking at accurate likenesses of things which are themselves painful to see, obscene beasts, for instance, and corpses.… [The] reason why we enjoy seeing likenesses is that, as we look, we learn and infer what each is, for instance, ‘that is so and so.’”[20] For Aristotle, reason is not only what is most special about humanity compared to other animals, but it is also what we were meant to achieve at our best. Much of Aristotle’s description of human nature is still influential today. However, the particular teleological idea that humans are “meant” or intended to be something has become much less popular in modern times.[21]

Theory of four causes
For the Socratics, human nature, and all natures, are metaphysical concepts. Aristotle developed the standard presentation of this approach with his theory of four causes, whereby every living thing exhibits four aspects, or “causes:”

matter (hyle);
form (eidos);
effect (kinoun); and
end (telos).
For example, an oak tree is made of plant cells (matter); grows from an acorn (effect); exhibits the nature of oak trees (form); and grows into a fully mature oak tree (end). According to Aristotle, human nature is an example of a formal cause. Likewise, our ‘end’ is to become a fully actualized human being (including fully actualizing the mind). Aristotle suggests that the human intellect (νοῦς, noûs), while “smallest in bulk”, is the most significant part of the human psyche and should be cultivated above all else.[22] The cultivation of learning and intellectual growth of the philosopher is thereby also the happiest and least painful life.

Chinese philosophy
Confucianism

Portrait of Mencius, a Confucian philosopher
Human nature is a central question in Chinese philosophy.[23] From the Song dynasty, the theory of potential or innate goodness of human beings became dominant in Confucianism.[24]

Mencius
Mencius argues that human nature is good,[23][25] understanding human nature as the innate tendency to an ideal state that’s expected to be formed under the right conditions.[26] Therefore, humans have the capacity to be good, even though they are not all good.[26]

According to Mencian theory, human nature contains four beginnings (端; duan) of morality:[27]

a sense of compassion that develops into benevolence (仁; ren);
a sense of shame and disdain that develops into righteousness (義; yi);
a sense of respect and courtesy that develops into propriety (禮; li); and
a sense of right and wrong that develops into wisdom (智; zhi).[25][27] The beginnings of morality are characterized by both affective motivations and intuitive judgments, such as what’s right and wrong, deferential, respectful, or disdainful.[27]

In Mencius’ view, goodness is the result of the development of innate tendencies toward the virtues of benevolence, righteousness, wisdom, and propriety.[25] The tendencies are manifested in moral emotions for every human being.[25] Reflection (思; si) upon the manifestations of the four beginnings leads to the development of virtues.[25] It brings recognition that virtue takes precedence over satisfaction, but a lack of reflection inhibits moral development.[27] In other words, humans have a constitution comprising emotional predispositions that direct them to goodness.[25]

Mencius also addresses the question why the capacity for evil is not grounded in human nature.[25] If an individual becomes bad, it is not the result of his or her constitution, as their constitution contains the emotional predispositions that direct to goodness, but a matter of injuring or not fully developing his or her constitution in the appropriate direction.[25] He recognizes desires of the senses as natural predispositions distinct from the four beginnings.[27] People can be misled and led astray by their desires if they do not engage their ethical motivations.[25] He therefore places responsibility on people to reflect on the manifestations of the four beginnings.[27] Herein, it is not the function of ears and eyes but the function of the heart to reflect, as sensory organs are associated with sensual desires but the heart is the seat of feeling and thinking.[28] Mencius considers core virtues—benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom—as internal qualities that humans originally possess, so people can not attain full satisfaction by solely pursuits of self-interest due to their innate morality.[29] Wong (2018) underscores that Mencius’ characterization of human nature as good means that “it contains predispositions to feel and act in morally appropriate ways and to make intuitive normative judgments that can with the right nurturing conditions give human beings guidance as to the proper emphasis to be given to the desires of the senses.”[27]

Mencius sees ritual (i.e., the standard for how humans should treat and interact with each other) as an outward expression of the inherent moral sense in human nature.[29]

