Leslie Stevenson and David Haberman

Ten Theories of Human Nature

Throughout history we have tried to understand what makes people tick, as well as trying to find rules for the best ways to live our lives. In Ten Theories of Human Nature, Leslie Stevenson and David Haberman look at some of the ideas which have stood the test of time.

The first half of the book looks at what early philosophies and religions had to say on the matter. This includes the work of Plato, Aristotle and Confusius, as well as the teachings of the Bible and of Upanishadic Hinduism. In the middle of the book comes a 'historical interlude', in which the authors look at how the early ideas were modified in the ensuing centuries, with the development of medieval Christianity and the rise of Islam. The second half of the book looks at the ideas of more recent thinkers, discussing Kant, Marx, Freud and Sartre. The tenth chapter is a bit longer, discussing how Darwinism has been applied to society, for example in the works of E.O.Wilson.

It's a lot to fit in to a short book, and sometimes I felt that, when the authors tried to add their own critical evaluation of ideas, there wasn't enough space to do the arguments justice. But overall I thought it was well worth reading, in that it gives a useful summary of some of the most important ideas of human history.

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Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 0195169743
Salesrank: 1934226
Published: 2004 Oxford University Press
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Paperback 268 pages  
ISBN: 0195169743
Salesrank: 853140
Weight:0.75 lbs
Published: 2004 OUP USA
Marketplace:New from £7.48:Used from £0.01
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Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 0195169743
Salesrank: 3350612
Weight:0.75 lbs
Published: 2004 Oxford University Press
Amazon price CDN$ 25.48
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 7.99:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description
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 to 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.