Readings on Human Nature

Front Cover
Peter Loptson
Broadview Press, Feb 4, 1998 - Philosophy - 580 pages

This anthology brings together 45 selections by a wide range of philosophers and other thinkers, and provides a representative sampling of the approaches to the study of human nature that have been taken within the western tradition.

The selections range in time from the ancient Greeks to the 1990s, and in political orientation from the conservative individualism of Ayn Rand to the liberalism of John Rawls. Classic writings from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries are here (Descartes, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, and so on), but so are a wide range of twentieth-century writings, including a number of feminist voices, the biological theory of Edward O. Wilson, and the cultural materialist theory of Marvin Harris. A substantial selection of Christian views of human nature is a central part of the anthology.

The anthology is as notable for its depth as it is for its breadth; an important editorial principle has been to include a variety of substantial selections, thus allowing the reader to engage more readily with some of the complexities of each approach.

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Plato Republic
St Augustine Confessions 35 On Free Choice of the Will 51
What is Enlightenment? 121
Niccol˛ Machiavelli The Prince 169
JeanJacques Rousseau Discourse on the Origins of Inequality 219
Charles Darwin The Descent of Man 285
Edward O Wilson On Human Nature 315
Sigmund Freud Character and Culture 343 Civilization and its Discontents 353
David Hume A Treatise of Human Nature 365
Julien de La Mettrie Man a Machine 378
Mary Wollstonecraft A Vindication of the Rights of Woman 421
Simone de Beauvoir The Second Sex 445
Are Women Morally Superior to Men? 476
JeanPaul Sartre Existentialism and Humanism 487
Ferdinand T÷nnies Community and Society 517

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About the author (1998)

Peter Loptson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph and also the author of Reality: Fundamental Topics in Metaphysics (University of Toronto Press, 2001).

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