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Ten Theories of Human Nature Paperback – February 12, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0195169744 ISBN-10: 0195169743 Edition: 4th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 4 edition (February 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195169743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195169744
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,131,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for the previous edition:"A splendid little book. Stevenson has a gift for distilling the essentials of a point of view or system of thought. The chapters on Plato, Christianity, Marx, Freud, and Sartre are gems of expository clarity and critical good sense."--Michael Washburn, Indiana University, South Bend

"A lucid and fascinating introduction to some major theories."--Duncan Richter, Virginia Military Institute

"Easy-to-read and organized uniformly. An excellent foundation text for the course in Clinical Supervision, as understanding human nature is an essential antecedent to the development of supervisory theories."--George A. Jacinto, School of Social Work, University of Central Florida

"This was a good book when it first came out...and is a still better one now....A fine introduction to the big philosophical problems, a well-made map for bewildered students genning up to clear their minds for the next millennium."-Mary Midgley in the Times Higher Educational Supplement

"This was a good book when it first came out...and is a still better one now....A fine introduction to the big philosophical problems, a well-made map for bewildered students genning up to clear their minds for the next millennium."-Mary Midgley in The Times Higher Education Supplement

"Excellent introduction of the basic human events." --Doug Kenmar, Moody Bible Institute

"One of the best texts I've used in Critical Thinking classes (by student evaluation ratings too!) This is more than just a collection; it is well edited, thoughtfully annotated, and the selections work! Five stars: I"ll definitely use it again--and again!"--Donald K. Skiles, Chabot College --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Leslie Stevenson is at University of St. Andrews. David L. Haberman is at Indiana University, Bloomington.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Boris Bangemann on April 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Socrates postulated that only the examined life was worth living. His great inspiring idea was that we can come to know the right way to live if we use our reason properly, and inquire in an open-minded, nondogmatic way.
In this spirit, "Ten Theories of Human Nature" does not restrict its inquiry to five major thinkers of the Western Tradition (Plato, Kant, Marx, Freud and Sartre), but includes three ancient religious traditions (Confucianism, Hinduism, and Christianity) as well as two scientific thinkers (Skinner and Lorenz).
Each of the ten theories is examined under four aspects:
(1) what is its theory about the world?
(2) what is its theory of the nature of human beings?
(3) what is its diagnosis of what is wrong with us?
(4) how can we put it right?
The result is a concise, well-balanced textbook with useful suggestions for further reading. It shows how the focus of each theory on different aspects of human existence branches out into elaborate (sometimes, arcane) systems of thought. It also illustrates how the dominance of very comprehensive theories, especially religious ones, is replaced in time by more scientific, narrow theories which increase our knowledge about human behavior in very particular, small aspects but tend to lose sight of larger, "non-scientific" issues.
While the authors claim at the beginning of their book to present "rival" theories, the book is actually open-minded about the contributions of each theory to the understanding of the human condition: they are adding up, rather than canceling out.
Meeting the ideas of Sartre, Skinner and Lorenz in the context of the book was an interesting experience for me. Surprisingly, I found that Sartre's ideas about freedom and choice could well form the philosophical basis of the main-stream American self-help book - a thought that any self-respecting French intellectual would definitely hate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David L. Neidert on March 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have used this book as an ethics instructor for six years. The book is useful in identifying the multiple influences upon our lives for how we make ethical decisions. Our religious perspectives and understanding of behavioral sciences find residence in our lives, whether we are aware or not. It is through these we are formed and make decisions. Stevenson and Haberman present overviews of Taoism, Hinduism, and Judaism, as well as behavorial sciences and philosophy by examining these theories' underlying philosophies and intellectual difficulties. While Judaism and Christianity are not separated by chapter [but combined into one], and Islam is not given a full discussion, the book is useful for understanding the complexity of global interaction and how we can relate to the millions of people who hold religious or philosophical premises unlike our own.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Yoon Lee on September 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I like the way the author analyzes the religions and thoughts that have influenced the course of world history. It doesn't compare one against the other so the reader is allowed to view the theory in a vacuum. I only wished that the author wrote a chapter on the importance of why we need to engage in such an endeavor that would set the trajectory of our lives. Great book!!!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eric Chan on March 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
The authors attempt to compress 9 philosophers' senses of human nature into a small book. These 9 philosophers are Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Jean Paul Sartre, B.F. Skinner, and Konrad Lorenz, Confucius, Hinduism and Kant. In hope of making the comparison among these philosophers to be clear, the authors examine each theory in terms of nature of universe, nature of humanity, ills of the world, and proposed solution to cure the world. In short, this book should be an excellent threshold for a person who wants to approach human nature
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Edgar Foster VINE VOICE on December 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Leslie Stevenson and David Haberman have produced a work that serves the undergraduate student of philosophy well since this work is accessible and conversational. Furthermore, the new fifth edition of Ten Theories of Human Nature contains some helpful improvements which include a new chapter on Buddhism, no chapter on Freud and a revised chapter on Darwinian theories of human nature. Stevenson's writing style is usually critical but he maintains a certain degree of scholarly distance from his subject matter. I've used this work in teaching classes on human nature and will continue to employ the fifth edition. I only have two quibbles with Stevenson, for the most part, besides his chapter on Darwin which I will not comment on now.

First, the chapter on the Bible is not written in an objective manner. Compare Haberman's approach to Hinduism or Confucianism with Stevenson's approach to the Bible (Hebrew and Christian): the chapters are as different as night and day. Now I am not saying that there is no legitimate place for critique in a discussion on the biblical religions. But the chapter on the Bible would be improved if Stevenson followed Haberman's lead since the chapters on Confucianism, Hinduism and now Buddhism reflect a sufficient degree of scholarly objectivity. When will the chapter on the Bible be treated similarly?

For example, in his attempt to analyze the Hebrew story of Abraham, Stevenson appears to equivocate in one part of his book (page 116). He asks, "Even if it [the command to kill Isaac] was only given as a 'test of faith,' what sort of God would play such a trick?" While Genesis 22:1 describes what happened in Abraham's case as a "test," it does not say that God (YHWH) tricked Abraham.
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