Leslie Stevenson And David L. Haberman's Ten Theories Of Human Nature

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Leslie Stevenson and David L. Haberman’s Ten Theories of Human Nature provides an insightful introduction to important philosophical, religious and scientific theories, or ideologies, and their depiction of human nature. The book is meant to provide the reader with a guidance for how we should live, based on ten different theories. The book consisted of ten chapters, each examining a particular theory, presented in a chronological order. Throughout each chapter, historical context was first provided to the reader, followed by a definition of essential terms, a diagnosis of the ways the theory depicts human nature, then a prescription for how one ought to live, and ending with later developments and interpretations. This pattern was followed…show more content…
Although the authors have succeeded in providing an introduction to newcomers in the philosophy of human nature, they have failed to embody the scientific theory of evolution in their theme and presented a misleading objective in their introduction.

Ten Theories of Human Nature has succeeded in putting forth an insightful introduction to influential theories in Western and Eastern philosophies. It fulfills one of the goals set in the introduction, that is to provide the reader with the necessary motivation to dig deeper into the theories they found most appealing. Each theory was provided with a correct amount of historical context, highlighting the importance of sociocultural factors in our understanding of the theory. In addition, the authors made sure to explain what branch of philosophy the theory belonged to and in what ways the theory was unique in its methodology, often contrasting it to other theories from the same branch. This was most essential in the section on Sartre’s theory of radical
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This is misleading however as the book brings the theories together and shows how they built up to our modern paradigms rather than cancelling each other out. The theories are rarely contrasted against each other but often compared. This is highlighted when the authors inject a historical interlude halfway through the novel. They recognize they are brushing past centuries of developments and use this chapter to outline said intellectual developments that occurred during those periods. This is done for example to help the readers understand how Kant’s beliefs came to be developed and what pre-existing philosophical pillars Kant developed on. The authors discuss the roots of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and outline faith during the middle ages, Christian reformation, the rise of science, and the enlightenment. All of this is done to show a progression of philosophy rather than a conflict of competition. When the authors conclude the book by synthesizing their own philosophy much of what they use comes from the work done by Kant and Darwin with reference to the ancient philosophy. For example when creating their Diagnosis of human nature the authors write: “ I see [Kant] as appealing at root to a fundamental moral principle of respect for all rational feelings … he was surely influenced by the Judeo-Christian … more than by
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