A Comparative Analysis of Natural Inclinations

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The nature or the essence of the human being is an age-old question.This is a fundamental inquiry and there are many points of view. Some philosophers, such as Mill, believe that human beings are born without natural inclinations.


A philosopher like Hobbes would disagree. He would argue that our natural inclinations are competitive, and that we are naturally destined for destruction. In between these two extremes is the notion of rationality. Kant, for instance, argues that we can overcome our natural inclinations, whatever they may be, by using reason.This question is significant because the answer has important implications. How we choose to govern ourselves depends, in large part, on how we answer the question of natural inclinations. How constitutions and legislation treat notions of liberty and freedom of expression, for example, depend on the extant to which the drafters perceive human beings to be capable of moderating their behavior. In short, how we choose to form laws to govern ourselves is dependent on our assumptions regarding our natural inclinations.These are a few of the questions posed and addressed in the works of John Stuart Mill, Thomas Hobbes, and Immanuel Kant. This essay will identify each thinker's analysis of the human being's natural inclinations, the implications of each thinker's analysis, and then offer a brief comparative analysis.As an initial matter, John Stuart Mill, in Utilitarianism, argues that natural inclinations are not innate. Human beings are not born with a natural predisposition to compete (Mill, 1863). ...
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