Xunzi
Mencius’ view of ritual is in contrast to Xunzi, who does not view moral sense as an innate part of human nature.[30] Rather, a moral sense is acquired through learning, in which one engages in and reflects upon a set of ritual practices.[30] Xunzi’s claim that human nature is bad, according to Ivanhoe (1994), means that humans do not have a conception of morality and therefore must acquire it through learning, lest destructive and alienating competition inevitably arises from human desire.[30]

Xunzi understands human nature as the basic faculties, capacities, and desires that people have from birth.[26] He argues that human nature is evil and that any goodness is the result of human activity.[23][31] It is human nature to seek profit, because humans desire for sensory satisfaction.[31] Xunzi states that “Now the nature of man is evil. It must depend on teachers and laws to become correct and achieve propriety and righteousness and then it becomes disciplined.”[23] He underscores that goodness comes from the traits and habits acquired through conscious actions, which he calls artifice (偽; wei).[26] Therefore, morality is seen as a human artifice but not as a part of human nature.[32]

Legalism

Statue of Shang Yang, a prominent Legalist scholar and statesman
Human nature is one of the major pillars of Legalism in China.[33] However, Legalists do not concern themselves with whether human goodness or badness is inborn, and whether human beings possess the fundamental qualities associated with that nature.[33]

Legalists see the overwhelming majority of human beings as selfish in nature.[33] They hold the view that human nature is evil, in which individuals are driven by selfishness.[34] Therefore, people are not expected to always behave morally.[33] For instance, due to the corrupt nature of humans, Legalists did not trust that officials would carry out their duties in a fair and impartial manner.[35] There is a perpetual political struggle, characterized by conflict among contending human actors and interests, where individuals are easily tempted due to their selfish nature at the expense of others.[34]

According to Legalism, selfishness in human nature can not be eliminated or altered by education or self-cultivation.[33][36] It dismisses the possibility that people can overcome their selfishness and considers the possibility that people can be driven by moral commitment to be exceptionally rare.[33] Legalists do not see the individual morality of both the rulers or the ruled as an important concern in a political system.[33] Instead, Legalist thinkers such as Han Fei emphasize clear and impersonal norms and standards (such as laws, regulations, and rules) as the basis to maintain order.[33]

As human nature has an unchanging selfish but satiable core, Han Fei argues that competition for external goods during times of scarcity produces disorder, while times of abundance simply mean that people do not fall back into chaos and conflict but not that they are necessarily nice.[36] Additionally, Han Fei argues that people are all motivated by their unchanging selfish core to want whatever advantage they can gain from whomever they can gain such advantage, which especially comes to expression in situations where people can act with impunity.[36]

Legalists posit that human selfishness can be an asset rather than a threat to a state.[33] It is axiomatic in Legalism that the government can not be staffed by upright and trustworthy men of service, because every member of the elite—like any member of society—will pursue their own interests and thus must be employed for their interests.[33] Herein, individuals must be allowed to pursue their selfish interests exclusively in a manner that benefits rather than contradicts the needs of a state.[33] Therefore, a political system that presupposes this human selfishness is the only viable system.[33] In contrast, a political system based on trust and respect (rather than impersonal norms and standards) brings great concern with regard to an ongoing and irresolvable power struggle.[33] Rather, checks and controls must be in place to limit the subversion of the system by its actors (such as ministers and other officials).[33] Legalists view the usage of reward and punishment as effective political controls, as it is in human nature to have likes and dislikes.[34] For instance, according to the Legalist statesman Shang Yang, it is crucial to investigate the disposition of people in terms of rewards and penalties when a law is established.[33] He explains that a populace can not be driven to pursuits of agriculture or warfare if people consider these to be bitter or dangerous on the basis of calculations about their possible benefits, but people can be directed toward these pursuits through the application of positive and negative incentives.[33] As an implication of the selfish core in human nature, Han Fei remarks that “Those who act as ministers fear the penalties and hope to profit by the rewards.”[36]

In Han Fei’s view, the only realistic option is a political system that produces equivalents of junzi (君子, who are virtuous exemplars in Confucianism) but not junzi.[36] This does not mean, however, that Han Fei makes a distinction between seeming and being good, as he does not entertain the idea that humans are good.[36] Rather, as human nature is constituted by self-interest, he argues that humans can be shaped behaviorally to yield social order if it is in the individual’s own self-interest to abide by the norms (i.e., different interests are aligned to each other and the social good), which is most efficiently ensured if the norms are publicly and impartially enforced.[36]

