Analysis Of Stephen Pinker's 'Human Nature And The Blank Slate'

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Hsun Tzu, Chinese philosopher, argued Man’s nature is evil; goodness is the result of conscious activity. As Tzu writes, “Man is born with the desires of the eyes and ears, with a fondness for beautiful sights and sounds”(100-101). Through life though, one is able to decide what path to take; continue to be evil or become a better person. In a Ted Talk, Stephen Pinker discussed ‘Human Nature and the Blank Slate.’ Pinker made several strong reasons why one should doubt “Blank Slate”: one being children and another being people being born with certain instincts. Pinker claimed that children were born innocently evil; as the kid grows older the parents teach him/her what is right and what is not right. People are born with different instincts…show more content…
Humans “goodness derives from conscious activity,” (101). Tzu compared conscious activity to a teacher that is helping their student become a better person. For example, when I started swimming lessons I could not swim to save my life. As I continued to keep on practicing and attending swim lessons, I became a better swimmer and now I have mastered swimming. I was not naturally good at swimming but I was nurtured and now I can swim on my own. Tzu talks about a warped piece of wood that “must wait until it has been laid against the straightening board, steamed and forced into shape before it can become straight” (101). He then compares the piece of board to man’s nature, evil. Because man’s nature is evil, “it must wait for the instructions of a teacher before it can become upright” (101). One could question, If
 human
 nature
 is
 evil then
 where
 does ritual
 and
 rightness
 come
 from? Ritual and Rightness come from the conscious activity of human beings. Because humans are naturally evil, they seek goodness and order that comes from ritual and rightness activities. The existing of kings and leaders also gives prove that man’s nature is evil. If humans were naturally good then the need for government would not be needed, but because humans lack order, the establishment of a ruler given all authority to set laws to maintain order has forever

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