can human nature be changed?

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Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 06:18 am
Whether it be caused by us or by some outside force.
 
TuringEquivalent
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 06:53 am
@Philosophinatic,
Philosophinatic;163366 wrote:
Whether it be caused by us or by some outside force.


Yes. Here is why...


It is human nature to have sex, masturbate, and cum. How do we stop our human nature? If you cut off your penis, then you surely cannot cum. Thus, you stop the human nature to have sex, masturbate, and cum.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:09 am
@Philosophinatic,
Philosophinatic;163366 wrote:
Whether it be caused by us or by some outside force.


Why, of course! Why, of course not! The only sensible answer to such a vague question.
 
Philosophinatic
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:23 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163380 wrote:
Why, of course! Why, of course not! The only sensible answer to such a vague question.


Well something that makes me wonder is the history of the world and every human in it.I have noticer that ever since the beginning of time, not much has changed in the actions and efforts of people.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:41 am
@Philosophinatic,
Philosophinatic;163385 wrote:
Well something that makes me wonder is the history of the world and every human in it.I have noticer that ever since the beginning of time, not much has changed in the actions and efforts of people.


Yes. That is true. But how can we tell what that shows (if anything at all) about whether human nature can change unless we know with any kind of precision what that question means?
 
William
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 08:12 am
@kennethamy,
TuringEquivalent;163375 wrote:
Yes. Here is why...
It is human nature to have sex, masturbate, and cum. How do we stop our human nature? If you cut off your penis, then you surely cannot cum. Thus, you stop the human nature to have sex, masturbate, and cum.


Ha, is that all you think it is to be human? Don't "beat" yourself up if it is. You could go blind; or haven't you heard that before? Ha!

Philosophinatic;163385 wrote:
Well something that makes me wonder is the history of the world and every human in it.I have noticed that ever since the beginning of time, not much has changed in the actions and efforts of people.


Universally, that was yesterday. We are barely out of the womb.

kennethamy;163391 wrote:
Yes. That is true. But how can we tell what that shows (if anything at all) about whether human nature can change unless we know with any kind of precision what that question means?


We will grow into it. Until then it will be womb to tomb. Hell or high water we will get there........................someday.

William
 
Philosophinatic
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 10:08 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163391 wrote:
Yes. That is true. But how can we tell what that shows (if anything at all) about whether human nature can change unless we know with any kind of precision what that question means?[

So what is it you are implying? That the history of humans can not give evidence of human natures ability to be changed? Or it will after we define what my original question means?
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 12:07 pm
@Philosophinatic,
I imagine genetic engineering would fit the bill.

But it is vague. If I overcome a natural desire, am I overcoming my nature or is it my nature to overcome my natural desires?
 
Blueback
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 12:34 pm
@Jebediah,
I tend to think of human nature as that stuff that's built into us.
We can't help but feel emotions for example.

So, no, human nature can't be changed. But we don't have to act as human nature would dictate. We can modify how we react to the stuff our body wants us to do. So, the effects of unalterable human nature on the world can be changed. We can't help but feel angry, but we can help whether or not we punch someone.
 
Philosophinatic
 
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 06:19 am
@William,
William;163400 wrote:
Ha, is that all you think it is to be human? Don't "beat" yourself up if it is. You could go blind; or haven't you heard that before? Ha!



Universally, that was yesterday. We are barely out of the womb.



We will grow into it. Until then it will be womb to tomb. Hell or high water we will get there........................someday.

William


I wish that I had (as it says in the movie "angels and demons") the gift of faith like you seem to have but unfortunatly that is not how I was built. I'm afraid that I am the type of person who needs proof in order to believe.
 
qualia
 
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 06:44 am
@Philosophinatic,
Philosophinatic wrote:
Can human nature be changed?

This kind of begs the question, for it already assumes there is A Nature which can be changed, but this is not clear.

Imagine me and you are post-darwinian, genetic biologists. Hardcore DNA folk. For us, Darwin has already effectively shown that searching for a True definition or fixed nature of a given species is not only futile but absolutely unnecessary, since the definition of a species is always-already something temporary, something which changes, something without any permanent lasting or stable reality.

