Essay about Authors' Conceptions of Human Nature

Essay about Authors' Conceptions of Human Nature

Length: 3888 words (11.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Research Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Authors' Conceptions of Human Nature

Philosophers, politicians, and writers throughout all of the western world and
across all of our written history have discovered the importance of knowing human nature. Human nature is responsible for our definitions of abstract concepts that are surprisingly universal across the western world like justice, equity, and law. Human nature must also be carefully studied in an effort to understand, obtain, or maintain power within society. Finally, human nature must also be carefully understood so as to protect it from being manipulated and to understand its place in society.

In ancient Greece, Aeschylus sought to define for the people of Athens the part of
human nature that necessitates justice and power. At the end of his series of plays in the Oresteia, Aeschylus tells the story of Orestes and the progression of justice. The final play, The Eumenides, ends with a struggle between different definitions of justice. Orestes is a youth charged with matricide which is punishable by death according to the Furies and the traditional method of restoring equity. Athena, however, offers a form of justice that considers the context of a person’s actions when restoring equity. In the case of Orestes, the context of his case is the guidance given to him by Apollo and the wrongs that he had suffered as a result of his mother, Clytaemestra. Athena’s understanding of human nature is that the ideas of compassion and empathy coexist with the concept of justice in the minds of most people. As a result, Athena establishes a jury comprised of the peers of Orestes so that they may judge him with understanding for both the context of Orestes’s actions and the need for justice for the death of Cl...

... middle of paper ...

...ssful and that followers must be taught to fear their ruler in order to be judged good citizens. Even Aeschylus wrote that humans must fear a higher power and order for them to act righteously. Finally, Hannah Arendt writes that the ability for human nature to be manipulated in an effort to spread hypocrisy leads to destruction. Because all applications of justice begin with human nature and ideals that are supposed common to all people, human nature must be constantly studied in order to gain a better understanding of justice, law, and power.

Works Cited

Aeschylus. Oresteia. Chicago: U of Chicago, 1953.

Arendt, Hannah. The Portable Hannah Arendt. New York: Penguin, 2000.

Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1995.

Somerville, John and Ronald E. Santoni. Social and Political Philosophy. New York: Anchor Books, 1963.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Conceptions of Happiness Essay

- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is a negative utopian science-fiction novel. The masses are given access to vast amounts of pleasure. Sex, drugs and various other indulgences are readily available to anyone. The society remains a negative utopia though. People are ripped of any passion they might hold, real science remains stagnant, and people cannot live past the age of sixty. But citizens of the novel still seem to be jubilant, even those of the lower castes. That is because the government of Brave New World gives them no choice but happiness....   [tags: Maslow, Aldous Huxley]

Research Papers
1239 words (3.5 pages)

The State Of Nature : A Questionable Conceit Of The Enlightenment Essay

- The State of Nature: A Questionable Conceit of the Enlightenment Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are all Enlightenment-era philosophers from the disciplines of early social and political science that each propose and outline their own forms of civil society (all of which rely on the idea of a social contract in some way) and corresponding models of sovereignty. The three authors fall along a spectrum of ideologies. Hobbes argues for an absolute monarchy enforced by a social contract that requires citizens to divest all their power into a single leader, known as the “Leviathan” (Hobbes 120-121)....   [tags: Political philosophy, State of nature]

Research Papers
1083 words (3.1 pages)

Universal Human Rights? Essay examples

- Throughout the years, the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter, the PRC) has remained notorious for its explicit defiance of international human right norms. These norms, codified in the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter, the UDHR), define human rights to be “inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” (The Universal Declaration). While this declaration seeks to cement a set of universal human rights in the international community, it fails to take into account the idea of cultural relativism and its effects on different cultural perspectives of human values....   [tags: Human Rights Essays]

Research Papers
1917 words (5.5 pages)

Sociological Perspectives On The Nature Of Religion Essay

- Religion has been a source of fascination to the scientists for very many years, hundreds of years. Anthropological theories of taboos and totem, sociological theories of functionalism, biological investigations of the ‘religious mind, or the evolutionary theories of optimal adaptation, are just a few of the examples of the several attempts to understand the origin and the prominent existence of religion in the human societies. It is argued that a fundamental feature of any of these religion theories should be an explanation between two aspects that are most observed, the individual and the social aspects....   [tags: Sociology, Religion, Émile Durkheim]

Research Papers
1143 words (3.3 pages)

The Human Condition Essay

- The multitude of underlying notions central to the all-encompassing human condition, as portrayed and delved into within a wide variety of literary and visual texts, are just as crucial to an exploration of humanity as the numerous vivid emotions and feelings they evoke. Love’s proclivity for overriding ordinary sane instincts, the nature of social connections or lack thereof amongst people in a community, and the persistent impacts of profoundly bitter regret are all particular concepts of the human condition regularly examined by authors of creative works....   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Research Papers
2259 words (6.5 pages)

Life Permeates The Works Of Providence Essay

- The discussion of the role of providence in one’s life permeates the works of Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano, as they both attempt to convey how God interacts with humans. This relationship brings up questions of salvation both in the immediate and the eternal. In Equiano’s narrative and Wheatley’s “Thoughts on the Works of Providence,” providence is a saving presence, but it is viewed from different theological perspectives, specifically that of humanity’s weakness and the unchanging realities of the natural world respectively....   [tags: God, Jesus, Conceptions of God, Universe]

Research Papers
1772 words (5.1 pages)

Essay on The Nature Of Human Nature

- The nature of humanity has been an inalienable component of establishing significant classical theories by political scientists in the history of politics. Even Aristotle, widely regarded as a crucial contributor to forging politics as an area of elevated study knew this, and stated, “… it is evident that the state is a creation of nature, and that man is by nature a political animal. ” In this statement, Aristotle adamantly asserts that the state is the production of human nature, as humans are inclined to create the state according to their hereditary political nature....   [tags: Psychology, Soul, Philosophy, Human nature]

Research Papers
1376 words (3.9 pages)

Human Nature in Minority Report Essay

- Human nature is the characteristics, feelings and behavioral traits of humankind. Humans are capable of expressing different kinds of emotions such as joy, frustration, despair, remorse, and other forms of emotions depending on the situations they are encountering. In the film ‘Minority Report’, various kinds of human characteristics have been portrayed. The view of human nature posited in this film is assuming that all humankind is likely to commit crimes regardless of their position. The film ‘Minority Report’ demonstrated that despite using the system of having pre-cogs topredict futurecrimes was thought to be perfect, it is still proven in the end that the system is flawed, where someon...   [tags: Human Nature]

Research Papers
580 words (1.7 pages)

A Comparison of Western and Eastern Conceptions of Human Nature Essay

- A Comparison of Western and Eastern Conceptions of Human Nature Buddhism and Marxism are two philosophic models of human nature separated by many centuries and many thousand of miles. It is difficult therefore to envisage how the two could have much if any dialogue between them; indeed it may well be that much more contrast may be found than synthesis. As to a determination on the possibly far more difficult question, the question as to who has a greater claim for validity, as we shall see that is perhaps a question largely dependant on belief....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
2222 words (6.3 pages)

Science and Human Nature Essay

- Science, a field that involves various subjects including math, biology, chemistry etc, is one of those most influential aspects of human history. Merriam-webster dictionary defines it as: “such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena: Nature Science” (“Science”, Merriam-webster Dictionary). What it studies is alway related to our nature, ourselves. It is a field that requires sophisticated knowledge and skill, as well as long-term devotement....   [tags: Science, Math, Biology, Humans, Nature]

Research Papers
1732 words (4.9 pages)