This is the second assignment given by the university. This assignment is about describing the human uniqueness and human nature through the views of Plato, Aristotle and Existentialists regarding their view towards the Human Nature.
It is the one of the course assignment. I would like to thank MR. Deepak Poudyal for helping me out with this assignment. This assignment helps us to know the views of the different philosopher regarding human nature. This is written in plain English language so that everyone can understand. The main concept of this assignment is to enlighten the human’s thinking capacity which is not universal rather it is unique in every way
The term ‘human nature’ refers to much more than a human behavior. It actually means a bundle of basic characteristics or core characteristics including ways of thinking, feeling, acting, psychology, behaviors and traits of beings which humans seems to have naturally. Human nature means the peculiar features that humans tend to have. These features include the manner of acting, emotion expressing desire, and thinking which are independent from the cultural influences. So, people to be competitive, selfish and aggressive is only a human nature. Many Philosophers and scholars have defined human nature based on major schools of thought from human history. Some religion scholars believe that spiritual or religious natures are the essential factors in human nature. For example, Judeo-Christian belief presents humans are the creations of God that have free will, which provides them both dignity and ethical dangers. Buddhists think that to be human is to be aware (conscious) and to desire. The questions about what the human features are, how natural they are, and how they originate are among the most alerting questions regarding the philosophy of human person. More broadly, in Western cultures, the discussions usually begin with Plato and Aristotle in classical Greece. Plato believed that humans were rational, social animals, and he referred our nature with our souls and ability to reason (think) rather than our bodies. But unlike Plato, Aristotle believed that both body and soul connects to our human identity. These theories have been built upon each other and adapted over time.
Plato was one of the early stars of Western philosophy. He studied under the great Greek savant, Socrates. Plato founded the Academy in his native Athens which became a famous haunt of philosophical and scientific parley, and is considered by many as the first known university in the world. Plato’s writings mostly take the form of dialogues, or dialectics, in which knowledge is revealed as two figure ask and answer questions of each other..
Plato thought that there are both immaterial part (soul) and material body i.e he was a dualist, and it is the soul that knows the forms. He believed that the immaterial mind (soul) exists before birth and after death also. Thus he believed that the immaterial mind attains knowledge of the forms, as opposed to the senses. Needless to say, he referred that human beings should care about soul rather than their body.
The immaterial mind is divided into 3 parts, reason (thinking ability); appetite (physical urges); and will (emotion, passion, spirit.). The reasoning part is located in the human brain and it controlled the entire body. The will, responsible for the feelings and temper along with desires, occupied the chest of the human body. The third part called appetite was in charge of the basic human necessities such as thirst, hunger, or lust and was located in the stomach. The will is the foundation of love, anger, ambition, aggression, competition etc. When these aspects are not in harmony, mental conflict arises. The will can be on the side of either reason or the appetites. We might be attracted by appetite, or the consistent desire to find a good partner. To explain the interrelationship of these 3 parts of the self, Plato uses the image of the charioteer (reason) who tries to control horses which represents will and appetites.
Plato also focused the social elements of human nature. We are not self-dependent that is why we need help of others in different matters so that we can get benefit from our social interactions, from other person’s talents, aptitudes, and friendship.
Plato was an adherent of dualism who believed that we are comprised of two substances, a material body, and immaterial mind. Aristotle does not agree on this. Aristotle differed primarily in his belief that both body and soul contributed to our human identity.
Aristotle was an Ancient Greek philosopher and scientist who is still considered one of the greatest intellectuals in politics, psychology and ethics. Aristotle is known for his carefully comprehensive study about nature and the physical world, which apply the cornerstone for the modern study of biology. Aristotle spent nearly 20 years at Plato’s Academy
These theories are not mutually exclusive, but have been constructed upon each other and adapted over time. As a biologist, Aristotle understood that living things include plants as well as human and non-human animals. Aristotle says that plants have a vegetative structure a specific way of functioning which is mainly about taking in nutrients, reproducing, etc. Non-human animals have this structure along with 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 distinct. Each different thing has a different structure. This is its formal cause in the language of Aristotle. Thus some things have a richer or difficult to understand form or structure than other things. Thus for Aristotle it is of no use to talk of a soul or mind without a body, for the essence of a person is embedded and intertwined with their matter. One can’t remove it out of the body. Aristotle differs from Plato in a sense that, our highest power is what distinguishes human nature. The purpose of humans is to use their reason to think and control their desires and aggressions
The only exception is that divine intellectual functioning may take place without a body. Yet it is difficult to see how this could be the matter. For instance, even if computers think without bodies their thinking still relies on material aspects. A disembodied thought is conceptually full of problems, although many Christians and Islamists who followed Aristotle welcomed the possibility. As for normal embodied human beings, Aristotle’s major differentiation is between their rational component and their feelings and desires. He also differentiated between theoretical and practical reasoning.
