Friday, September 13, 2019

Book Review The Study Of Human Nature Philosophy Essay

Book Review The Study Of Human Nature Philosophy Essay In The Study of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson, Stevenson writes about Confucian philosophy, most notably the Confucian philosophers Mencius and Hsun-tzu. In the several extracts from the Book of Mencius, Mencius to oppose the claim that human nature is neither good nor bad, but instead good. While from the Book of Hsun-tzu, Hsun-tzu states the opposite, that humans are naturally evil. Both books include the writings from these philosophers arguing whether human nature is good or evil. In the Book of Mencius, Mencius provides the arguments that show that human nature is indeed good. In the first few selections, Mencius quotes Kao Tzu and then follows to argue against him that human nature is not good or evil. Kao Tzu states that â€Å"human nature is like a chi willow† (23), where changing a human’s morality is like turning willow into cups and bowls. Mencius responds by saying that in order for willow to turn into cups and bowl it must be altered, and then you must also alter a human to make him good. Mencius is stating that the words of Kao Tzu are considering that morality is a mutilation of human nature. In addition, Kao Tzu states that â€Å"human nature is like whirling water†, it will flow whenever there’s an opening with no preference (23). However Mencius retaliates that it may be true that it has no preference but water will always seek low ground. It is water’s nature to flow downward, and thus there must be a nature for man. Hence, there is no man that is evil, because there is no water that does not flow downward (23). This means it is water’s nature to flow downward, and it is also human nature to be good. However you can manipulate water, whereas by splashing it and forcing the change of nature is like saying that humans can be evil, under forced circumstances (24). Mencius view of human nature can be concluded that all humans are naturally good but sometimes under certain conditions would be bad. Menc ius view is further supported on the rest of the sections. In section 6, Mencius again responds to Kao Tzu about the human nature of people. Kao Tzu uses a real-life example dictating the reign of a â€Å"good† and â€Å"bad† king. Mencius answers that all men are capable of being good. Mencius brings up the role of the four hearts: Heart of compassion to benevolence, heart of shame to dutifulness, heart of respect to observance of the rites, and the heart of right and wrong to wisdom (24). These four hearts are possessed by all men, however if they do not seek the hearts they will lose it. Mencius is saying that all men differ in development, as there are men who are â€Å"five times or countless times better than another man† (24) and that is because â€Å"Seek and you will find it; let go and you will lose it.† With that said, Mencius is saying it is not the fault of one’s nature to become bad, instead people who don’t make use of their h earts and follow it would untimely lose the hearts pertaining to doing good.

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