Huemer On Human Nature

In a response to Arnold Kling, Michael Huemer explains that his argument against authority doesn’t rest on any systematic theory of human nature:

What is my view of human nature? Well, there are lots of different people with lots of different traits. With regard to any trait, there will be a variation, with some people having surprisingly high or low amounts of it. Hence, I would say that most people are basically prudent most of the time, but that there are a small number of people who are frequently reckless and violent; and also, ordinary people can be gotten to act in irrational ways in special circumstances. I hope these sound like uninteresting, banal remarks.

I really don’t think that disagreements about “human nature” are at the core of most political disagreements. I think people like to say that because it sounds profound. But I really didn’t arrive at any major views by contemplating “human nature”, except in fairly trivial, banal ways. In particular, I don’t think I disagree with liberals or conservatives because I have a different view of human nature.

This passage appears in a conversation between Huemer, Kling and Bryan Caplan which began with Kling’s review of The Problem of Political Authority.

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