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Why We Disagree About Human Nature$
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Elizabeth Hannon and Tim Lewens

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198823650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198823650.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 November 2020

Human Nature

Human Nature

A Process Perspective

5 Human Nature
Why We Disagree About Human Nature

John Dupré

Oxford University Press

This sketch of an account of human nature begins with the claim that we should see humans as a kind of process, a life cycle, rather than as a kind of substance or thing. A particular advantage of such a process perspective is that it readily accommodates the developmental plasticity that has been an increasingly important concept in recent biological theory. Human behaviour, on this account, should be understood as providing adaptive and flexible responses to an unpredictable environment. It is, therefore, generally misguided to provide a standard account of human nature in terms of behaviour or behavioural dispositions. If there is such a thing as human nature, it is a uniquely refined propensity for novel and unpredictable behaviour.

Keywords:   process, process ontology, life cycles, developmental plasticity, human nature, lineage, learning, human evolution, behavioural plasticity

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