What is the essence of man?

2 min read


Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Sigmund Freud were all influential philosophers and thinkers who had distinct views on human nature. Here is a brief summary of their views:

Thomas Hobbes believed that human beings are naturally selfish and aggressive, and that society is necessary to control these natural tendencies. He argued that the social contract, in which individuals give up some of their freedom in exchange for security, is necessary to prevent individuals from constantly fighting and killing each other.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, on the other hand, believed that human beings are naturally good and that society is responsible for corrupting them. He argued that the social contract is necessary to protect individuals from being oppressed by those in power.

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, believed that human behavior is driven by unconscious desires and conflicts. He argued that the human psyche is divided into three parts: the ego, which mediates between the desires of the id (the unconscious, primal desires) and the demands of the outside world; the superego, which represents our internalized sense of morality and societal norms; and the id, which represents our primal desires for pleasure and aggression. According to Freud, the conflict between these three parts of the psyche is what drives human behavior.

Overall, Hobbes and Freud saw human nature as essentially selfish and aggressive, while Rousseau saw it as fundamentally good. However, one must ask the fundamental question whether the human being is not, as Nietzsche expresses it, the not determined animal, that man is not entitled to an unchangeable nature at all and that his essence can change accordingly.

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