Does Human Nature Lean Toward Good Or Evil
Thursday, November 19, 2009 8:40 PM
This is the topic for this coming Monday. Here are some things to consider when deciding the answer to this question -
What is human nature? I'd suggest that it's whatever makes us what we are (as a species) that's significantly different from other animals.
Some believe that whether a person is nice or is a jerk depends on how he or she grew up; are we just blank slates until our genetics, environment, and culture shape us?
Human nature seems to lean toward selfishness (e.g., little kids tend to be selfish until they're forced to socialize); are evil people simply REALLY selfish individuals who act on that selfishness? I already regret asking this because somebody's gonna bring up Ayn Rand...
Certainly the overwhelming majority of social order (social mores, governments, etc...) seems to work for the benefit of people - treat people fairly and with some amount of dignity (presuming that an individual meets the definition of a "person" in the eyes of the society). Doesn't this indicate that there's a positive foundation within humanity?
There is lots of evidence of people who are evil/selfish/jerks/whatever - is there any evidence of people who are truly good (whatever that means)?
What do we say about ourselves in how we answer this question?