Okay, we say, we'll reject the species notion as the Darwinian world is giving us and look about for some other theories. What now? Is our nature essentially libido maximising machines as Freud asserted, or rational beings a la Descartes? Are we homo-economicus or homo-sociables a la Aristotle and Marx? Or wills to power and meaning a la Nietzsche or Frankle? Do we accept the natures imbued upon us in all political and social theories, a la Marcuse, Foucault, Weber, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Weber, etc or do we pick and choose those we feel most comfortable with, those which ring-true with our own deep heart felt desires?

Because there are so many 'facts', so many discourses about what exactly is our essential Nature, probably the most coherent stance to take is that there isn't any one given nature, and thus to arrive to some tentative, more humble position that baring existence, we don't really have an essential kernal or essence.
 
Ergo phil
 
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 08:41 am
@Philosophinatic,
I once asked a Muslim friend of mine that if I put a gun to his head and told him to eat pork or die he replied that he would rather take the bullet to his head.

Human nature is a ***** to change.
 
Philosophinatic
 
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 01:51 pm
@Blueback,
Blueback;163517 wrote:
I tend to think of human nature as that stuff that's built into us.
We can't help but feel emotions for example.

So, no, human nature can't be changed. But we don't have to act as human nature would dictate. We can modify how we react to the stuff our body wants us to do. So, the effects of unalterable human nature on the world can be changed. We can't help but feel angry, but we can help whether or not we punch someone.


Well when you say that we can control whether or not we punch someone that brings up another argument about the existance of free will. If free will does exist like I imagine you are implying, then should we have control over how we are and what we long for in life?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 02:09 pm
@qualia,
qualia;163838 wrote:
This kind of begs the question, for it already assumes there is A Nature which can be changed, but this is not clear.

Excellent point. What is this abstraction "nature"? The word nature is etymologically related to nativity. Despite it's scientific associations, it's not unrelated to concepts like original sin.

---------- Post added 05-13-2010 at 03:10 PM ----------

qualia;163838 wrote:

Imagine me and you are post-darwinian, genetic biologists. Hardcore DNA folk. For us, Darwin has already effectively shown that searching for a True definition or fixed nature of a given species is not only futile but absolutely unnecessary, since the definition of a species is always-already something temporary, something which changes, something without any permanent lasting or stable reality.

Excellent point. Eddies in the river.

---------- Post added 05-13-2010 at 03:12 PM ----------

qualia;163838 wrote:
Is our nature essentially libido maximising machines as Freud asserted, or rational beings a la Descartes? Are we homo-economicus or homo-sociables a la Aristotle and Marx? Or wills to power and meaning a la Nietzsche or Frankle? Do we accept the natures imbued upon us in all political and social theories, a la Marcuse, Foucault, Weber, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Weber, etc or do we pick and choose those we feel most comfortable with, those which ring-true with our own deep heart felt desires?

Excellent point. And one might say a truer picture of our "nature" is manifested in all those fascinating questions. For "man" is a lingual being who negates his current view for a new one all the time. And the world, at least for the human form of life, is largely conceptual. It is what we think it is, for all separation of the world from our thought is itself within our human system of thought. Including this idea I have just presented. We crawl on the inside surface of a hollow sphere. Smile

---------- Post added 05-13-2010 at 03:15 PM ----------

qualia;163838 wrote:

Because there are so many 'facts', so many discourses about what exactly is our essential Nature, probably the most coherent stance to take is that there isn't any one given nature, and thus to arrive to some tentative, more humble position that baring existence, we don't really have an essential kernal or essence.


The one essence I can attach to man is essencing itself, or thought itself, or just language, if you will. Perhaps the essence of man is that he creates essences, including his own, and in order to create them must negate those h e inherits are already has.

---------- Post added 05-13-2010 at 03:16 PM ----------

Ergo;163866 wrote:
I once asked a Muslim friend of mine that if I put a gun to his head and told him to eat pork or die he replied that he would rather take the bullet to his head.

Human nature is a ***** to change.


Ah, but could he really follow through? I know that some do. But we human do tend to talk some sh*t.Smile

---------- Post added 05-13-2010 at 03:17 PM ----------

William;163400 wrote:
Ha, is that all you think it is to be human? Don't "beat" yourself up if it is. You could go blind; or haven't you heard that before? Ha!

Excellent response. It's no fun to eat ice cream with hairy palms. Smile

---------- Post added 05-13-2010 at 03:20 PM ----------

Jebediah;163513 wrote:
If I overcome a natural desire, am I overcoming my nature or is it my nature to overcome my natural desires?

