Human Nature

Topics: Political philosophy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, State of nature Pages: 4 (1386 words) Published: December 15, 2005
"What is Natural Has to be Investigated Not in Beings That Are Depraved, But in Those That Are Good According to Nature"

T
he obstacle of figuring out the nature and instinctual behavior of humans has been toppled by many philosophical writers. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Niccolo Machiavelli, in the Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and The Prince, subsequently, talks about this subject. In the Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Rousseau talks about the natural human state and is transition to its current civilized state. In The Prince, Machiavelli talks about the nature of humans already in a civilized state. Rousseau's and Machiavelli's ideas on the best state of humans contrast because Rousseau believes that the best state of a human is in its natural uncivilized state, yet Machiavelli discusses how it is best fit for humans to be in a society. Another writer, William Golding, in his novel Lord of the Flies, actually indirectly discusses both Machiavell and Rousseau's beliefs by reflecting their ideas onto a fictional story of children stranded on an island. In doing this Golding refutes Machiavelli's view the best state of human nature and thoroughly supports Rousseau's view of the best state of nature for humans. This paper will discuss, in comparison, both Rousseau and Machiavelli's opposing beliefs and then show Golding's agreement with Rousseau and refute of Machiavelli's beliefs.

Rousseau believed that humans the savage man was in the best state of nature but to the following reasons: overabundance of resources, self-sufficiency, self-preservation, and pity. Overabundance was a reason why humans could survive without having to fight for necessities, this corresponds with humans natural instinct to self-preserve. Humans will do what is necessary in order to best fit their well being, yet, due to the natural instinct of pity, we as humans would not harm another in order to promote oneself. We have pity because we as humans would not want to...
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