Who Are We?

Who Are We? : Theories of Human Nature

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Since the dawn of human history, people have exhibited wildly contradictory qualities: good and evil, love and hate, strength and weakness, kindness and cruelty, aggressiveness and pacifism, generosity and greed, courage and cowardice. Experiencing a sense of eternity in our hearts-but at the same time confined to temporal and spatial constraints-we seek to understand ourselves, both individually and as a species. What is our nature? What is this enigma that we call human? Who are we? In Who Are We?, esteemed author Louis P. Pojman seeks to find answers to these questions by exploring major theories in Western philosophy and religion, along with several traditions in Eastern thought. The most comprehensive work of its kind, the volume opens with chapters on the Hebrew/Christian view of human nature and the contrasting classical Greek theories, outlining a dichotomy between faith and reason that loosely frames the rest of the book. Following chapters cover the medieval view, Hindu and Buddhist perspectives, conservative and liberal theories, Kant's Copernican revolution, Schopenhauer's transcendental idealism, and Karl Marx's theory.
Freud's psychoanalytic view, the existentialist perspective, the Darwinian view, and scientific-materialism are also discussed. Pojman concludes with a discussion of the question of free will, ultimately asserting that each one of us must decide for ourselves who and what we are, and, based on that answer, how we shall live.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 476.27g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 2 tables, 2 line drawings
  • 0195179277
  • 9780195179279
  • 942,747

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. THE BIBLICAL VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE: JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY ; THE HEBREW BIBLE (OLD TESTAMENT) ; The Concept of Human Nature ; Rules for Living the Successful Life ; The Prophets' Message ; THE NEW TESTAMENT ; Christ and the Concept of Human Nature ; Jesus' Radical Message: Humanity is Made to Love ; Paul's Vision of Human Nature ; Justice and Responsibility ; 2. THE GREEK VIEWS OF HUMAN NATURE: THE SOPHISTS AND SOCRATES ; The Rise of The Sophists ; The Sophist Creed ; Socrates's Simple Moralist View of Human Nature ; Socrates' Moral Philosophy: Virtue is Knowledge ; 3. PLATO'S VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE ; The Theory of Forms ; Plato's Theory of Recollection and A Priori Knowledge ; The Ascent to Knowledge ; Justice and Human Nature ; The Allegory of the Cave and the Meaning of Life ; 4. ARISTOTLE'S VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE ; Introduction ; Plato and Aristotle ; Nature of Ethics ; A Political Person ; The Functionalist Account of Human Nature ; What Is the Good Life? ; The Ideal Type of Human ; 5. AUGUSTINE'S VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE ; Augustine's Life and Early Thought ; Evil and the Free Will Defense ; Augustine's Doctrine of Love as the Element of Religion and Ethics ; The Doctrine of the Great Chain of Being ; 6. THE HINDU AND BUDDHIST VIEWS OF HUMAN NATURE ; HINDUISM ; History and Main Ideas ; Metaphysics ; Epistemology ; Theory of Human Nature ; Morality, Dharma, and the Caste System ; Bhagavad Gita ; Conclusion to Hinduism ; BUDDHISM ; Life ; Buddha's Teachings ; The Four Noble Truths ; Conclusion ; 7. CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL THEORIES OF HUMAN NATURE: HOBBES AND ROUSSEAU ; THOMAS HOBBES: A CONSERVATIVE VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE ; Introduction ; Hobbes's Account of Human Nature: Man the Machine ; Hobbes's Account of Morality: The State of Nature ; Conclusion ; JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU: A LIBERAL THEORY OF HUMAN NATURE ; Introduction ; Human Nature is Good ; The Social Contract ; The Noble Savage and Emile ; Conclusion ; 8. KANT'S COPERNICAN REVOLUTION ; The Kantian Epistemic Revolution ; Kant's Moral Theory: The Categorical Imperative ; Kant's Transcendental Apperception: The Elusive Self ; Freedom of the Will ; On God and Immortality ; 9. SCHOPENHAUER'S TRANSCENDENTAL IDEALISM ; Introduction ; The World as Idea ; The Will to Live ; Salvation from the Sufferings of Existence ; Morality ; Schopenhauer, Sex, and Psychoanalysis ; Conclusion and Summary ; 10. KARL MARX'S THEORY OF HUMAN NATURE ; Introduction ; Ten Marxist Theses ; 11. FREUD'S PSYCHOANALYTIC VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE ; Introduction ; The Trinity of Personality ; Sexuality ; Consciousness and The Unconscious ; Religion ; Civilization and its Discontents ; 12. THE EXISTENTIALIST VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE (KIERKEGAARD, NIETZSCHE, AND SARTRE) ; Introduction ; Three Theses of Existentialism ; Existence Precedes Essence ; The Absurdity of Existence ; Freedom ; 13. THE DARWINIAN VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE (INCLUDING E. O. WILSON'S SOCIOBIOLOGY) ; Introduction: The Shaking of the Foundations ; Darwinian Evolution ; Evolution and Evil ; Social Darwinism and Sociobiology ; Evolution and Ethics ; 14. HUMAN NATURE IN CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY OF MIND (DENNETT, RORTY, SEARLE, CHALMERS AND CHURCHLAND) ; DUALISTIC INTERACTIONISM ; The Classical Dualist Theory ; A Critique of Dualistic Interactionism ; Materialism ; Functionalism and Biological Naturalism ; Dualism Revisited ; 15. A PARADOX OF HUMAN NATURE: ARE WE FREE? ; Free Will and Determinism ; Libertarianism ; Metaphysical Compatibilism
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33 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 24% (8)
4 33% (11)
3 36% (12)
2 6% (2)
1 0% (0)
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