Human Nature - Are Humans Naturally Good or Evil?

Topics: Morality, Human, Political philosophy Pages: 4 (1497 words) Published: October 26, 2006
What is thought of as immoral to one person can be seen as ethical to another, and vice versa. This is due to the difference in the way humans perceive things, which is part of the intricacy of mankind. "During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man." (Hobbes) Hobbes states that Humans are naturally evil and need a powerful government to control them. Is it true? Rousseau thinks otherwise. "In reasoning on the principles he (Thomas Hobbes) lays down, he ought to have said that the state of nature, being that in which the care for our own preservation is the least prejudicial to that of others, was consequently the best calculated to promote peace, and the most suitable for mankind… man in the state of nature is both strong and dependent involves two contrary suppositions. Man is weak when he is dependent, and is his own master before he comes to be strong." (Rousseau) The issue of good and evil is brought up in "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding, when innocent boys find themselves on a deserted island attempting to create a society similar to ours. What circumstances occur to them? How do past influences affect them? Are their actions good or evil? The actions of the boys were not a matter of being good or evil, but were actions for survival. A person's environment does not draw him towards good or evil, nor is he or she born with it inside. Humans have instincts that are not affairs of good and evil, but of survival.

By natural instinct, humans will do what is best for them especially for their survival. Animals, much like people, kill when in need. For instance, if they feel they are cornered, they would attack. If they need food, they will kill to eat. In "Lord of the Flies", Ralph was being hunted by Jack's tribe, and in a desperate attempt in his defense, thrusts his spear through a crack at the inspecting savages. Ralph attacked...
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