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Human Nature: Good, Bad or Both?

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Are human beings good, bad, or a combination of both? Give reasons for your answer. Do you feel that living morally is a natural and easy process, or a hard and arduous task?

Answer the above questions in terms of the following:
Present your opinion. Establish a position while referring to ideas and arguments from belief systems that you read about in lesson presentations or textbook readings. Ensure that you include at least three reference points.
Do you agree with any of the belief systems? If yes, which one and why?
How does your personal belief system affect your approach to morality?
Do you believe that a moral system should be structured and clear or permissive and flexible?

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Dear Student,
Hello, the solution below should get you started in the right direction. Always remember that when faced with questions like this, what is expected of you is to present a narrative that is based on the materials you are currently learning (i.e. ethics, philosophy) but at the same time ought to present a personal view so as to show application in personal life. Good luck & thank you for using Brainmass.

OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Good, Bad & Morality

I believe in the idea that infants are born as clean slates - granted we have genetic predisposition based on our parent's DNA towards objects and ideas. This, however are just that - pre-dispositions that are not assured of being activated or displayed in personality the infant upon growth and membership in society will develop upon reaching adulthood. I am of the belief that ethics, philosophy, morals, virtues - these are all socially learned by experience, observation, education, assimilation and enculturation. Why so? Society is made up of people - our social agencies, groups and interaction create an artificial, not natural sense of organization. Machiavelli portrays the state of nature as pre-civilization, when man was no better than a beast. Are we really prior to social organization no better? Man, on his own, in nature will be in competition with other animals, other species, without language, without culture - his senses ...

Solution Summary

The solution is an 869-word discussion of the nature of human beings - are we good are we bad or both? It discusses morality, ethics and social standards using philosophical and sociological perspectives including the ideas of Machiavelli & Immanuel Kant. References both web and print are listed for expansion. A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing.

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A discussion of nationalism and whether it is beneficial or harmful to the establishment and growth of liberty.

This is a discussion of the concept of nationalism. Lord Acton wrote the following about nationalism and we will analyze his ideas in this essay.

"The greatest adversary of the rights of nationality is the modern theory of nationality. By making the State and the nation commensurate with each other in theory, it reduces practically to a subject condition all other nationalities that may be within the boundary. It cannot admit them to an equality with the ruling nation which constitutes the State, because the State would then cease to be national, which would be a contradiction of the principle of its existence. According, therefore, to the degree of humanity and civilization in that dominant body which claims all the rights of the community, the inferior races are exterminated, or reduced to servitude, or outlawed, or put in a condition of dependence.

If we take the establishment of liberty for the realization of moral duties to be the end of civil society, we must conclude that those states are substantially the most perfect which, like the British and Austrian Empires, include various distinct nationalities without oppressing them. Those in which no mixture of races has occurred are imperfect; and those in which its effects have disappeared are decrepit. A State which is incompetent to satisfy different races condemns itself; a State which labors to neutralize, to absorb, or to expel them, destroys its own vitality; a State which does not include them is destitute of the chief basis of self-government. The theory of nationality, therefore, is a retrograde step in history....

Nationality does not aim either at liberty or prosperity, both of which it sacrifices to the imperative necessity of making the nation the mold and measure of the State. Its course will be marked with material as well as moral ruin, in order that a new invention may prevail over the works of God and the interests of mankind. There is no principle of change, no phrase of political speculation conceivable, more comprehensive, more subversive, or more arbitrary than this. It is a confutation of democracy, because it sets limits to the exercise of the popular will, and substitutes for it a higher principle."

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