Back Cover Blurb
- Over three previous editions, Ten Theories of Human Nature has been a remarkably popular introduction to some of the most influential developments in Western and Eastern thought. This thoroughly revised fourth edition features substantial new chapters on Aristotle and on evolutionary theories of human nature; the latter centers on Edward O. Wilson but also outlines the ideas of Emile Durkheim, B. F. Skinner, Nikolaas Tinbergen, Konrad Lorenz, Noam Chomsky, and recent evolutionary psychology. This edition also includes a rewritten introduction that invites readers (even if inclined toward fundamentalism or cultural relativism) to careful, critical thought about human nature; a useful new section that summarizes the history of ideas from the Stoics to the Enlightenment; and a new conclusion that suggests a way to synthesize the various theories.
- Lucid and accessible. Ten Theories of Human Nature, 4/e, compresses into a small space the essence of such ancient traditions as Confucianism, Hinduism, and the Old and New Testaments as well as the theories of Plato, Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Jean-Paul Sartre. The authors juxtapose the ideas of these and other thinkers and traditions in a way that helps readers understand how humanity has struggled to comprehend its nature. To encourage readers to think critically for themselves and to underscore the similarities and differences between the many theories, the book examines each one on four points — the nature of the universe, the nature of humanity, the diagnosis of the ills of humanity, and the proposed cure for these problems. Ideal for introductory courses in human nature, philosophy, religious studies, and intellectual history. Ten Theories of Human Nature, 4/e, will engage and motivate students and other readers to consider how we can understand and improve both ourselves and human society.
Preface (Full Text1)
- It is a long time since the summer of 1967, when I first had some of the thoughts that inspired this book. America was riven by the Vietnam War and by race riots in cities, and I was an aspiring but uncertain graduate student of philosophy at Oxford, spending my summer vacation on a cross- continental tour of the United States. Between experiences of the cities of the East and the amazing scenery of the West, and brief encounters with cowboys and Indians, anti-war campaigners and hippies, I remember jotting down some structural comparisons between Christianity, Marxism, psychoanalysis, and existentialism.
- In the early 1970s, as a raw young lecturer at St. Andrews University, I found myself faced with large numbers of first-year students who were compelled, under the traditional Scottish system, to take a philosophy course. I wondered what was appropriate for such an audience of conscripts, most of whom would study no further philosophy. My response was to broaden a conventional philosophy of mind course into a critical examination of rival theories of human nature. The first edition of this book emerged from that pedagogical experience. Thirty years have passed since publication, and the book is still, apparently, found useful for many courses in various countries.
- It is a rare privilege to be read by so many thousands of students, and I have a corresponding responsibility to update and improve the book as best I can. The differences between successive editions are getting larger, in fact. The second edition made only cosmetic changes, leaving the seven main chapters untouched. In the third edition, I updated my treatment of those seven theories, I added a new chapter on Kant, and David Haberman of the Department of Religion at Indiana University at Bloomington was enrolled to contribute chapters on Confucianism and Hinduism (thus seven theories became ten).
- This fourth edition is still more radically changed. I have at last decided to drop Skinner and Lorenz from the pantheon, and have replaced those chapters by a single long chapter on evolutionary ("Darwinian") theories of human nature. This new chapter contains sections on Skinner and Lorenz, along with various other influential figures, with special critical attention being given to E. O. Wilson. I have written a completely new chapter on Aristotle. And I have added a "historical interlude" to fill the otherwise huge gap in the history of ideas between the ancient world and the Enlightenment: in this section I offer thumbnail sketches of some of the most influential movements and thinkers.
- I have also rewritten the other chapters very thoroughly, deepening the treatment (I hope), while still keeping the level introductory. In particular, I have extended my (far from impartial!) account of the Bible, suggesting a distinction between spiritual and supernatural interpretations of Christianity; I have tried to clarify my account of Kant, concentrating on the theme of reasons and causes and adding a comment on his philosophy of history; and I have added sections on Freud as moralist and on Sartre's first and second ethics. David Haberman has also made some clarifications and additions to his chapters on Confucianism and Hinduism.