Christian theology
Main article: Christian theology
In Christian theology, there are two ways of “conceiving human nature:” The first is “spiritual, Biblical, and theistic”; and the second is “natural, cosmical, and anti-theistic”.[37]: 6  The focus in this section is on the former. As William James put it in his study of human nature from a religious perspective, “religion” has a “department of human nature”.[38]

Various views of human nature have been held by theologians. However, there are some “basic assertions” in all “biblical anthropology:”[39]

“Humankind has its origin in God, its creator.”
“Humans bear the ‘image of God’.”
Humans are “to rule the rest of creation”.
The Bible contains no single “doctrine of human nature”. Rather, it provides material for more philosophical descriptions of human nature.[40] For example, Creation as found in the Book of Genesis provides a theory on human nature.[41]

Catechism of the Catholic Church, under the chapter “Dignity of the human person”, provides an article about man as image of God, vocation to beatitude, freedom, human acts, passions, moral conscience, virtues, and sin.[42]

Created human nature
As originally created, the Bible describes “two elements” in human nature: “the body and the breath or spirit of life breathed into it by God”. By this was created a “living soul”, meaning a “living person”.[43] According to Genesis 1:27, this living person was made in the “image of God”.[44] From the biblical perspective, “to be human is to bear the image of God.”[45]: 18
“Two main modes of conceiving human nature—the one of which is spiritual, Biblical, and theistic,” and the other “natural, cosmical, and anti-theistic.” John Tulloch[37]

Genesis does not elaborate the meaning of “the image of God”, but scholars find suggestions. One is that being created in the image of God distinguishes human nature from that of the beasts.[46] Another is that as God is “able to make decisions and rule” so humans made in God’s image are “able to make decisions and rule”. A third is that mankind possesses an inherent ability “to set goals” and move toward them.[45]: 5, 14  That God denoted creation as “good” suggests that Adam was “created in the image of God, in righteousness”.[47]

Adam was created with ability to make “right choices”, but also with the ability to choose sin, by which he fell from righteousness into a state of “sin and depravity”.[45]: 231  Thus, according to the Bible, “humankind is not as God created it.”[48]

Fallen human nature
Main article: Fall of man
By Adam’s fall into sin, “human nature” became “corrupt”, although it retains the image of God. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament teach that “sin is universal.”[45]: 17, 141  For example, Psalm 51:5 reads: “For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.”[49] Jesus taught that everyone is a “sinner naturally” because it is mankind’s “nature and disposition to sin”.[37]: 124–5  Paul, in Romans 7:18, speaks of his “sinful nature”.[50]

Such a “recognition that there is something wrong with the moral nature of man is found in all religions.”[45]: 141  Augustine of Hippo coined a term for the assessment that all humans are born sinful: original sin.[51] Original sin is “the tendency to sin innate in all human beings”.[52] The doctrine of original sin is held by the Catholic Church and most mainstream Protestant denominations, but rejected by the Eastern Orthodox Church, which holds the similar doctrine of ancestral fault.

“The corruption of original sin extends to every aspect of human nature”: to “reason and will” as well as to “appetites and impulses”. This condition is sometimes called “total depravity”.[53] Total depravity does not mean that humanity is as “thoroughly depraved” as it could become.[54] Commenting on Romans 2:14, John Calvin writes that all people have “some notions of justice and rectitude … which are implanted by nature” all people.[55]

Adam embodied the “whole of human nature” so when Adam sinned “all of human nature sinned.”[56] The Old Testament does not explicitly link the “corruption of human nature” to Adam’s sin. However, the “universality of sin” implies a link to Adam. In the New Testament, Paul concurs with the “universality of sin”. He also makes explicit what the Old Testament implied: the link between humanity’s “sinful nature” and Adam’s sin[57] In Romans 5:19, Paul writes, “through [Adam’s] disobedience humanity became sinful.”[58] Paul also applied humanity’s sinful nature to himself: “there is nothing good in my sinful nature.”[59][60]

The theological “doctrine of original sin” as an inherent element of human nature is not based only on the Bible. It is in part a “generalization from obvious facts” open to empirical observation.[61]

Empirical view
A number of experts on human nature have described the manifestations of original (i.e., the innate tendency to) sin as empirical facts.

