The fundamentals of ethics rely on a very simple question: Is it good or bad? With this question, people first started to wonder about the good and bad things that are surrounding them. However, they have skipped on one phenomenon while criticising. The humanity itself! Are we good or bad? This question first appeared with Aristotle. The answer came back in his teleology as human nature changes independently according to the individuals. That seemed as an open-ended solution for the philosophy world. Thus they kept on their scavenger hunt so as to find the ultimate answer.
One of the successful examinations came from Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau strongly believed that human nature was the pure state experienced in which any outside forces were not within a reach. Meaning that humans can be only good or bad after getting influenced by the other phenomena. He emphasized that in this sentence of his: “We are born weak, we have need of help, we are born destitute… we have need of assistance; we are born stupid, we have need of understanding.”. Nevertheless, this in-between phase seemed as a ‘good’ nature for Rousseau. He believed that a human further from any interference to his nature is also distant from immorality as well. Distant from immorality is accepted evidently as the good, in this case, in Rousseau’s opinion. To clear, the essence of human nature appears as good. Doesn’t it?
Thomas Hobbes looked through the question with a different approach. He essentially thought about the good in humans. However, he believed that in a man’s nature, morality is not found. He then describes human nature as ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’. He was a materialist. Thus his belief was that everything can be explained in terms of motions and interactions of material bodies. For him, the essence of human beings did not come from the soul or the mind; whereas it came from the machine that the being already is and machines only pursue their own self-interest remorselessly. Notably, Hobbes was pretty sure about the selfishness of humans which resulted in a world with not a single good in it. Then he proceeds to say that humans are inappropriate to live in communities caused of this selfishness. To a certain extent, humans are evil according to Hobbes. Nonetheless, aren’t there any exceptions?
Humans are complex beings. They cannot be put into a shape. Because of our nature, we adore firm answers. The absolute, indisputable truth is the one we desire. We feel safe in definite situations. However; when it has come to evaluate and examine ourselves, we must have an open door. There have been millions of examples to refute both of the philosophers’ ideas to our concern. Maybe Aristotle was right all along! Maybe, we really are created in a random sequence which is far more complex for the human mind to understand. Even so, the only thing that matters at the end of the day is if the human itself ‘tries’ to be good.