Human nature

From the philosophical point of view, all individuals have in common and also share a group of particular characteristics that cover important aspects of daily life, among them we find the way of thinking , acting and feelings , all within a context in which they are managed by man. Many philosophers have tried to give a specific explanation of what human nature is, however, in one thing they agree, the term implies the essence of the human being as well as his personal, physical development and his instinct, which makes him do the same. stuff.

What is human nature?

Human nature is a set of characteristics that define the individual, it is what makes us intrinsically human and that differentiates us at the same time from other beings or creatures. It is the ability to reason , love and feel emotions .

  • Definition
  • Characteristics of human nature
  • Elements
  • Types
  • Human nature according to Aristotle
  • According to Hobbes
  • According to Kant
  • David Hume’s Treatise on Human Nature
  • Importance
  • Examples


The concept or definition of human nature is quite interesting. When we refer to the term human nature, we are talking about all those elements that a certain individual possesses, those characteristics that make it unique and different from others and that can also differentiate it from any other type of living organism. It does not imply then only the rational aspect of man and the logical aspect but also includes all the emotional aspects that surround him, the feelings and the instincts which may be hidden in some moments but that always manage to surface.

Characteristics of human nature

Among the most prominent characteristics of human nature are the following:

  • Human nature involves taking the other individuals around us into consideration .
  • It has a high level of freedom and religiosity .
  • It has variables that are related to social , cultural and genetic factors .
  • It is part of human behavior as such.
  • It can be built over long periods of time and depends largely on the cultural context in which an individual develops.
  • It implies all the different ways of acting that man has as well as his way of thinking in the situations that arise.
  • It has other factors that are related to each other such as action and motivation


The elements of human nature according to Hippocrates , also correspond to the elements that can be found within nature , these are the earth, wind , game and water. For this philosopher, these elements have, within the human body, specific functions that interfere with its way of acting. The elements are as follows:

  • Earth : is related to black bile
  • Fire : is related to yellow bile
  • Water : represented by phlegm
  • Air : is related to blood

When all these elements are in perfect harmony , the human being then has the ability to dominate and rule over his character, his health and his body.


According to psychologists, there are five different types of human nature in the world. These are:

  • Conscientious : they are people who are characterized by being well organized , reliable and self-sufficient . Sometimes they may have personality traits related to stubbornness and possessiveness.
  • Extroverts : in this group of people we can find those people who have high energy levels in all social aspects . They are individuals who like to converse and be the center of attention. They can be seen by others as dominant people.
  • Nice : all those people who have a great sense of trust in their human nature , who are friendly and who can easily show affection to others. They have a pro-social behavior and are quick to engage in all kinds of altruistic activity.
  • Open to experience: in this case, human nature is based on all the interests that an individual has and on the imagination so they tend to be very curious and creative. They have the ability to enjoy self-realization through intense and euphoric experiences.
  • Neuroticism: they are the people who are normally known by the name of neurotics and who possess in their human nature high levels of instability in their emotions. They are reactive and highly excitable, presenting at the same time a higher level of unpleasant emotions, such as anxiety.

Human nature according to Aristotle

For Aristotle , the nature of man included aspects such as the way he behaves , the activities he performs, the function of being and the question, what is man ? In his ethical work, he describes human nature as the ability to have rational and irrational psyches and also included the natural drive of the human being to create society , to achieve greater knowledge , to find happiness and to be able to connect with God. He considered that every species in the world, including humans, had its ownown nature and that the primary objective of each individual was to be able to fulfill it.

For him, man pursued his true nature when he directed all his efforts to obtain a beneficial end. He also claimed that philosophy helped man by allowing him to use his rational mind to achieve realization. He also believed that man was a social animal by nature and that for this reason, society was integral to all human beings.

According to Hobbes

In his work called Leviathan , Thomas Hobbes describes his point of view regarding human nature. For him, human beings wanted to live well and because of this, they are never satisfied with the power they have because they always want more. It considers that the human being is also in search of fame , glory , pleasure and admiration of others. According to his theory, individuals were created equally and all also have the ability to kill each other because human beings are always in search of power .

According to Kant

For Kant, there were several important aspects related to human nature, including reason , which plays an extremely important role for the human being as it is the means with which he can obtain all his knowledge . Another important aspect in human nature for Kant was reasoning , because for him, man is an agent capable of doing things that act in the world and that these have reasons to be done. For him, man can sometimes order desires as well as moral obligations .

David Hume’s Treatise on Human Nature

His work is a study carried out based on human nature where the subject related to knowledge is basic and fundamental. Seeks the way to establish a system that can include all sciences through the study of the nature of man because knowledge is the foundation of all other sciences. To apply his theory, David Hume used the experimental method through induction from experience and observation .

The principles of his treatise included aspects related to feelings of pleasure , pain , human beliefs and customs . It also included renunciations on the part of the human being before some of his beliefs.


Its main importance lies in the fact that human nature focuses on the essence of the human being and tries to study , analyze and understand the way in which man can think, behave and develop personally. In addition, it is where all the dreams and goals of the human being are and this makes him strive to achieve them.


Some examples of human nature are:

  • Strive to get a better job.
  • Help those most in need.
  • Educate children to be good human beings.
  • Taking credit for someone else’s work (negative example of human nature).

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