Biologist Richard Dawkins, in his The Selfish Gene, states that “a predominant quality” in a successful surviving gene is “ruthless selfishness”. Furthermore, “this gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behavior.”[62] Child psychologist Burton L. White finds a “selfish” trait in children from birth, a trait that expresses itself in actions that are “blatantly selfish”.[63][64] Sociologist William Graham Sumner finds it a fact that “everywhere one meets “fraud, corruption, ignorance, selfishness, and all the other vices of human nature”.[65] He enumerates “the vices and passions of human nature” as “cupidity, lust, vindictiveness, ambition, and vanity”. Sumner finds such human nature to be universal: in all people, in all places, and in all stations in society.[66] Psychiatrist Thomas Anthony Harris, on the basis of his “data at hand”, observes “sin, or badness, or evil, or ‘human nature’, whatever we call the flaw in our species, is apparent in every person.” Harris calls this condition “intrinsic badness” or “original sin”.[67] Empirical discussion questioning the genetic exclusivity of such an intrinsic badness proposition is presented by researchers Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson. In their book, Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior, they propose a theory of multilevel group selection in support of an inherent genetic “altruism” in opposition to the original sin exclusivity for human nature.[68]

20th century Liberal Theology
Liberal theologians in the early 20th century described human nature as “basically good”, needing only “proper training and education”. But the above examples document the return to a “more realistic view” of human nature “as basically sinful and self-centered”. Human nature needs “to be regenerated … to be able to live the unselfish life”.[69]

Regenerated human nature
Main article: Regeneration (theology)
According to the Bible, “Adam’s disobedience corrupted human nature” but God mercifully “regenerates”.[70] “Regeneration is a radical change” that involves a “renewal of our [human] nature”.[71] Thus, to counter original sin, Christianity purposes “a complete transformation of individuals” by Christ.[72]

The goal of Christ’s coming is that fallen humanity might be “conformed to or transformed into the image of Christ who is the perfect image of God”, as in 2 Corinthians 4:4.[73] The New Testament makes clear the “universal need” for regeneration.[74] A sampling of biblical portrayals of regenerating human nature and the behavioral results follow.

being “transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Romans 12:2)[75] being transformed from one’s “old self” (or “old man”) into a “new self” (or “new man”) (Colossians 3:9-10)[76] being transformed from people who “hate others” and “are hard to get along with” and who are “jealous, angry, and selfish” to people who are “loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled” (Galatians 5:20-23)[77] being transformed from looking “to your own interests” to looking “to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4)[78] Early modern philosophy
One of the defining changes that occurred at the end of the Middle Ages was the end of the dominance of Aristotelian philosophy, and its replacement by a new approach to the study of nature, including human nature.[citation needed] In this approach, all attempts at conjecture about formal and final causes were rejected as useless speculation.[citation needed] Also, the term “law of nature” now applied to any regular and predictable pattern in nature, not literally a law made by a divine lawmaker, and, in the same way, “human nature” became not a special metaphysical cause, but simply whatever can be said to be typical tendencies of humans.[citation needed]

Although this new realism applied to the study of human life from the beginning—for example, in Machiavelli’s works—the definitive argument for the final rejection of Aristotle was associated especially with Francis Bacon. Bacon sometimes wrote as if he accepted the traditional four causes (“It is a correct position that “true knowledge is knowledge by causes.” And causes again are not improperly distributed into four kinds: the material, the formal, the efficient, and the final”) but he adapted these terms and rejected one of the three:

But of these the final cause rather corrupts than advances the sciences, except such as have to do with human action. The discovery of the formal is despaired of. The efficient and the material (as they are investigated and received, that is, as remote causes, without reference to the latent process leading to the form) are but slight and superficial, and contribute little, if anything, to true and active science.[79]

This line of thinking continued with René Descartes, whose new approach returned philosophy or science to its pre-Socratic focus upon non-human things. Thomas Hobbes, then Giambattista Vico, and David Hume all claimed to be the first to properly use a modern Baconian scientific approach to human things.

