Seven Theories of Human Nature
With over a quarter of a million copies sold,Seven Theories of Human Naturehas established itself as the classic introduction to Western intellectual theory. Ranging from Plato'sRepublicto Edward O. Wilson'sOn Human Nature, and drawing on philosophy, psychology, sociology, politics, biology, and theology, this admirably lucid volume compresses into a small space the essence of such thinkers as Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Jean-Paul Sartre, B.F. Skinner, and Konrad Lorenz.
Stevenson juxtaposes the ideas of these and other thinkers in a way that helps us to understand how humanity has struggled to comprehend its nature. We see how Freud's theory of subconscious motivation is directly attacked by Sartre's claim that there are no subconscious acts at all. And how Skinner's theories, which assert the primacy of learned behavior, are undercut by Lorenz's studies of animals, which suggest that complex behavior can occur prior to learning. To bring these comparisons into sharper relief, Stevenson examines each theorist on four points--his speculation on the nature of the universe, his assessment of the nature of man, how he views the ills of the world, and what he would do to change it. This structure enables Stevenson to compare Plato's theory of the philosopher-king with Skinner's idea of utopia inWalden Twoand pose the same questions to both: Who decides what is best for everyone else? And how can the misuse of power be prevented? Along the way, we are treated to fascinating analyses of some of the most pivotal and controversial books ever written, including Marx'sDas Capital, Sartre'sBeing and Nothingness, Plato'sRepublic, and Konrad Lorenz'sOn Agression.
The revised edition ofSeven Theories of Human Natureis more relevant than ever. For the new volume, Stevenson has added an extended discussion of sociobiology, and cites recent books for further reading on such topics as Creationism, nuclear holocaust, and feminism. Brought completely up to date, this classic introduction will fascinate anyone curious about who we are, what motivates us, and how we can understand and improve the world.
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The Criticism of Theories
The Rule of the Wise
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action aggression alienation analytic assertions assumption B. F. Skinner bad faith basic instinct belief called causes chapter choice Christianity and Marxism claims communist concept condition consciousness critical crucial culture diagnosis discussion dualism E. O. Wilson economic edited emotions empirical environment epistemology ethologists evidence evolution existence existentialism existentialist experience explain fact Forms freedom Freud Freudian haviour Hegel human behaviour human nature human society idea ideology important individual innate instincts interpretation Karl Marx kind laws London Lorenz Marx Marx's means ment mental metaphysical mind moral objective Oxford University Press paperback particular perhaps person philosophical Plato political possible postulate prescription problems psychoanalysis psychology questions rational reason regeneration rejection repression Sartre Sartre's scientific sexual Skinner social sociobiology someone species statement suggest superego theory of Forms theory of human things thought tion true truth tween unconscious verification principle York