Traditional rationalist view of human nature:
Man is a rational animal
Man’s possession of a rational soul implies he is different in KIND and in DEGREE from the rest of the animal kingdom. Evidence:
Only man can understand the nature of things
Only man philosophizes
Only man engages in scientific reasoning and research to understand the nature of the natural world
Both animal and man can perceive the moon, but only man understands what the moon is and invented the technology to go there
Only man can write novels about love, wars, and peace.
Man’s rational mind has the power of conceptual thought. Distinction between perception, imagination, and conception:
Perception: the objects of perception are always about particulars/individuals
Imagination: the objects of imagination are also always about particulars/individuals
Conceptual thought: the objects of conceptual thought are not reducible to particulars alone because they are UNIVERSALS.
Man’s rational mind is immaterial (Aquinas)
Anything that exists as a material object must be a particular/individual thing
The concepts by which we know things are not particulars but universals
The concept must be immaterial, not material
If the mental act that intends universal concepts were merely the act of a bodily organ, such as the brain, such concepts would exist in matter and be reduced to particulars
But concepts are UNIVERSALS, not particulars
Hence, the mental act by which we understand concepts must be immaterial power, not reducible to the brain or any other bodily function
Therefore, the mind is immaterial
Aristotle’s 4 causes
Stone of David
Flesh, blood, bones
Human form (soul)
Idea in M.A. mind
Chipping & chiseling
Actualize one’s own human potential
Plato’s 3 parts of the soul
Rules in accord to what is right
Obey & follow reason appetites Temperance
Obey & follow reason
When a man has all of the cardinal virtues, he also has JUSTICE, internal harmony and balance.
Traditional (Western) Religious View of Human Nature
Man is made in the image of God. Because human beings possess the power of intellect (interest) and free will, these gives us the power to love and know characteristics of the creator
Man has a purpose in life, for he is created by an intelligent God for a purpose.
Fulfill our nature as human beings
Each one has a specific calling in life
Man’s ultimate and final end for existing is living in union with God
Reason and revelation: some things man can come to know through natural reason alone, but there are other truths that we cannot know unaided, they are only revealed through divine revelation.
Man’s rational soul is IMMATERIAL and survives the death of the body.
Faith and other virtues:
3 Christian virtues: FAITH, HOPE, LOVE (caritas, higher virtue)
3 kinds of love:
Agape (caritas): highest form of love
Philia: love between friends
Eros (desire): erotic love
All life on