What is human nature?
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Author:  Chris OConnor [ Sun May 11, 2014 10:06 pm ]
Post subject:  What is human nature?

What is human nature?

Author:  whitneybrook [ Fri May 30, 2014 12:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What is human nature?

This may be more of a chapter summary that is customary for your discussions. As confused as I was by the first chapter, I am probably just reveling in feeling that this one was fairly straightforward.

The chapter starts with asking what the universal or primary traits of human behavior. This is pretty easily dismissed as a false or outdated question:

Questions about our real motives and real beliefs appear intractable because we would like generalizations and laws of behavior, yet find only variation between individuals, change within individuals, and sometimes nice and nasty surprises.

Blackburn then goes on to discuss whether or not we should seek to change human nature. There are two pathways to this. Culture has been shaping human behavior at least as long as there have been philosophers and will continue to do so. The other pathway is genetic manipulation through selective breeding or genetic engineering. It seems that we should not have to explain upon the many reasons why genetically manipulating humans to have only desirable behaviors is a bad idea, but it is probably worth doing so. Blackburn's reasons are:
1. most aspects of human development involves the interaction of many genes;
2. genetic manipulation would become subject to political and commercial pressures with undesirable outcome; and
3. complexity of human behavior links desirable and undesirable behaviors in a package, the "unity of the virtues".

He concludes that human nature is what we want it to be,
a relatively plastic disposition ready to be tuned by education and experience

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