Humans are good

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One of two opposing beliefs about human nature is that humans basically want to please others and cause good things to happen, and the most they need is a little encouragement and guidance in order to learn the best ways of doing this. Ideas emerging from this premise include tolerance, forgiveness, and nonconformity, as well as some components of individualism. This belief is one of the main tenets of liberalism.


Historically, this viewpoint was advocated by the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712.06.28 - 1778.07.02), who argued that that man is good by nature but is corrupted by society – in contradiction of the earlier views of philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588.04.05 - 1679.12-04), who argued that assertion of authority is necessary in order to prevent civil chaos. The opposing viewpoints of Hobbes and Rousseau often arise in discussions of political philosophy and are typically referred to as Hobbes vs. Rousseau.

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