Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Defining human nature

Human rights are sometimes based on human nature.  Meaning that there is something special about the human species that qualifies it to be treated in a more dignified manner than say a chair or a lamp post.  But this human nature is not merely something natural.  For that matter even animals have a nature. So if we consider naturality the chief characteristic of a nature then there would be nothing special or unique about human nature.  The emphasis needs to be on 'essential trait' but this cannot be something static or frozen.  There are aspects of it which change but others that ensure continuity.  So perhaps, the following definition (as found here), could be taken as a functional one...
Human nature is best conceived of as a cluster of homeostatic properties, ie of traits that are dynamically changing and yet sufficiently stable over evolutionary time to be statistically clearly recognisable.
And just like life cannot be shown apart from living, human nature is not something that can be identified apart from the human person.  It is not something that exists independently or abstractly.  It inheres.  

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