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Who Are We?

Louis P. Pojman (Oxford University Press: July 2005), 320 pages.

Since the dawn of human history, people have exhibited wildly contradictory qualities: good and evil, love and hate, strength and weakness, kindness and cruelty, aggressiveness and pacifism, generosity and greed, courage and cowardice. Experiencing a sense of eternity in our hearts–but at the same time confined to temporal and spatial constraints–we seek to understand ourselves, both individually and as a species. What is our nature? What is this enigma that we call human? Who are we? In Who Are We?, esteemed author Louis P. Pojman seeks to find answers to these questions by exploring major theories in Western philosophy and religion, along with several traditions in Eastern thought. The most comprehensive work of its kind, the volume opens with chapters on the Hebrew/Christian view of human nature and the contrasting classical Greek theories, outlining a dichotomy between faith and reason that loosely frames the rest of the book. Following chapters cover the medieval view, Hindu and Buddhist perspectives, conservative and liberal theories, Kant’s Copernican revolution, Schopenhauer’s transcendental idealism, and Karl Marx’s theory. Freud’s psychoanalytic view, the existentialist perspective, the Darwinian view, and scientific-materialism are also discussed. Pojman concludes with a discussion of the question of free will, ultimately asserting that each one of us must decide for ourselves who and what we are, and, based on that answer, how we shall live. ~ Product Description

Table of Contents

    • 1    The biblical views of human nature : Judaism and Christianity    5
    • 2    The Greek tradition on human nature : the Sophists and Socrates    27
    • 3    Plato’s theory of human nature    40
    • 4    Aristotle’s theory of human nature    56
    • 5    St. Augustine’s theory of human nature    72
    • 6    The Hindu and Buddhist theories of human nature    84
    • 7    Classical conservative and liberal theories of human nature : Hobbes and Rousseau    104
    • 8    Immanuel Kant’s Copernican revolution    124
    • 9    Arthur Schopenhauer’s pessimistic idealism    138
    • 10    Karl Marx’s theory of human nature    153
    • 11    Sigmund Freud’s theory of human nature : pansexuality and psychoanalysis    168
    • 12    The existentialist theory of human nature : Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Sartre    183
    • 13    The Darwinian theory of human nature    204
    • 14    Human nature in contemporary theories of the mind    225
    • 15    The paradox of human nature : are we free?    250