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A Philosophical View on Human Nature

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By paulexile
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What it means to be human: a philosophical view on human nature

Eyong Tabot
SOSC 1012
Dimitris Kagia
Thursday, March 10th 2016
1
Humanity, what does it mean to be human? Are we simply static beings defined by our ability to walk upright, and perform a range of mechanical tasks? Or does our ability to process thought, pass judgment, and adapt to a changing environment completely define us? For us to determine what it means to be human, we must observe humans actions within their environment. Many philosophers gave answers to the question what does it mean to be human? Now we can form an opinion by exploring these answers. Within this essay, we will be comparing and contrasting the views of two philosophers, Socrates in “The Republic” and Jean-Jacq Rousseau in part one of the “Discourse on the Origin of inequality”. Socrates believed Human nature is unchanging while Rousseau believed humans changed. As we explore both accounts can we find an answer to what it means to be human?
In Socrates’s perspective, human nature was like the three classes found in the Polis (The Greek word for community). He believed the three classes which made up the polis were: the rulers, the guardians, and the workers. The rulers created laws, the guardians enforced these laws and the workers followed those laws. The stability of the polis revolved around the boundaries set by those three classes which cannot be crossed. Thus, a worker could not become a guardian, a guardian could not be a ruler and a ruler could not be a worker. Socrates compared the value of the classes to different qualities of metal. Gold was the highest, bronze was lowest and gold cannot become bronze vice versa. The men of a golden value were given more important roles in the polis than the men of a bronze value. If a man with a bronze value was given a role for a man with a golden value then the polis would…...

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