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the moral assumption of human nature Free essay! Download now

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the moral assumption of human nature

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 500 | Submitted: 12-Mar-2013
Spelling accuracy: 98.6% | Number of pages: 1 | Filetype: Word .doc

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human nature


Anthropology 2114

The moral assumption of human nature, shared by many of the professors who teach at universities is that “people are guided throughout their lives by a set of principles they learn as children. These principles divide actions into good and bad and provide a moral compass of values that should be followed in life.“(Wilk & Cliggett, 2007, p. 117)

This is to say that the moral assumption of human nature described in the text are principles that each person learns throughout their lives, which they use to aid in decision making. These principles divide good actions from bad actions, and are used when performing an action.

Liberal college anthropologists and Fundamentalist ministers do not agree on the origin of values and moral systems. On one side, “people believe that moral systems are eternal commandments of gods or prophets and are thus natural laws. Most social scientists, on the other hand, believe that moral codes are cultural products of particular times and places. One of anthropology’s fundamental contributions to knowledge is that in every society, people believe that their own values are part of the natural order.”(Wilk & Cliggett, 2007, p. 118)

When anthropologists try to explain why people in other cultures do certain things, while other cultures might view it as odd or strange, within that cultures system of morality, these actions are viewed as right or normal. These actions might make sense. Therefore the role of culture in the moral assumption of human nature shows that people do not all share the same morals or natural laws. What is natural in one culture may not be in another.

A section in the text describes human nature as being bound by cultural rules. It reads as follows:

“A moral view of human nature says that people are essentially bound by cultural rules that define the categories of action. People are moral in this sense because they seek to conform to abstract principles of behaviour that are deeply encoded in language and thought. (This is not to say that they always follow those cultural rules, but only that they evaluate all behaviour according to them.) Moral humans follow neither their own self-interest nor the interests of their group or class, except insofar as the rules of their culture allow it. Because culture creates the categories and the values, all human behaviour is, in this view, a cultural product.”(Wilk & Cliggett, 2007, p. 147)

The culture sketch of the Kapauku describes the people who inhabit the western half of the main island of New Guinea. The culture sketch is consistent with the moral assumption of human nature. The Kapauku culture is very different from the western society. They make decisions and perform actions based ...

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