Are human beings violent by nature?

Ted Grimsrud—April 12, 2012

One of my classes recently discussed the issue of human nature and violence—a perennial vexing discussion. Are we genetically determined to be violent as expressed in much contemporary writing by biologists, et al, as well as political thinkers? If so, is pacifism simply unrealistic, terribly naive, even problematically romantic?

Of course, we did not resolve the issue. It’s something I keep thinking about. I think it is important to state the case for human beings as not inherently violent.

Three viewpoints

We may speak of three general viewpoints concerning human nature, what I will categorize as the “hard-wired view,” the “blank-slate view,” and the “flexible view.” Continue reading “Are human beings violent by nature?”