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Evil Human Nature: From the Perspectives of St. Augustineand Hsun Tzu

Author(s): Xiajun Hu | Jing Guo

Journal: Open Journal of Philosophy
ISSN 2163-9434

Volume: 01;
Issue: 02;
Start page: 61;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Augustine | Hsun Tzu | Evil | Free Will | Nurture

The view of evil human nature is important in Chinese and western cultures. The thesis chooses evil human in St. Augustine’s thoughts and Hsun Tzu’s thoughts to compare and analyze evil in these two. St. Augustine, who is called “the Saint of God”, views the definition of evil, the resource of it, and salvations of it from the aspect of religious beliefs. He considers that evil is the privation of goodness and is not created by God. Because God is omnipotent and all-good, it is impossible for God to create evil. Evil results from the free will of human beings themselves. If people want to attain their salvations, they should use their free will to choose good will and follow the goodness given by God. Hsun Tzu, one of Confucian scholars, puts forward evil human nature which is totally different from good human nature in Confucianism. He views the definition of evil, the source of it, and ways to change evil into good from the angle of social reality in Warring States Period. In Hsun Tzu’s views, evil results from the uninhibited extension of sound physical needs and desires for living. Hsun Tzu believes that human nature is evil and goodness comes from nurture, therefore, converting evil into good is to change human nature through nurturing. By further comparison and analysis, the thesis further looks into these two perspectives from their differences and similarities. It states their differences from five aspects: backgrounds, ways to change evil to good, categories, historical status, and positions of human beings. Apart from those, the thesis also refers to their similarities to complement the comparative analysis. From comparison and analysis, we can draw two conclusions: first, evil human nature from Hsun Tzu is simple in connotation and relatively objective compared with the view of St. Augustine; second, St. Augustine thinks that human beings are equal in front of evil, which has positive significance compared with the ideas posed by Hsun Tzu who insists on the distinction between saint and ordinary people, between monarchs and their subjects.
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