Human Nature: Feelings, Psychology, Behaviors

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By definition, human nature includes the core characteristics (feelings, psychology, behaviors) shared by all people. We all have different experiences of the humans in our life, and this is where the disputes begin. Some people will tell you humans are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or ‘predators’ or ‘capable of great kindness.’ These views are colored by the influence of the people we know and what our culture and subcultures tell us. The group you are born into will pass on its particular ideas about what makes humans ‘human.’ In my opinion, Human nature is not universal. Many philosophers have different concept on human nature. Plato who is also known as dualist; there is both immaterial mind (soul) and material body, and it is the soul that knows the forms. According to him, the soul(mind) itself is divided into 3 parts: reason; appetite (physical urges); and will (emotion, passion, spirit.) The will is the source of love, anger, indignation, ambition, aggression, etc. When these aspects are not in harmony, we experience mental conflict. The will can be on the side of either reason or the appetites. We might be pulled by lustful appetite, or the rational desire to find a good partner. Plato also emphasized the social aspect of human nature. We are not self-sufficient, we need others, and we benefit from our social interactions, from other person’s talents, aptitudes, and friendship.

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Plato was a dualist who believed that we are composed of two substances, a material body, and immaterial mind. Aristotle rejects this. As a biologist, Aristotle recognized that living things include plants as well as human and non-human animals. [He says that plants have a vegetative structure (a way of functioning) which is primarily about taking in nutrients, reproducing, and the like. Non-human animals have this structure plus a sensitive structure which uses senses to interact with the environment and initiates desires. Human animals add to this a rational structure which makes them unique.] Each different thing then has a different structure or form. This is its formal cause in his language. Thus some things have a richer or more complex form than other things.

Thus the form of something does not exist independently; it is not an entity in itself. Rather it is the specific pattern or structure or form of a thing which defines how it exists and functions. [It is different to be structured as a rock, tree, dog, or human.] Thus for Aristotle it makes no sense to talk of a soul or mind without a body, for the essence of a person is embedded and intertwined with their matter. You can’t take it out of the body.

Aristotle also held that humans are social and political creatures who have activities common to all. He also thought that we can only reach our full development in societies. However he does not think that women are rational creatures, and his remarks are quite disparaging toward them. Perhaps worst of all, Aristotle advocated a doctrine of natural slavery the idea that some are naturally slaves. He thinks this is the status of non-Greek barbarians. Still, we should not reject the rest of Aristotle’s thought because he was a misogynist, racist, and imperialist.

If by human nature you mean that it is the genes we inherent with close enough relation to reproduce then human nature is universal in that way. But if by human nature you mean that a certain set of mental behaviors values or ideals can be universally applied to all human then that is absolutely false. All the people are unique and have different personalities. If all the people would react in a situation in a same way then there wouldn’t be any conflict among the people. Different people act differently in same situation. If human nature defined all the different values people can have, then there would not be so many different opposing values grinding against one another.

In simpler terms, existentialism is a philosophy concerned with finding self and the meaning of life through free will, choice, and personal responsibility. The belief is that people are searching to find out who and what they are throughout life as they make choices based on their experiences, beliefs, and outlook. And personal choices become unique without the necessity of an objective form of truth. An existentialist believes that a person should be forced to choose and be responsible without the help of laws, ethnic rules, or traditions.

Existentialism takes into consideration the underlying concepts:

  • Human free will
  • Human nature is chosen through life choices
  • A person is best when struggling against their individual nature, fighting for life
  • Decisions are not without stress and consequences
  • There are things that are not rational
  • Personal responsibility and discipline is crucial
  • Society is unnatural and its traditional religious and secular rules are arbitrary
  • Worldly desire is futile
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Human Nature: Feelings, Psychology, Behaviors. (2020, Feb 27). Retrieved December 3, 2022 , from
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