This week we have a great crosscutting topic, suggested a while back by Aaron. Whether there is a universal human nature involves philosophy, neuroscience, biology, psychology, and nearly every other -ology I can think of. Politics is wrapped up in there, too. Believing in a particular variant of a universal human nature is the stepping stone to believing in a universal human morality, which leads to political philosophy and political principles.
I’m under the weather this weekend. So, here are some readings on some of the things selected philosophers and modern scientists think about the universality of human nature. If I had more time and felt better, I would try to summarize the works of major philosophers of human nature, particularly Hume and Aristotle. But, since my knowledge is slight on some of them, I’ll just open with something and then we can discuss.
SUGGESTED BACKGROUND READINGS –
- Wiki entry on human nature.
- Our meeting five weeks ago on, What can science tell us about Good and Evil? The topic was the burgeoning field of moral psychology.
- Science POV:
- Philosophy: Meta-ethics is the branch of philosophy we are talking about. See [link fixed] section 1 of this for a summary of how meta-ethics treats the universality of human nature.
- Philosophers: More details on several major ones’ POV on human nature:
- Linguist Noam Chomsky’s POV: See this 1998 interview.
Next Week: How Should We Talk to the “Other Side” About Politics?