I am increasingly convinced that Thomas Hobbes' account of human nature is the most true to reality and that Immanuel Kant's is the impossible ideal.
Reading James Griffin's account of the best philosophical account of human rights is an exercise in trying not to laugh. "We human beings have the capacity to form pictures of what a good life would be and try to realise these picture. We value out status as agents especially highly, often more highly even than our happiness."
Why do philosophers wax nauseating lyrical about human beings to the point of ascribing to us these lofty attributes that most of us have no hopes of living up to? The truth is, the average person is a mere ape fighting for his own survival. The average person would have no clue as to what being an "agent" is. The average person lives his life in the pursuit of happiness, not some high brow philosophical concept of agency or personhood or whatever that, I have discovered, has little import on real, every day life.
This is not to say that I disagree with Griffin. I think I would agree with him to a large extent when I'm feeling less cynical. It's just a little bit pointless sometimes, these philosophies and theories of what it means to be human, that give us too much credit and discount too much our unstoppable tendency to live a life that is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.