I think this is an excellent point. I theorize a "spiritual" libido, stirred by symbols just as lust is stirred by pornography.
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 02:31 pm
@Reconstructo,
There is nature and there is human, I don't see how the two can be mutually inclusive.
More like unmutually exclusive.

Human can change human and nature can change human but human cannot change nature.
Only nature can change nature.

Am I missing something here?
perhaps if some one showed or proved to me human nature is a self contained extant I might be able to answer better.
Does this mean I do not believe in 'human nature'? Show me what to believe in. (there's some human for you)
 
Blueback
 
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 03:22 pm
@sometime sun,
Ergo;163866 wrote:
I once asked a Muslim friend of mine that if I put a gun to his head and told him to eat pork or die he replied that he would rather take the bullet to his head.

That seems unlikely. If he really wanted to be strictly, literally true to his faith more than he wanted to live he'd probably have starved to death by now because he was giving all his food to the poor.

The mind doesn't care if it lives or dies, each one is just an arbitrary value. But the brain does care, and it has more control over the body than the mind. He might be able to resist until death if it was really quick, anyone can be brave for a half hour. But if the threat of imminent death was dragged out long enough he'd give in. The mind can only beat the brain for so long, eventually the brain wins.
Philosophinatic;163939 wrote:
Well when you say that we can control whether or not we punch someone that brings up another argument about the existance of free will. If free will does exist like I imagine you are implying, then should we have control over how we are and what we long for in life?

I'm not sure what that means. Should we have anything in particular? No. We invented "shoulds." They don't exist in nature.
 
Philosophinatic
 
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 09:50 pm
@Blueback,
[QUOTE=Blueback;I'm not sure what that means. Should we have anything in particular? No. We invented "shoulds." They don't exist in nature.[/QUOTE


Then why do we do anything at all? What can we hope to live for if there is nothing we "should" do?
 
north
 
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 09:57 pm
@Philosophinatic,
Philosophinatic;163366 wrote:
Whether it be caused by us or by some outside force.


of course

either by

Natural evolution and genetic engineering , or a combination of both
 
Blueback
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 01:57 am
@north,
Philosophinatic;164074 wrote:

Then why do we do anything at all? What can we hope to live for if there is nothing we "should" do?

There are two things that often get confused in a discussion like this. Motivation and morality.

All deterministic systems, like the brain and body, do things because they are motivated to do so. Fundamentally a body's desire to eat is no different from a rock falling off a cliff. That's the natural result of certain inputs to the system. There are more steps between inputs and outputs in some cases, but the principle is still the same.

The mind, on the other hand, is not deterministic. There is no inherent connection between what goes into the mind and what comes out of it. You can think anything at all. Thus, the mind doesn't have motivation. The mind only has morality. The mind picks a standard, and interprets actions based on how well they adhere to that standard. That is where "shoulds" come from.

The key difference is that absolutely anything at all can be a "should", but not anything can be a motivation. Motivations are limited. To oversimplify a bit, all motivations are inherently either the avoidance of pain or the seeking of pleasure. The mind doesn't experience pain and pleasure, it just knows that the brain does. The body is predictable, and with the exception of some wiggle-room on a few dimensions, unchanging. The mind is totally unpredictable.

Human nature is the brain/body stuff.

Unfortunately, "shoulds" only exist in the mind. Nature doesn't give a hoot about them. There is no particular reason anything "should" happen. Never. It's entirely subjective. The vast majority of the things humans do are entirely based on the motivation of their brain/body. The mind is just along for the ride, striving to make sense of it all after the fact. That is why people can be utterly convinced their life has no purpose, and can even explain the philosophy in great detail, but they can't kill themselves, and can't even let themselves die. Because the brain doesn't care about "shoulds." Human nature is to eat when you're hungry. People have been able to overcome that motivation in certain, limited situations, but I'm not convinced they weren't somehow disturbed. Anywho, that's another topic.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 02:02 am
@Philosophinatic,
Philosophinatic;163458 wrote:
kennethamy;163391 wrote:
Yes. That is true. But how can we tell what that shows (if anything at all) about whether human nature can change unless we know with any kind of precision what that question means?[

So what is it you are implying? That the history of humans can not give evidence of human natures ability to be changed? Or it will after we define what my original question means?


Well, what I was saying (and not implying) was that the question, can human nature be changed? is too vague to admit of an intelligent answer.
 
 

 
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