Who Are We?: Theories of Human Nature / Edition 1

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Overview

What is our nature? What is this enigma that we call human? Who are we? Since the dawn of human history, people have exhibited wildly contradictory qualities: good and evil, love and hate, strength and weakness, kindness and cruelty, aggressiveness and pacifism, generosity and greed, courage and cowardice. Experiencing a sense of eternity in our hearts—but at the same time confined to temporal and spatial constraints—we seek to understand ourselves, both individually and as a species.
In Who Are We? Theories of Human Nature, esteemed author Louis P. Pojman seeks to find answers to these questions by exploring major theories in Western philosophy and religion, along with several traditions in Eastern thought. The most comprehensive work of its kind, the volume opens with chapters on the Hebrew/Christian view of human nature and the contrasting classical Greek theories, outlining a dichotomy between faith and reason that loosely frames the rest of the book. The following chapters cover the medieval view, Hindu and Buddhist perspectives, conservative and liberal theories, Kant's Copernican revolution, Schopenhauer's pessimistic idealism, and Karl Marx's theory. Freud's psychoanalytic view, the existentialist perspective, the Darwinian view, and scientific materialism are also discussed. Pojman concludes with a discussion of the question of free will, ultimately asserting that each one of us must decide for ourselves who and what we are, and, based on that answer, how we shall live.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195179279
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/21/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 362,351
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
1. The Biblical Views of Human Nature: Judaism and Christianity
The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)
The Concept of Human Nature
Rules for Successful Living
The Prophets' Message
Summary for Hebrew Bible
The New Testament
Christ and the Concept of Human Nature
Jesus' Radical Message: Humanity is Made to Love
Paul's Vision of Human Nature
Justice and Responsibility (Mt. 25:14-30)
Summary for New Testament
2. The Greek Tradition on Human Nature: The Sophists and Socrates
The Rise of the Sophists
Socrates' Simple Moralist View of Human Nature: Knowledge Is Virtue
Socrates' Moral Philosophy: Virtue Is Knowledge
Summary
3. Plato's Theory of Human Nature
The Theory of Forms
Plato's Theory of Recollection and A Priori Knowledge
The Ascent to Knowledge
Justice and Human Nature
The Allegory of the Cave and the Meaning of Life
Summary
4. Aristotle's Theory of Human Nature
Introduction
Plato and Aristotle
The Nature of Ethics
A Political Person
The Functionalist Account of Human Nature
What is the Good Life?
The Ideal Type of Human
Summary
5. St. Augustine's Theory of Human Nature
Augustine's Life and Early Thought
Evil and the Free Will Defense
Augustine's Doctrine of Love as the Essence of Religion and Ethics
The Doctrine of the Great Chain of Being
Summary
6. The Hindu and Buddhist Theories of Human Nature
Hinduism
History and Main Ideas
Metaphysics
Epistemology
Theory of Human Nature
Morality, Dharma, and the Caste System
Bhagavad Gita
Conclusion to Hinduism
Buddhism
Life of Buddha
Buddha's Teachings
The Four Noble Truths
Conclusion to Buddhism
7. Classical Conservative and Liberal Theories of Human Nature: Hobbes and Rousseau
Thomas Hobbes: A Conservative Theory of Human Nature
Introduction
Hobbes' Account of Human Nature: Humans as Machines
Hobbes' Account of Morality: The State of Nature
Conclusion to Hobbes
Jean Jacques Rousseau: A Liberal Theory of Human Nature
Introduction
Human Nature Is Good
The Social Contract
The Noble Savage and Emile
Conclusion to Rousseau
Summary: A Comparison Between Conservative and Liberal Perspectives
8. Immanuel Kant's Copernican Revolution
The Kantian Epistemic Revolution
Kant's Moral Theory: The Categorical Imperative
Kant's Transcendental Apperception: The Elusive Self
Freedom of the Will
On God and Immortality
Summary
9. Arthur Schopenhauer's Pessimistic Idealism
Introduction
The World as Idea
The Will to Live
Salvation from the Sufferings of Existence
Morality
Schopenhauer, Sex, and Psychoanalysis
Summary
10. Karl Marx's Theory of Human Nature
Introduction
Ten Marxist Theses
Secularity and Religion
A Manifesto for a Revolutionary Program
Conclusion
Summary
11. Sigmund Freud's Theory of Human Nature: Pansexuality and Psychoanalysis
Introduction
The Trinity of Personality
Id
Ego
Superego
Sexuality
Consciousness and the Unconscious
Dreams as Wish Fulfillment
Religion
Civilization and Its Discontents
Rival Psychoanalytic Theories
Summary
12. The Existentialist Theory of Human Nature: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Sartre
Introduction
Three Theses of Existentialism
An Assessment of Existentialism
Summary
13. The Darwinian Theory of Human Nature
Introduction: The Shaking of the Foundations
Darwinian Evolution
Evolution and Evil
Social Darwinism and Sociobiology
Evolution and Ethics
Summary
14. Human Nature in Contemporary Theories of the Mind
Dualistic Interactionism
The Classical Dualist Theory
A Critique of Dualistic Interactionism
Materialism
Functionalism and Biological Naturalism
Dualism Revisited
Summary
15. The Paradox of Human Nature: Are We Free?
Free Will and Determinism
Libertarianism
The Argument from Deliberation
The Determinist's Objection to the Argument from Deliberation
The Libertarian Counterresponse: Agent Causation
Objection to Arguments from Introspection
The Argument from Quantum Physics (A Peephole of Free Will)
The Argument from Moral Responsibility
Metaphysical Compatibilism
Summary
Conclusion
What Is The Truth About Human Nature?
Do We Have Free Will or Are We Wholly Determined by Antecedent Causes?
What Is Our Telos or Destiny?
What Can We Know?
How Shall We Live?
How Are the Two Sexes Related?
What Is More Fundamental, the Individual or the Group?
What Are Our Obligations to Others and How Far Do Our Ethical Obligations Extend?
Glossary
Index

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