TED Conversations

Ryan Alexander

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Do humans have a "Human Nature" or are our behaviors motivated by our cultural backgrounds?

I have this conversation with thinkers all the time. In my opinion any beginning philosopher must identify their idea of human nature before they can move forward with their idea's about the world or about an ideal world.

Some individuals that I have talked to though have brought up the point of nature versus nurture. That possible fact that the ideas of the west that humans need instant gratification, are greedy and selfish may only apply to societies that allow this ideology to flourish and prosper.

So, I guess the real question is...is human behavior motivated by a universal "human nature" or is human behavior learned through culture? Are we really all that different?

I personally don't believe so.

+4
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jul 2 2012: I think all people are greedy and selfish because it's the best way to survive. It's not always a bad thing. We learned to gather in tribes and later cities just because it's benefits our own individual interests, not for the sake of civilization as a whole. We try to maintain peace, not because we're good, but because it's more profitable, than war. It's both a survival instinct and a rational choice.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.