Human Nature Is Good Or Evil? Essay

Human Nature Is Good Or Evil? Essay

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A question that has plagued philosophers is whether humans are naturally good or evil. Various historical circumstances have show that there is no definitive answer and there is no consensus answer amongst philosophers.
Some philosophers, like Immanuel Kant, contend that human nature is indeed good. Kant is believes that an understanding of the human rational is essential to proving that humans are naturally good. Kant explains that humans are the only creature on earth that have reason and that our rational separates us from the other creatures of Earth. This reason enables us to distinguish what is moral and what immoral. Our reason means that we have a duty to follow what is morally correct. Kant elucidates, “to be beneficent where one can is a duty” (Kant 11). If being beneficent, or good, where one can is a duty, than humans must be naturally good. Humans are naturally good because their duty to be good, according to Kant, is actually derived from reason. A Human’s reason will distinguish whether or not the human’s actions are morally correct or not. If the action has moral content, than this action is a duty. “An action done form duty has its moral worth” (Kant 12). Kant illustrates that humans have an obligation to fulfill their duties. If this is true than they are indeed naturally good.
Other philosophers, like Thomas Hobbs, believe that humans are naturally evil. Hobbs view towards human nature is the opposite of Kant’s view. Hobbs explains that humans naturally, or in a state of nature, act without beneficence, or evilly. The state of nature is a way for Hobbs to describe how humans would act naturally if there were no society. For Hobbs, humans who inhabited this state of nature would be characterized as very irrati...


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...e is able to use his reason in order to discern what is moral and immoral. Man also has to fulfill his duty, which is guided by his reason, because if he does not he will feel guilt. This guilt is recognition of his failure to achieve true happiness, which all men strive to achieve. Men are also inherently (naturally) good because they go about attaining happiness without harming others. Those who might do evil and harm others are out of “the loop” and can be corrected.
In summation, many philosophers have studied the nature of humans to try to understand whether humans are good or evil. After examining the works of Immanuel Kant and Thomas Hobbs, I find that men are naturally good because of their ability to use their reason to discern what is moral and immoral and because of their ability to use their reason in order to achieve happiness without harming others.

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