- There are, of course, many plausible candidates for extending the list of theories beyond our chosen ten. In view of the resurgence of the influence of religion in the contemporary world, Islam and Buddhism would be obvious choices, but our editors wanted to keep the theory count to ten (perhaps the fifth edition will be more inclusive). Meanwhile, we can recommend the "Very Short Introductions" on the Koran, Islam, the Buddha, and Buddhism, published by Oxford University Press. (By the standards of that series, the chapters in this book are very, very short introductions!)
- With the addition of Aristotle and the historical interlude, the center of gravity of the book has perhaps moved backward in time — but that may not be a bad thing! There is a prevailing obsession with being up-to-date with the very latest scientific research or fashionable speculation. But in our rush toward the future, there is the danger of a parochialism of the present that forgets — or is simply ignorant of — the wisdom of the past. I would like to hope that this book will help readers to see presently influential ideas in a more historically informed context, and to evaluate both science-based and religion-based conceptions of human nature in a deeper, more philosophical way.
- … snip …
In-Page Footnotes ("Stevenson (Leslie) & Haberman (David) - Ten Theories of Human Nature")
Footnote 1: Less the acknowledgements
Oxford University Press, Fourth Edition, 2004
"Stevenson (Leslie) - Ten Theories of Human Nature: Rival Theories - and Critical Assessment of Them"
Source: Stevenson & Haberman - Ten Theories of Human Nature, 2004, Chapter 1
"Haberman (David) - Confucianism: The Way of the Sages"
Source: Stevenson & Haberman - Ten Theories of Human Nature, 2004, Chapter 2
"Haberman (David) - Upanishadic Hinduism: Quest for Ultimate Knowledge"
Source: Stevenson & Haberman - Ten Theories of Human Nature, 2004, Chapter 3
"Stevenson (Leslie) - The Bible: Humanity in Relation to God"
Source: Stevenson & Haberman - Ten Theories of Human Nature, 2004, Chapter 4
"Stevenson (Leslie) - Plato: The Rule of Reason"
Source: Stevenson & Haberman - Ten Theories of Human Nature, 2004, Chapter 5
"Stevenson (Leslie) - Ten Theories of Human Nature: Historical Interlude"
Source: Stevenson & Haberman - Ten Theories of Human Nature, 2004, Interlude
- The Stoics
- The Epicureans
- The Islamic Philosophers
- The Reformation
- The Rise of Science
- The Enlightenment
"Stevenson (Leslie) - Kant: Reason, Freedom, History and Grace"
Source: Stevenson & Haberman - Ten Theories of Human Nature, 2004, Chapter 6
"Stevenson (Leslie) - Marx: The Economic Basis of Human Nature"
Source: Stevenson & Haberman - Ten Theories of Human Nature, 2004, Chapter 7
"Stevenson (Leslie) - Freud: The Unconscious Basis of Mind"
Source: Stevenson & Haberman - Ten Theories of Human Nature, 2004, Chapter 8
"Stevenson (Leslie) - Sartre: Radical Freedom"
Source: Stevenson & Haberman - Ten Theories of Human Nature, 2004, Chapter 9
- Introduction / Background
- Sartre’s Life and Work
- Metaphysics: Consciousness and Objects, Atheism
- Theory of Human Nature: Existence and Essence, Negation and Freedom
- Diagnosis: Anguish and Bad Faith, Conflict with Others
- Prescription: Reflective choice
- The “First Ethics”: Authenticity and Freedom for Everyone
- The “Second Ethics”: Society and Human Needs
- Further Reading
"Stevenson (Leslie) - Behavioral Psychology: Skinner on Conditioning"
Source: Stevenson & Haberman - Ten Theories of Human Nature, 2004, Chapter 10
"Stevenson (Leslie) - Evolutionary Psychology: Lorentz on Aggression"
Source: Stevenson & Haberman - Ten Theories of Human Nature, 2004, Chapter 11
"Stevenson (Leslie) - Toward a Unified Understanding: Nine Types of Psychology"
Source: Stevenson & Haberman - Ten Theories of Human Nature, 2004, Chapter 12
COMMENT: Annotated photocopy filed in "Various - Papers on Identity Boxes: Vol 17 (S2: Sm+)".
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
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