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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: I would go as far as stating that human nature doesn't exist, for everything in existence is part of nature and its resident forces. Humans could not survive without the sun, food, shelter, water; as plants would not survive without sun, water, soil, etc...

    Implying that human nature exists, would generate a sense of disconnection from the totality of nature that led us to evolve as we have. Survival is perhaps the 'nature' of the plethora of species inhabiting planet Earth. As for that term 'Survival of the fittest', I would dare say, that humans have long developed the technology and its possible applications as to shift that phrase into 'Survival of the most cooperative'. If we long to truly survive as a species, we must transform competition into cooperation. Some may have a pre-disposition for crime and violence, if raised in a detrimental, competitive environment.

    Do you somewhat understand what I am implying? The environment is the key factor in how a human will evolve. It is the stage wherein this individual will be acquiring sets of values throughout his/her life. And if we begin to suppose that human nature is to be 'greedy, selfish, etc.' we cease to observe and take into account the environment shaping individuals in a given culture. If we ought to be civilized, it is important to realize that we constantly act in a state of co-individuality, and connection to nature (species survival). There is an important point I would like to stress; when humans have what they need - food, shelter, water, relevant information, health, etc. - words like 'human nature' do not appear. We will ALWAYS have to abide to nature's laws and our interconnectivity to a cycle of life we are slowly, but surely, breaking in an act of arrogance on our part, thinking that we are exempt from natural law - we are not. Furthermore, existence has no purpose, but the one we venture to find in our lifetimes. 'Human' nature is thus a simple play of words to neglect social responsibility.
    • J Ale

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      Sep 18 2012: So could not say that human nature is that which exists and survives on resident forces and evloves according to his environment ?
      • Sep 20 2012: Not quite, as I mentioned before, there is no such thing as human nature, because that would imply something inborn. Do you understand? We can talk about human behavior, but discussing human nature would be like discussing the lion nature: 'they are competitive'. Why? Because there is scarcity of food, and that takes us back to the subject of environment.

        I have learned a lot with the following lecture series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnIGh9g6fA

        Very helpful. Cheers ;)
        • J Ale

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          Sep 21 2012: The nature of a human is that he is a rational animal. He is born that way. or, it is inborn. Show me something that contradicts that.

          so humans do not have human nature but lions do?

          A nature is an ultimate definition that goes towards the essence of something.

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