Hobbes famously followed Descartes in describing humanity as matter in motion, just like machines. He also very influentially described man’s natural state (without science and artifice) as one where life would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”.[80] Following him, John Locke’s philosophy of empiricism also saw human nature as a tabula rasa. In this view, the mind is at birth a “blank slate” without rules, so data are added, and rules for processing them are formed solely by our sensory experiences.[81]

Jean-Jacques Rousseau pushed the approach of Hobbes to an extreme and criticized it at the same time. He was a contemporary and acquaintance of Hume, writing before the French Revolution and long before Darwin and Freud. He shocked Western civilization with his Second Discourse by proposing that humans had once been solitary animals, without reason or language or communities, and had developed these things due to accidents of pre-history. (This proposal was also less famously made by Giambattista Vico.) In other words, Rousseau argued that human nature was not only not fixed, but not even approximately fixed compared to what had been assumed before him. Humans are political, and rational, and have language now, but originally they had none of these things.[82] This in turn implied that living under the management of human reason might not be a happy way to live at all, and perhaps there is no ideal way to live. Rousseau is also unusual in the extent to which he took the approach of Hobbes, asserting that primitive humans were not even naturally social. A civilized human is therefore not only imbalanced and unhappy because of the mismatch between civilized life and human nature, but unlike Hobbes, Rousseau also became well known for the suggestion that primitive humans had been happier, “noble savages”.[83]

Rousseau’s conception of human nature has been seen as the origin of many intellectual and political developments of the 19th and 20th centuries.[84] He was an important influence upon Kant, Hegel, and Marx, and the development of German idealism, historicism, and romanticism.

What human nature did entail, according to Rousseau and the other modernists of the 17th and 18th centuries, were animal-like passions that led humanity to develop language and reasoning, and more complex communities (or communities of any kind, according to Rousseau).

In contrast to Rousseau, David Hume was a critic of the oversimplifying and systematic approach of Hobbes, Rousseau, and some others whereby, for example, all human nature is assumed to be driven by variations of selfishness. Influenced by Hutcheson and Shaftesbury, he argued against oversimplification. On the one hand, he accepted that, for many political and economic subjects, people could be assumed to be driven by such simple selfishness, and he also wrote of some of the more social aspects of “human nature” as something which could be destroyed, for example if people did not associate in just societies. On the other hand, he rejected what he called the “paradox of the sceptics”, saying that no politician could have invented words like “‘honourable’ and ‘shameful,’ ‘lovely’ and ‘odious,’ ‘noble’ and ‘despicable’”, unless there was not some natural “original constitution of the mind”.[85]

Hume—like Rousseau—was controversial in his own time for his modernist approach, following the example of Bacon and Hobbes, of avoiding consideration of metaphysical explanations for any type of cause and effect. He was accused of being an atheist. He wrote:
We needn’t push our researches so far as to ask “Why do we have humanity, i.e. a fellow-feeling with others?” It’s enough that we experience this as a force in human nature. Our examination of causes must stop somewhere.[85]

After Rousseau and Hume, the nature of philosophy and science changed, branching into different disciplines and approaches, and the study of human nature changed accordingly. Rousseau’s proposal that human nature is malleable became a major influence upon international revolutionary movements of various kinds, while Hume’s approach has been more typical in Anglo-Saxon countries, including the United States.[citation needed]

According to Edouard Machery, the concept of human nature is an outgrowth of folk biology and in particular, the concept of folk essentialism – the tendency of ordinary people to ascribe essences to kinds. Machery argues that while the idea that humans have an “essence” is a very old idea, the idea that all humans have a unified human nature is relatively modern; for a long time, people thought of humans as “us versus them” and thus did not think of human beings as a unified kind.[86]

Contemporary philosophy
The concept of human nature is a source of ongoing debate in contemporary philosophy, specifically within philosophy of biology, a subfield of the philosophy of science. Prominent cr

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