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Unique in both scope and organization, this book presents an intriguing yet challenging introduction to the world's great ideas concerning the nature of human nature — with a sampling of different approaches. The selections are drawn from religious writings, academic treatises, nonfiction, fiction, etc. — enabling readers to encounter the great thinkers through their own words. Organizes selections into intellectually coherent topics— Religious/Mythic Views, The Mind, The Social Setting, The Human Animal? — and then subtopics — e.g., The Role of Reason, The Limits of Reason, People Are Basically Nasty, People Are Basically Good, Animals as “Human,” and Vice Versa, Sex and Gender, etc.
I. RELIGIOUS VIEWS.
1. In the Beginning: Views of Creation and Being.
Hindu: Bhagavad Gita. Buddhist: Prajnaparamita Sutra. Taoist: The Tao Te Ching. Judeo-Christian: Old Testament. Christian: New Testament. Muslim: Koran (or Qur'an).
2. Body and Soul.
Plato: Phaedo. Augustine: The City of God. Lucretius: On the Nature of Things. Aquinas: Summa Theologica and Summa Contra Gentiles.
II. THE MIND.
3. The Imprint of Experience.
Locke: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Hume: A Treatise on Human Nature. Kant: Critique of Pure Reason and Critique of Practical Reason.
4. The Role of Reason.
Plato: The Republic and Phaedrus. Aristotle: The Nicomachean Ethics. Smith: The Wealth of Nations. Doyle: A Study in Scarlet.
5. The Limits of Reason.
Dostoyevsky: Notes From Underground. Crane: The Black Riders.
6. The Mind/Brain Problem.
Descartes: Discourse on the Method, Meditations on First Philosophy, Treatise on Man, and Automatism of Brutes. La Mettrie: Man a Machine. Crick, The Astonishing Hypothesis.
Watson: Behaviorism. Skinner: Science and Human Behavior and Beyond Freedom and Dignity.
Freud: The Interpretation of Dreams, The Ego and the ID, Totem and Taboo, and Civilization and Its Discontents.
III. THE SOCIAL SETTING.
9. People are Basically Bad.
Plato: The Republic. Augustine: The City of God. Hobbes: The Leviathan. Kafka: The Bucket Rider.
10. People are Basically Good.
Rousseau: Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (The Second Discourse). Kropotkin: Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution.
11. People are Basically a Product of Their Cultures.
Durkheim: Rules of Sociological Method. Boas: The Mind of Primitive Man. Kroeber: The Superorganic.
12. Marxist “Man” and Alienation.
Marx: Comments on James Mill, The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, The Grundrisse, and Das Kapital. Markham: The Man with the Hoe.”
13. The Pursuit of Power.
Machiavelli: The Prince. Nietzsche: The Antichrist and Thus Spake Zarathustra. London: The Sea-Wolf.
14. The Existential Imagination.
Kiergegaard: Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, and Concluding Unscientific Postscript. Sartre: Existentialism and Humanism and Being and Nothingness. Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus and The Plague.
15. Sex and Gender.
Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Women. Mill: The Subjection of Women. Stanton: Introductin to The Women's Bible. Woolf: A Room of One's Own. Beauvoir: The Second Sex. Gilligan: In a Different Voice.
IV. THE HUMAN ANIMAL?
16. Humans as Animals, and Vice Versa.
Swift: Gulliver's Travels. Lorenz: On Aggression. D. Griffin: Animal Minds.
17. Evolution and Sociobiology.
Darwin: The Origin of Species, and The Descent of Man. Wilson: Sociobiology and On Human Nature. Dawkins: The Selfish Gene.
18. Uniquely Human?
Becker: The Denial of Death. Pinker: The Language Instinct. Westermarck: The History of Human Marriage.