My Ssec Capstone Project Questions about human nature have arisen since the beginning of human thought development

Questions about human nature have arisen since the beginning of human thought development

Questions about human nature have arisen since the beginning of human thought development. What are human beings? Why are they in the world? Do they have a final purpose? These questions could be considered as the first step of philosophy, the fact that human beings start to reflect on themselves to reach some conclusions to understand their lives in a better way.
The idea of how humans are configured morally by nature has been deeply analyzed by many philosophers, especially because of the important link of this matter with politics. In fact, that question could even be considered as one of the main questions of political philosophy, due to the importance of the qualities of humans to develop any kind of political system.
In his book, Moral Minds: The unconscious voice of right and wrong, Marc D. Hauser states the possibility of the existence of a moral organ, an organ that provides humans the sense of right and wrong since they are born. This idea of humans morally constricted by nature has tried to be confirmed by using several experiments such as the prisoner’s dilemma. This idea tried to expose the existence and the importance of the idea of cooperation and how far this moral principle could constrict a person. The results have not clarified whether this thesis is true or not. However, this is not a brand-new dilemma. In this essay, two absolutely different postures of this matter are exposed, Aristotle’s and Hobbes’s thesis that have tried to reach a final conclusion that could shed some light to the question about morality and human nature.
Aristotle’s thesis is clearly summarized in the term ???? ?????????, an ancient Greek expression that literally means “political animal”. The idea of Aristotle was essential that humans are naturally social. The will of creating a society, that is inherent for humanity, is what conclude in the creation of politics. This postulate is defined within the scope of political naturalism; that basically defends the concept of the State as a creation of nature, prior to the existence of humanity.
Human associations existed from the early days. They have been created spontaneously, from the simplest one, a couple or a family, to the union of several families and the subsequent creation of a State. However, why humans prefer to be accompanied by their equals rather than live alone? Following Aristotle’s ideas, humans are naturally social, that’s what the concept of “political animal” try to explain, the fact that human beings have a natural tendency of being surrounded by other people. The reason for this situation is quite simple, humans tend to create associations in order to accomplish their needs.
Consequently, the apparent goal of the human community is to fulfill the necessities of everyone. Therefore, there is the highest goal that is more important than the simple fulfillment of practical needs. Human communities and the finest form of them, the State, have a final purpose, to provide their members the possibility of living a good life. This way, it’s possible to distinguish between two different sides of the State’s goals. On the one hand, a pragmatic side and, on the other, a more teleological one, whose final objective would be to reach the good life.
Finally, it’s important to clarify that, State is considered to be prior to the individual and the other forms of communities “since the whole is of necessity prior to the part”. To explain it in a proper and easiest way, Aristotle used the human body metaphor, comparing the State with a whole human body and the individuals or the primitive associations (families, for example) with parts of this body, that cannot work independently without the help of the other components.
However, Aristotle’s thesis of State is not only based on the cooperation between humans, because that would create a dilemma, where is the difference between human’s societies and animal associations? The key to this question is the power of speech that allows humans to create the conditions of their convivence. Animals are restricted by instinct while human beings can establish the basis of their associations by debating and arguing them.
Aristotle also believed that individuals who are not active members of the society, “tribeless, lawless, heartless one” are completely lost. He considered these persons either beast or gods, “bad man or above humanity”. (Politeia, Aristotle)
On the other side, Hobbes’s thesis can be expressed in the Latin sentence homo homini lupus that literally means “a man is a wolf for the other man”. The idea underlying this quote is quite simple, humans are bad by nature and don’t have any sense of natural cooperation that Aristotle defend. This way, if humans are not capable of co-operating between them, their natural state is war, a situation of constant conflict with the ones that surround themselves. However, this state of nature is obviously negative for the development of humanity and, consequently, humans, as rational beings, decide to create an agreement to avoid these circumstances of conflict and war. That’s the origin of State, the necessity of creating it caused its development. (Leviathan, Hobbes)
There is a clear connection between the two theories, the necessity caused the creation of the State. Nevertheless, the two stances are in conflict because differed on the key feature, are humans good or not? They might be good by nature and want to create the State to get the good life as a society but respecting every individual’s good life. They might be bad by nature and just want to create the State to avoid the evilness of the rest, looking for their own survival.
This difference is even more important because it caused two different ways of understanding the necessity of creating a State. On the one hand, the cooperation of Aristotle, based on the idea of the natural goodness of humanity, supposed a situation where the State is the result of a collective will of have a greater life. However, this feeling is not selfish because, firstly, it’s not a feeling natural for human beings and, secondly, the idea of society is so important for each individual ¡ that they just want to cooperate in order to reach the goal that all of them share, reaching a better life, the good life.