Essay about Philosophical Differences

Submitted By mdenisia96
Words: 1434
Pages: 6

Maura Denisia
Prof. Irwin
October 8, 2014 Philosophical Differences

Political philosophies depend heavily on understanding human nature in a philosophical ways. Different philosophers see human nature differently, so their view on society is altered based on how they think. Hobbes, Locke, and Aristotle all have different views on human nature. Aristotle believing in Eudaimonia, Hobbes believing in Self-Preservation, and Locke believing in Perfect Freedom, shows how society is viewed differently. Aristotle lived from 384BC-322BC. He describes the human as rational animal. Aristotle believes that the sole purpose of life is Eudaimonia. Eudaimonia means flourishing; he believed that we are to flourish with happiness. In Aristotle’s works, eudaimonia was used as the term for the highest human good, and so it is the aim of practical philosophy, including ethics and political philosophy, to consider what is really is, and how it can be achieved. The idea of Eudaimonia comes directly from Aristotle’s understanding of human nature, the view that reason is unique to human beings and that the ideal function of a human is the fullest or most perfect exercise of reason. Basically, Eudaimonia is achieved by proper development of one’s highest and most human capabilities. Eudaimonia for a human being is the reaching of excellence in reason. Aristotle makes the claim that by nature man is blind to morality implying that man is naturally amoral, this is supported when he says that man is born without knowledge hence morality cannot be part of human nature as man has yet to acquire knowledge of morality. Another point Aristotle makes is that we are all slaves by nature. There are those who will rise above the rest of the peoples. Aristotle seems to be pretty condemning in his account of human nature since he sees man as a vice-filled greedy creature; totally dependent on others else he is to be useless. It would seem that the elements of Aristotle’s account on human nature have been able to stand the test of time, making him an influential figure on modern philosophy. Another point about human nature according to Aristotle is the idea that man is hedonistic; mean to pursue pleasure and shun pain by nature. There is a slight hint towards this where he comments on human nature being highly impulsive making man a creature of impulse “the lives that man leads, most men, of the vulgar type……identify the good, or happiness, with pleasure.” After laying the point about man being impulsive Aristotle moves to suggest that is man is to become moral we must learn to go against our nature and control our impulses so that reason and rational judgment can guide us accurately towards being moral agents. Later on though there is a more explicit argument stating human nature is hedonistic; again the notion that man is amoral by nature is repeated but then this notion is extended to provide a reason as to why man is immoral. The reason is thus, we follow our natural impulses to seek pleasure, hence we are hedonistic, but we are ill-educated in where we seek pleasure and so fall into the trap of seeking it within the vices making us immoral. All in all man is born amoral with hedonistic impulses, which is left unchecked or uncontrolled will lead us directly into immorality unless we are properly educated as to where we ought to seek pleasure. English philosopher Thomas Hobbes who wrote during the English Civil War is in disagreement with Aristotle’s claim that human nature is amoral. Instead, Hobbes claims that “man acts according to a natural law” and it was this natural law that forces man to act with aggression, envy and a number of other vices that create war. Hobbes is hinting at that the idea that human nature is immoral and needs controlling; different from what Aristotle would have us believe that we are amoral at birth and then corrupted as we age. Hobbes claims that the basis of human nature is Self-Preservation. Hobbes…