Transcript Chapter 2

Chapter 2
Human Nature
What kind of being am I?
Moritz Schlick – psychological egoism
The theory that human beings can only act in their self
Hobbes and Freud – human beings are essentially nasty,
selfish and aggressive. (pages 48-49)
How would this view of human nature affect how a person
thinks society should be organized?
What is human nature?
The Traditional Rational view:
Aristotle – doctrine of the mean
Plato – chariot analogy (see page 54)
While both of these philosophers have a teleological view
regarding what it means to be human, Aristotle is a materialist
whereas Plato uses the word Forms. For Plato, the forms are
eternal and perfect ideals that exist in an unchanging and
perfect heaven.
What are the implications of defining humans as rational
Aristotle claimed that if one group of persons was less
rational than another they would be less than human, and
could justifiably be enslaved by those who were more
Natural law theory
This view holds that the world has a rational purpose
built into nature. Everything has a purpose. The “Laws of
Nature” not only describe how things are but how they
ought to be. We can grasp these laws because God has
made us rational creatures.
Does this view have assumptions of cultural superiority?
Is being natural always good? Why or why not?
Human nature
If we follow the laws of nature, what does this mean?
What are some constantly recurring features of human
If human beings have a propensity for jealousy,
vengefulness, selfishness, and so forth than perhaps we
should not follow our nature.
Darwin’s challenge
Charles Darwin proposed two key ideas: Animals and
plants are sometimes born by chance with features that
are different from those of their parents and that they can
pass on to their offspring variations and that because
animals produce more offspring that can survive. Over
time, this process can make animals gradually change into
new species. This also applies to humans, according to
What are the implications of this view point? If humans
evolve, than can morality evolve?
Existentialist challenge
What does Jean-Paul Sartre say about the traditional
rationalist view?
Feminist challenge
Plato associates the soul with reason and opposed these
two to the body and its earthly desires. The “pure” soul
is supposed to rule over the “impure” body.
Please read the quote on page 71 by Aristotle.
Is it really possible just to take out misogynistic quotes
and stir to have a gender neutral philosophy?
The first part of this video is a good summary of
Descartes theory of dualism.