On the other hand, Existentialists views deny that all humans have the same fixed nature. Existentialism is a term applied to some late 19th- and 20th-century sophists who may not have resolved about much, but who all believed that each person must define themselves in an preposterous, fallacious world. In simpler terms, existentialism is concerned with finding self and the meaning of life through free will, choice, and personal responsibility. The conviction is that people are searching to find out whom and what they are throughout life as they make choices based on their experiences, notion, and outlook. And personal choices become unique without the exigency of an objective form of truth.
They believed that for human beings existence comes before essence. What they meant by this was that, humans are first born (exist) and then define their nature (essence) by acting. – Human beings have no pre-established motive or nature, nor anything that one have to or ought to be. They did not agree in an ordinary human nature which could be the root of morality. The basics of the human predicament are that we are compelled to choose what we will become, to explain ourselves by our choice of action: all that is provided is that we are, not what we are. Existentialism says there are no universal human nature, no rational human nature, and no purpose for human nature.
Human nature is the means to be a member of a unique species i.e capable of reasoning and many more things that makes us different from anything else or any other creature in the universe. Fundamental properties that define a human being are:-
As far as we know, humans have the distinct and very power of thinking which develops curiosity in them: the ability to visualize the future in much possible ways along with the outmost question of how it is done, i.e to actually create the future we imagine, to make visible the invisible. Creativity is both a blessing and a curse for humans, causing many of us endless worry and anxiety. Without the power of creativity and thinking human wouldn’t be different from other animals.
The ability to laugh and enjoy everything, to see the different aspects of life like:- funny and entertaining. Laughing, a form of showing happiness is also something that makes us unique than other beings. Humor is one of the basic of which human posses that makes human different and unique.
We as a human can tell different stories, picture situations that may arise in the future, empathize with others’ experiences, think of potential explanations for why something has taken place, plan how to share knowledge or teach skills, and even reflect on moral dilemmas. We can perform all these activities due to our imagination.
Other than some species like booboos and dolphins, we humans are the only species on the planet who are fond of copulating which is one of the unique qualities of the human. Sex thought, craving, and experience it is an essential part of being human. This makes eroticism a special and distinct feature of human beings
Tell a human being not to do something, and you’re guaranteed they’re going to do it just because it’s forbidden that’s a unique fact of the human nature. But our rebelliousness is not something to be trained out of us. It is natural and symptom of self expression and exploration. The specialty that only human has and can be consider fundamental quality of human nature.
Human beings have ability to see beauty and are capable of creating and experiencing beauty in millions of different forms. One can also perceive the perfection of the universe, i.e its beauty. We love and admire beauty because we are a part of it. This idea relates to ones style and appreciation of the things they found beautiful, s Humans loves to consider different scenarios. The beautiful things around us are beautiful because we love them and admire them. This is also one of the qualities of the human nature.
Another fundamental quality of human nature is ones free will. Our decisions are far more independent of nature than any species. Human have ability to think what they should do and of the consequences of their actions and choices .These are the meaningful differences that give rise to the concept of freewill.
People thoughts will likely vary according to how they perceive human nature. If human nature is something we must be born with, then we may be neither good nor bad or cooperative nor selfish. But if human nature is simply the way people implies to act based on our innate and impulsive signals, then it seems that we are an accommodating species, willing to give for the good of the group even when it comes at our own personal charge.
Greek philosophers believe that humans have the capacity to decide what is considered good or what consider being wrong is. This means that humans have the ability to exercise free will. It is challenging to explore the subject of human nature. Humans are cooperative and at the same time competitive, peace-loving and violent, friendly and suspicious because of their nature. The desire to have something or to hate something it is all part of our nature. We are the way we are. We must define what it means to be good, not because we are so good, but because there is no alternative. Without humans there is no morality neither there is evil. Human beings are much more than merely self-centered, aggressive, and competitive. Human beings are a smart, talkative, upright ape with a penchant for material possessions.
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