ESSAY Phase Two
Write an essay of 1900-2100 words (about 8 pages) on the topic below. KEEP TO THE LENGTH LIMITS! This is not a research paper: do not use anything other than the course material so far. Study groups are encouraged, but the writing must be your own, (see the syllabus on “University Policy on Academic Honesty”). A good essay will show quality and depth of thought, a command of the relevant course material, and accurate and insightful use of that material in support of your ideas. Remember that your audience is not your instructor, but a reasonably intelligent person who is not a member of our class.
Which One? Which of the philosophies of human nature that we have studied, from Plato to Darwin is the best? Compare, contrast, and analyze their views of human nature and present a coherent and logical argument for your choice. The post-Darwin material in the chapter on Darwin is not part of this assignment.
Instructor’s Guiding Comments
You have to mention all the philosophers (use the attached zip “files – philosophers”). Compare and contrast all philosphers; talk about what each said on the philosophies of human nature, say why you are comparing them, and how they are related. Also, note that the first paper (Phase One) and the second paper (Phase Two) need to relate.
The “best” is a pretty open-ended criterion, so you will need to think carefully, and defend, what you think is the measure of the “best.”
Please make the first word of the document title your last name. E.g. “yourlastnameessayone.docx”
Do not submit PDFs or “pages” documents.
Do not submit Google Docs links.
For the second phase of this essay, you will revise phase one, adding in the philosophies we cover up through Darwin.
General Guidance for Writing Essay Exams
Be sure to include on the first page: A title
Regarding structure and writing style: avoid vague and overly general introductions. You are writing a very short paper, to keep close to the topic, keep focused, and get to the point quickly. It is best to put the thesis you are defending clearly in the introduction, and then let your argument structure the rest of the paper. Remember that I am interested in how well you can think through the issues and defend a point of view. The choice and use of course material, the logical strength of the argument, the depth of your insights, and comprehensiveness of your discussion are the criteria of a good paper. The goal of your writing is clarity and persuasion, not high style. Also, write for a general audience: do not assume that they know what the assignment is or any of the course material. Write so that you grandchildren will be able to understand your paper completely when they find it in a box in your attic seventy years from now!
Remember that you MUST DOCUMENT YOUR SOURCES in an academic paper. You may use whichever style you wish, but be sure to use it consistently and correctly. The examples below follow the Chicago Style Manual. First citation of a work must have all the information such as(see footnote “1,” below). Subsequent citations of that work need only the author’s last name and the page number. If you are quoting directly from a text [i.e., you are using the exact words from the text], use quotation marks and cite the source and page number(s). For our primary source readings, you can cite them as in the footnote below. Since the reading posted in D2L have a complicated editorial history, you may use the form in note four. If you are using information or ideas that came from a book, but are not quoting directly, then don’t use quotation marks but do cite the source and page number(s). If you don’t, then you are claiming these ideas as your own. This is plagiarism, and it can do serious damage to your academic career.
Number the pages (your word processor can be set to do that for you)
Write history in the past tense! Book titles go in italics.
Remember, any good paper is worth one more rewrite!
We can also spend some class time discussing essay topics.
Use the same format of referencing and citations (footnotes) as in Phase one Paper.
 Leslie, Stevenson, David L. Haberman, and Peter Matthews, Thirteen Theories of Human Nature, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), 162.
 Stevenson, 126.
 Plato, Republic, in Leslie Stevenson, ed., The Study of Human Nature: A Reader (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 34-55.
 Aristotle, Politics (PHIL 205 D2L site, fall 2017), 2.
The question of what it means to be human has captivated philosophers for centuries. From Plato to Darwin, scholars have offered various perspectives on human nature, attempting to explain what it means to be human and what our purpose in life is. Each of these philosophers has provided unique insights into human nature, and their ideas are still relevant today. In this essay, I will compare and contrast the views of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, and Rousseau, and ultimately argue that Aristotle’s philosophy of human nature is the most compelling.
Plato’s philosophy of human nature posits that humans are divided into three parts: the rational, the spirited, and the appetitive. According to Plato, the rational part of the soul is responsible for our higher intellectual faculties, the spirited part is responsible for our emotions, and the appetitive part is responsible for our basic desires and needs. In the Republic, Plato argues that the just individual is one in which the rational part of the soul governs the spirited and appetitive parts. In this sense, Plato’s view of human nature emphasizes the importance of reason and intellect in achieving a good and just life.
Aristotle’s philosophy of human nature, on the other hand, is focused on the concept of teleology, or purpose. Aristotle believed that every living thing has a specific purpose, or function, and that fulfilling this purpose is essential to living a good life. In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues that the purpose of human life is to achieve eudaimonia, or a state of flourishing or well-being. According to Aristotle, achieving eudaimonia requires the cultivation of virtues, which are habits of character that enable us to act in accordance with reason and achieve our telos, or purpose. Aristotle’s view of human nature emphasizes the importance of moral virtue in achieving a good life, and his teleological approach provides a clear and compelling explanation of what it means to be human.
Augustine’s philosophy of human nature is rooted in his Christian beliefs. Augustine believed that humans are created in the image of God, and that our ultimate purpose is to achieve communion with God. According to Augustine, humans are inherently flawed due to original sin, and our only hope for salvation is through faith in God. Augustine’s view of human nature emphasizes the importance of religion and faith in achieving a good life.
Aquinas, another Christian philosopher, also believed that humans are created in the image of God. However, he believed that humans are rational beings with free will, and that we can use our reason to discern God’s will and achieve a good life. Aquinas believed that human nature is composed of two parts: the rational and the animal. The rational part of the soul enables us to reason and make moral decisions, while the animal part is responsible for our basic desires and needs. Aquinas’s view of human nature emphasizes the importance of reason and free will in achieving a good life.
Descartes’s philosophy of human nature is centered around the idea of dualism, or the separation of mind and body. Descartes believed that the mind is a non-physical substance that is separate from the physical body. He argued that the mind is responsible for our higher intellectual faculties, while the body is responsible for our basic desires and needs. Descartes’s view of human nature emphasizes the importance of reason and intellect, and his dualistic approach provides a unique perspective on the relationship between mind and body.
Finally, Rousseau’s philosophy of human nature is focused on the concept of the noble savage. Rousseau believed that humans are inherently good, but that civilization corrupts us and leads to inequality and suffering. He argued that humans in a state of nature are free and equal, and that it is only through the development of society and civilization that we