Liberal View of Human Nature

Page 1 of 3

Liberal View of Human Nature

By | September 2009
Page 1 of 3
Assumptions about human nature in order to create social justice. According to Mill, social justice is “the idea that we can put in place a set of political institutions that will ensure the just distribution of benefits and costs throughout society.” In other words, social justice is in the hands of the government to create certain institutions that will greatly benefit everyone, and equally so. In order to do that, one must have an idea of the way human nature works so as to institute programs and such appropriately and properly.

While there are several different theories and thoughts on the way human nature simply is, and how that effects our equality amongst each other, the bulk of it falls into two main categories, that is, conservative and liberal.

Liberal Thought on Equality and Human Nature
Liberalism itself is a distinctive account of human nature.
The goal is to achieve justice in society.
Relevant differences amongst individuals in human nature that cause inequality:
-guilt/innocence…what someone has or hasn’t done (something no bueno)
-merit/desert…the good and bad in people, based on relevant capabilities or performance
-need: some people have a naturally greater need for things than others A principle of justice (relating to human nature): control condition- people held responsible for their voluntary choices, but not for their innate characteristics or factors beyond their control. All persons are relatively equal.

Hobbes: “For as to strength of the body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest,” and in “the faculties of the mind” there exists “yet a greater equality amongst men.”
-SO: equal in body and mind, and even more so in the latter. -because of the equality of ability, we are also naturally hopeful of attaining our ends, and thus are naturally competitive. Hobbes then says that, “therefore, if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies.”

Locke:...