Table of Contents

Ancient and Early Modern Views of Human Nature

  1. Plato, Republic
  2. Aristotle, Nocomachean Ethics; Politics
  3. René Descartes, Principles of Psychology
  4. Francois de la Rochefoucald, Maxims
  5. Earl of Rochester, A Satire Against Mankind

Christian Views of Human Nature

  1. St. Augustine, Confessions; On Free Choice of the Will
  2. St. Thomas Aquinas, On the Virtues in General; On Free Choice
  3. Martin Luther, The Freedom of a Christian
  4. John Locke, The Reasonableness of Christianity; The Second Treatise of Government; A Letter Concerning Toleration
  5. Joseph Butler, Fifteen Sermons
  6. Immanuel Kant, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone
  7. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, A Testament to Freedom


  1. Immanuel Kant, An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?
  2. Antoine-Nicolas de Concordet, Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind
  3. Wilhelm Von Humboldt, The Limits of State Action
  4. J. S. Mill, On Liberty
  5. L.T. Hobhouse, Liberalism
  6. John Rawls, Political Liberalism

Conservative Individualism

  1. Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
  2. Thomas Hobbes, The Leviathon
  3. James Boswell, The Life of Dr Johnson; Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, The Idler
  4. Simone Weil, The Need for Roots
  5. Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual
  6. Michael Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics

Dialectical Theories of Human Nature

  1. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality
  2. G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Mind; Philosophy of Right
  3. Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844; Thesis on Feuerbach; The German Ideology
  4. Friedrich Nietzche, On the Geneology of Morals

Biological Theories

  1. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
  2. Edward O. Wilson, On Human Nature


  1. Sigmund Freud, Character and Culture; Civilization and its Discontents

Behaviorism and Non-Self Theories

  1. David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature
  2. Julien de La Mettrie, Man a Machine
  3. J.B. Watson, The Ways of Behaviorism; Behaviourism
  4. Margaret A. Boden, Artificial Intelligence in Psychology
  5. Daniel C. Dennett, Consciousness Explained


  1. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women
  2. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex
  3. Juliet Mitcell, Psychoanalysis and Feminism; Women: The Longest Revolution
  4. Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice.
  5. Katha Politt, Marooned on Gilligan’s Island: Are Women Morally Superior to Men?

Some Contrary Voices

  1. Jean Paul Sartre, Existentialism and Humanism
  2. Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae

Twentieth-Century Views in Sociology and Anthropology

  1. Ferdinand Tonnies, Community and Society.
  2. Marvin Harris, Cultural Materialism; Our Kind.

Works Cited and Recommended Reading

Posted on October 29, 2015