Blog #3: Round 1 of research
Are humans born selfish?
As I discussed in my blog post #2 For my first round of research, I will be reaching the concept of human nature, and whether it is something that actually exists.
People describe human nature as different traits or characteristics that all humans share, but people and philosophers often debate on whether the theory of human nature is something that really exists. Philosophers such as Edouard Machery argues that human nature is a set of characteristics that humans tend to have due to evolution, while other philosophers like David hull dispute that there are no traits that are distinctly human therefore there cannot be such a thing as human nature (1). Moreover, as I stated Eduard Machery thinks that human nature is derived from evolution; this way of thinking is not dissimilar to social Darwinism. Social Darwinism is the theory that humans are also subject to survival of the fittest, just as plants and animals are, meaning that humans should do anything that they can to survive or climb their way to the top of our society (3). This theory basically implies that humans are selfish and greedy due to “natural selection” and that we are just like animals, in the way that we fight each other for things like food just to survive. I think that this theory is inherently flawed as its only comparing us to animals that fight each other like wolves, while we look at other thriving species such as bees, and ants, and we see they have created a society that in which they rely on each other, and share their resources. Not to mention social Darwinism was often used by people such as Herbert Spencer to promote capitalism, and eugenics, by saying things such as “The poor were the unfit and should not be aided” (4). Furthermore, researcher Maarten van Doorn says; “We design human nature by designing the institutions within which people live and work.”(2). Meaning that the systems of which we live by are a result of our false notions of human nature, and these systems help enforce the idea of human nature (2). We look at capitalism and we see how people are fighting and exploiting people just to get to the top of the economic ladder, and this is a perfect example of how this is making us think that being greedy, or selfish is a trait that all humans possess. In conclusion, although people will always have different opinions and views than me, After researching, I do not think that human nature is really a “thing” , rather it is a way of thinking that enforces the systems of which we live by.
- Danaher, J. (1970, January 01). Does human nature exist? on the philosophy of human nature. Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://philosophicaldisquisitions.blogspot.com/2017/08/does-human-nature-exist-on-philosophy.html
2. Doorn, M. (2019, June 19). Human nature is created, not discovered. Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://medium.com/the-understanding-project/human-nature-is-created-not-discovered-5de6a6f559e9
3. Messerly, J. (2021, March 30). Summary of darwinism on human nature. Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://reasonandmeaning.com/2014/11/24/3651/
4. Social darwinism. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/social-Darwinism