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Assignment Questions

Essay on Human Nature

Human Nature

Thesis: Although it is imperfect, human nature is an essential part of man. Throughout time many philosophers and religious scholars have debated its value to individuals and its impact on society. Is human nature fundamentally good? Is human nature innate or learned? This essay will examine these questions as they relate to Confucianism, Xunzi?s philosophy, Mencius? philosophy, and Christian beliefs. A brief summary for each perspective?s opinion on human nature will be provided. In addition to these summaries, I will compare and contrast these points of view. Finally, I will evaluate which philosophy of human nature I believe to have the most merit omitting Christianity. This omission is necessary due to the personal bias it poses.

Ames, Roger T., and Henry Rosemont, Jr., trans. The Analects of Confucius: A Philosophical Translation. A New Translation Based on the Dingzhou Fragments and Other Recent Archaeological Finds. Classics of Ancient China. New York: Ballantine, 1998.

Cua, Antonio S. Human Nature, Ritual, and History: Studies in Xunzi and ChinesePhilosophy. Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy 43. Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 2005.

Holy Bible. Web. .

Ivanhoe, Philip J., and Bryan W. Van Norden. Mozi, in Readings in Classical ChinesePhilosophy, ed. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2001, 55-107.

Machle, Edward J. Nature and Heaven in the Xunzi: A Study of the Tian lun. SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993.

Van Norden, Bryan. The Essential Mengzi: Selected Passages with Traditional Commentary. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2009.



Support your argument with evidence (especially textual evidence from primary sources).
Be sure that your evidence is reliable and relevant to your thesis (and vice versa).
Do not just cite your evidence and expect it to speak for itself. All evidence should be analyzed.


Papers are expected to be the result of substantial independent research, involving both primary and secondary sources.

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