The literature on human nature realism has become quite extensive Speer 1968

The literature on human nature realism has become

This preview shows page 221 - 222 out of 281 pages.

provided by a specific conception human nature, their version of political realism has been frequently called “human nature realism.” The literature on human nature realism has become quite extensive (Speer 1968; Booth 1991; Freyberg-Inan 2003; Kaufman 2006; Molloy 2006, 82–85; Craig 2007; Scheuerman 2007, 2010, 2012; Schuett 2007; Neascu 2009; Behr 2010, 210–225; Brown 2011; Jütersonke 2012). It is not my intention here to present a fully-fledged account of the tradition of human nature realism, but rather to emphasize the extent to which some moral enhancement theorists, in their description of some of the gloomy scenarios humankind is likely to face in the future, implicitly endorse this kind of political realism. Indeed, like human nature realists, moral enhancement theorists assume that human nature has not changed over the last millennia, and that violence and lack of cooperation in the international sphere result chiefly from human nature’s limited inclination to pursue morally desirable goals. One may, of course, criticize the human enhancement project by rejecting the assumption that conflict and violence in the international domain should be explained by means of a theory about human nature. In a reply to Savulescu and Persson, Sparrow correctly argues that “structural issues,” rather than human nature , constitute the main factor underlying political conflicts (Sparrow 2014, 29). But he does not explain what exactly these “structural issues” are, as I intend to do later. Sparrow is right in rejecting the human nature theory underlying the human enhancement project. But this underlying assumption, in my view, is not trivially false or simply “ludicrous,” as he suggests. Human nature realism has been implicitly or explicitly endorsed by leading political philosophers ever since Thucydides speculated on the origins of war in antiquity (Freyberg-Inan 2003, 23–36). True, it might be objected that “human nature realism,” as it was defended by Morgenthau and earlier political philosophers, relied upon a metaphysical or psychoanalytical conception of human nature, a conception that, actually, did not have the support of any serious scientific investigation (Smith 1983, 167). Yet, over the last few years there has been much empirical research in fields such as developmental psychology and evolutionary biology that apparently gives some support to the realist claim. Some of these studies suggest that an inclination to aggression and conflict has its origins in our evolutionary history. This idea, then, has recently led some authors to resume “human nature realism” on new foundations, devoid of the metaphysical assumptions of the early realists, and entirely grounded in empirical research. Indeed, some recent works in the field of international relations theory already seek to call attention to evolutionary biology as a possible new start for political realism. This point is clearly made, for instance, by Bradley Thayer, who published in 2004 a book called Darwin and International Relations: On the Evolutionary Origins of War and Ethnic Conflict. And in a paper published in 2000, he affirms the following: Evolutionary theory provides a stronger foundation for realism because it is based on science, not on theology or metaphysics. I use the theory to explain two
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