Re: human nature (not as short; but just as final... where Richard is concerned)

Sun, 27 Apr 1997 19:03:19 -0500 (CDT)
Jason Brooks (

On Sun, 27 Apr 1997, Andrew Wayne Austin wrote:

> It seems logical to me
> that what is natural and what is social should be distinguished...
> The term "human nature" itself is, as of right now, an oxymoron. Since
> everything that we know of thus far as "human" is social, human is not
> natural.

For greater clarity, at least for myself, could you define more precisely
what you mean by "natural" and "unnatural"? I have always been under the
impression that "human" is social, as you propose, but not that this is
unnatural. You seem to want to enumerate the differences between homo
sapiens and other species of animals, in a way that would allow us to come
up with a distinct set of characteristics that we can call "human nature."
Yet, to do so seems to me to be a logical impossibility if you say that
the social aspect of homo sapiens is not "natural." I have always been
under the impression that human association is indeed natural. It would
seem that just because other species are engaged in a process of
socialization, this does make disqualify huamn socialization as a specific
characteristic that is "natural" to homo sapiens. Indeed, it may be that
there are specific ways in which humans socialize that provide the
answers to your question of what it is that makes up "human nature."

I hope that this has not come across as an attack on your view. As as
undergraduate in Sociology and Philosophy, this idea, and especially this
strain of thought intrigues me. However, I am not nearly as versed either
of these subjects as anyone else here, so I truly do ask these questions
from a standpoint of personal clarification. If I am wrong in my
reasoning, or am missing your point, or if this point was discussed
earlier (I have missed many post regarding this thread of discussion),
please let me know. Until then,

Jason Brooks