Nature and Value of Humans

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- 19th century economist and sociologist Karl Marx

-Humans need to work; they only gain fulfilment and satisfaction through work

-The capitalist structure of society needed to be overnthrown by communism by a revolution

-Marx believed humans had faults in their nature, maily caused by the alienation of social classes within the capitalist system

-Only through a revolution and the success of  communist system can human nature be perfected

-Described religion as the 'opiate of the people' because religion in Victorian Britan caused the proletariats to accept unfair treatment and alienation which made them imperfect by nature

Therefore- humans have a largely good nature, only made imperfect by external factors such as society

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-20th century psychologist and founder of psychoanalysis

-Believed human nature was generally bad and immoral

-Said, "The human mind is like an iceberg", because the majority of our human nature is unconcious which, if permitted, would manifest itself in crimes such as murder or incest

-We must control this immoral subconcious 

-Said, "I have found little that is 'good' about human beings

-Humans are deterministic beings with little choice over their actions

Therefore -  human nature is largely evil and immoral, even if not appearing so on the surface

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Richard Dawkins

-21st century atheist and biologist (Author of 'The Selfish Gene')

-humans pass on genes through reproduction

-although there is beauty in the world which can be appreciated by humans who have a sense of the aesthetic, biologically human nature has no other purpose but to pass on genes and when this process is complete they die

-humans are also 'meme machines' (meme= any behavious or idea passed on by people through a culture)

-argued that memes control human nature, however, humans may have the freedom and ability to control some memes

-supports the Darwinian belief that human nature, like all nature, is 'red in tooth and claw' ; humans by nature will fight for their survival

Therefore - human nature is determministic and geared to act in whatever way will ensure our success and survival, regardless of how immoral the act is

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-humans are only temporary beings and don't exist as a 'self', only as a section of the cycle of rebirth (their existance causes the beginning of another)

-human nature is to desire permanence and to become attatched to life which is part of Dukkha (Dukkha=a humans desire to change their life)

-human nature has the ability to be immoral and so Buddhists follow the Dharma (Dharma=teachings of Buddha) in order to gain good Karma

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-Humans are autonomous agents who have a God-given free will to make moral decisions

-Freedom in human nature gives humans the potential to sin and therefore human nature is imperfect

-The Fall is an example of the imperfection of human nature; in Genesis 3 Adam is tempted to disobey God by eating from the tree of knowledge

-Humans are disobedient, imperfect and desire knowledge

-10 commandments, eg. 'thou shall not kill', act as guidelines for a moral human life regardless of our imperfect nature and have influenced many laws in Western society

-Original sin is part of human nature; in Romans 5:12, St. Paul writes, 'Since the Fall of man, humans have the stain of original sin'

-Humans are the creation of God and made in his image (Imagio Dei) and are the closest entity on Earth to God so our human nature is God-given

Therefore- human nature is God-given and essentially good, but freedom gives it the chance to sin

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-Eg. 19th century existentialist Heidegger

-No such thing as human 'essence' or human nature

-Every decision is teleological

-Humans determine their own thoughts and actions, not a Deity

-The universe is Godless and meaningless

Therefore - Questions on human nature are irrelevant because there is no such thing as human nature/essense

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