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Does human nature exist?

It would seem that there are animal, vegetable and inanimate natures which determine how an entity is. Is there also a human nature? Does it aid or go against experience and logic to say that human nature does or does not exist?

As words can be used in different ways, I would clarify that the word nature is used in two ways; First, to speak of nature in terms of the commonality of all of existence. (The wind, the botanical world, the sun, biological processes etc. etc. ) This is not the sense of the word that I am asking of in this discussion.

The Second sense is to note what would specify something. This is the sense of the word for this discussion. It would be of subsistent quality(s) which adhere(s) as a specifying set of characteristics and define a being according to his capabilities and the purpose towards which he exists.

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    Sep 17 2012: In rather similar environments, humans usually behave similarly.
    This is what human nature means.
    • J Ale

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      Sep 17 2012: Human nature is to behave? Everything behaves.
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        Sep 17 2012: Yeah, but differently than humans, in similar circomstances.
        • J Ale

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          Sep 17 2012: Cool. So what is human nature? Behavior that changes according to environment? Or is it something fixed?
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        Sep 17 2012: FIxed? That's the thing about living organisms. They respond to environments. Always.
        Different animals respond differently.
        Many animals don't mind loneliness and don't know what it means to be bored out of one's skull. We, among others, are very much affected by these. Because it is our human nature to suffer from loneliness and boredom. (loneliness releases stress hormones in humans, not in snakes : this is what "to mind" or "to be affected by" mean)

        Behaviour that changes according to environment?
        Yeah, this is what responses are about. "Human nature" covers the range of responses that our species is capable of, given a particular environment. It's idiotic to say that humans are either peaceful or violent. We know that it's human nature to be violent when such and such, and we know it's human nature to be peaceful when bla bla.
        • J Ale

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          Sep 18 2012: So we respond, and we don't llike to be lonely or bored. And we change wigh our environment and sometimes we are violent and sometimes peaceful. THis is what it means to be a human? Responsive, disliking of loneliness and boredoem and alternatively violent and peaceful?

          You don't know anyone who is incapable of vioence? I do. I also know people who don't really mind being bored.
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        Sep 18 2012: "You don't know anyone who is incapable of vioence? I do. I also know people who don't really mind being bored."

        You friend must've been in the right kind of peacefull environment. I wonder how peaceful he or she would've been if abducted as a child soldier in Uganda. But I know, I know, we look at Nazis and think "I never would've done what they did." We shouldn't. Part of preventing horrors from happening is aknowledging that humans can do bad things, in certain dreadful circomstances.
        Whenever we speak of human nature, it goes without saying that there are exceptions. We decide that psychopaths and autists are abnormal, simply because they are a minority among us.

        Bordedom is interesting. It's related to food, believe it or not. Animals that rely on a single source of nutrition such as grass don't need to get creative about it. Bears hate zoos. They get bored. They're used to playing with the environment, looking for honey or garbage.
        Humans suffer from boredom. I'm taking your word for it and suppose your friend is an exception. In many respects freedom is the opposite of boredom.
        hmmm, yes...

        To be human means a lot more than just these instances. It also means that under certain conditions, we make love, we use sex as pair bonding, and not solely for reproduction.
        • J Ale

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          Sep 19 2012: It is actually not my friend it is my grandmother who is not violent. She grew up in New Orleans.
          The question is what is human nature. Not what a particular emotional response is to a particular sit’n. That I believe would go to the nature of what an emotion is.
          How one chooses to act assumes that one first has the power to act in a certain way. Some choose to do nothing in the face of violence. Some do. But there is a reason either way. Reason connotes rationality. We do not rationally choose what we do not have the power to do power.
          I agree, yes, there are exceptions. But not exceptions to a nature. The exceptions are whether we choose to act according to our nature (which by the way animals cannot do). Thus, I contend that our nature is that we are rational animals with rationality being our overarching and guiding trait. Yet, as a human I can choose to act irrationally (in line with my animality). So I can choose to take a drug for the purposes of pleasure that obfuscates my reason and causes me to irrationally eat someone’s face off. (as hallucinogenics can cause). Both were irrational acts.
          It is ultimately irrational to separate the reproductive and emotional aspects of sex. To be human does not mean that we can change the nature of something else.
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        Sep 20 2012: You're right, we can't escape our nature. But we can escape the statistical majority. Sex change is not typicall human behaviour, yet it's still part of human nature as every else. And you know something? It's the same with other animals, at least complexe ones. We're taught about typical hyena behaviour, typical raccoon behaviour, But of course, other animals have just as much personnality as us.

        " ultimately irrational to separate the reproductive and emotional aspects of sex."
        Not really. Bonobos are being rational when using the intensity of sexual pleasure to deal with social tensions. Humans use it (typically) in a monogamous way to extend the honeymoon. Our high maintenance offspring benefit from that, since (at the time that we adapted to be this way) both parents were required in a household.

        " Thus, I contend that our nature is that we are rational animals with rationality being our overarching and guiding trait. "
        I'm not sure I understand what you mean . What's so special about our rationality vs chimp rationality? Are you familiar with this experiment?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIAoJsS9Ix8

        If anything, humans are LESS rational.
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      Sep 21 2012: I would suggest that "In rather similar environments, humans usually behave similarly."... and it's absolutely wonderful and amazing... because in rather similar environments, animals, always behave similarly, usually, identically : )
      • J Ale

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        Sep 21 2012: Yep. Perfectly true. Animals act of instinc alone and don't "know" a damn thing.

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