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Essay on the Topic of the Reflection of Human Nature in Printed Publications

Updated August 8, 2022

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Essay on the Topic of the Reflection of Human Nature in Printed Publications essay

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Stevenson, Robert L. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Oxford World’s Classics, 1886.

This is a representative novel that discusses human psychology. It is about how doctor Jekyll could not resit his inner temptation to get evil and managed to produce some kind of medicine that can let him unleash his another personality evil Hyde. At the end of the noel, Jekyll could not stand the sufferings deep in his heart and killed himself with poison. On the surface, this might seem like an intriguing suspense novel. However, as a matter of fact, this novel offers many insightful descriptions about how there is a thin line between sinfulness and virtues. Hence, it will be of worthy reference for me to discuss the theme of virtue.

Johnson, Robert. Kant’s Moral Philosophy. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), 2016.

The book elaborates on Kant’s moral theory Deontology. In particular, the principles related to how to judge whether one act is good or not are explained. It can be summarized as: the motive, namely the built-in sense of responsibility on the part of the agent, rather than the outcome, has a direct impact on judging whether an act is moral or not. Even when it comes to today, Kant’s Deontology still represents an important school of morality. It lays emphases on the motive of acts, which is often a key aspect for characterization. Kant’s theory on virtue offers an important reference to understand the nature of virtues. The mentioned principles can also be applied to help dig into the virtues of a certain character.

Mondal, Abdul. Latif. (2016). Mill’s Critique of Bentham’s Utilitarianism. International Journal of Philosophy Study (IJPS), vol.4, 2016, pp. 78-80.

This journal article mainly focuses on discussing the Utilitarianism. Exactly the contrary to Deontology, Utilitarianism, or Benthamism, proposes that the outcome of an act is the sole standard to judge whether one act is moral or not, irregardless of the motive of the agent. In particular, the principle of the “the greatest pleasure of the greatest number” is explained, namely that when the act can promote the pleasure of the largest sum of individuals, then it is considered moral. This offers another very different perspective to see virtues and thus is very necessary to be referred to in the comparative analysis, since there is not a definite or unified gauge over virtue.

Lee, Joseph. “The Human Dark Side: Evolutionary Psychology and Original Sin.” Journal of Religion & health, vol. 53, no. 2, 2014, pp. 614-629.

In the journal article, the theory of evolutionary psychology is applied to examine the dark sides in human nature, especially its sinfulness. According to evolutionary psychology, in spite of all the shared interests among individuals which spurred the birth of the human society in the first place, individuals have at the same time many differences. Hence, underlying the seemingly order in the society, there is never shortage of injustice and crimes. All these evil aspects of human beings are actually determined because they come as original sins. Hence being human means to resist the natural temptations to rob others of their interests in order to preserve their own. This article can help me see human sins and virtues from the perspective of evolutionary psychology, which is very necessary in helping me understand why crimes are still existence in spite of the stringent legal restrictions.

Ayn, Rand. The Virtue of Selfishness. Penguin Group (USA), 1989.

The book offers a fresh perspective of Rand who believes that selfishness, rather than being a symbol of evilness, is actually a kind of virtue necessary for human existence. Rand believes that there has been a general misunderstanding of “selfishness”. According to him, it refers to be concerned with one’s own interests by the definition in the dictionary and does not contain any moral evaluations itself since it just describe what one deals with one’s own interests. Hence, Rand opposes to the practice of denouncing people for being concerned with their own interests and for calling it selfish. Selfishness is a virtue, it is first of all the basis of human existence since man should benefit from their moral actions. This book is revolutionary in its insightful rectification of the judgment on selfishness. Should it be considered selfish when one merely profit from his or her deeds? This is an important question to dig into in the comparative research and Rand’s opinions offer valuable references to reach a tentative conclusion.

Lloyd, Sharon, and Sreedhar, Susanne. Hobbes’s moral and political philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2008.

Hobbes, as an important moral philosopher, has offered his understanding of human nature. According to him, human beings are competitive in nature and trust is hard to be established among them. They are by nature arrogant and invasive, searching for domination. Without a monarch with centralized power, the human community will only slide from the State of Nature to the State of War. Hobbes obviously sides more with the belief that human beings are sinful by nature. However, such a conclusion was criticized by many as generalization as there are many people who believe in the possibility for people to live in an alternative of peace and conflicts. Hobbes’ moral philosophy, as a representative school of moral theories, offers valuable information as to how to see the good virtues in characterization.

Gambino, Megan. “How Humans Became Moral Beings?” Smithsonianmag, 3 May 2012, Accessed 8 February 2019.

This online article touches upon the interesting reflections on human beings’ evolution to become more moral persons from the perspective of a new rising author Christopher Boehm, originally an evolutionary anthropologist. According to him, kindness shown to one’s kinsman is an attribute by nature in the animal world or the human society alike. But when it comes to altruism, namely kindness towards those nose-kinsmen, Boehm believed it was out of the need of self-control for cooperation and survival. This can be dated back to the primitive society when human hunters and gatherers have to rely on each other’s help and support in order to survive. And to ensure sustainable cooperation, they need to control their alpha nature and in such self-control process, they develop moral consciousness. This article gives a tentative answer to why human beings are capable of being virtuous. It started with individual interests but later evolves into strong moral awareness. Such a perspective will help understand the moral choices made by the characters in the comparative research.

Austin, Michael. “Virtue and Guns.” Psychology Today, 9 January 2019, Accessed 8 February 2019.

This article mainly discusses how the gun culture has and can further shape human virtues. According to the author, a really harmful of the gun culture is that gun users are increasingly indifferent or even numb to gun killing. Their psychological resistance to killing grows weaker and weaker. This gradually leads to universal decline in empathy which is the source of many altruistic acts. In this way, guns influence the character and moral choices of their users. The value of the article to my comparative research is that it discusses the relationship between the social environment and human virtues, in particular the shaping impact of the social environment. In the comparative research, every story has its own social context, bit and small, which should be a focal point for analysis so as to identity how it impacts the individuals’ choices in virtues. In this sense, the article offers a valuable perspective.

Essay on the Topic of the Reflection of Human Nature in Printed Publications essay

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