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Human nature

Related: human - human interest - innate - instinct - nature

William Shakespeare's ability to capture and convey the most profound aspects of human nature is regarded by many as unequalled.

Definition

Human nature is the range of human behaviour that is believed to be innate rather than learned. There is much debate over which behaviours are innate and which are learned, and whether or not this division applies equally to all individuals. This debate is also known as 'nature versus nurture'. --http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_nature

Nature versus nurture

Nature versus nurture is a shorthand expression for debates about the relative importance of an individual's innate nature and experiences ("nurture") in determining or causing physical and behavioral traits. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_versus_nurture [Apr 2005]

Various contexts and issues

A wide variety of human behavioural characteristics may find their way into these types of debates and frame the scope of particular debates. These include personality, sexual orientation, gender identity, political orientation, intelligence, and propensity for violence or criminality.

These various types of nature versus nurture debates tend to be viewed as sensationalistic or oversimplifications of legitimate scientific research, and a misuse of that research for political reasons. Controversial public issues often arise from over-generalisations of specific and incomplete scientific research. Science journalism, the medium for popular science, has always been problematic with scientists when it attempts to make the news of small, incomplete, and perhaps even insignificant developments into headlines which draw public attention. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_versus_nurture#Various_contexts_and_issues [Apr 2005]

For Schopenhauer

For Schopenhauer, one way to escape the suffering inherent in a world of Will was through art.

Through art, Schopenhauer thought, the thinking subject could be jarred out of their limited, individual perspective to feel a sense of the universal directly the "universal" in question, of course, was the will. The contest of personal desire with a world that was, by nature, inimical to its satisfaction is inevitably tragical; therefore, the highest place in art was given to tragedy. Music was also given a special status in Schopenhauer's aesthetics as it did not rely upon the medium of representation to communicate a sense of the universal. Schopenhauer believed the function of art to be a meditation on the unity of human nature, and an attempt to either demonstrate or directly communicate to the audience a certain existential angst for which most forms of entertainment including bad art only provided a distraction. A wide range of authors (from Thomas Hardy to Woody Allen) and artists have been influenced by this system of aesthetics, and in the 20th century this area of Schopenhauer's work garnered more attention and praise than any other.

According to Daniel Albright (2004), "Schopenhauer thought that music was the only art that did not merely copy ideas, but actually embodied the will itself." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Schopenhauer#Aesthetics [Apr 2005]

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