Why it's easier to do evil than to do good

Hobbes was right

Whether we see humans as essentially good or essentially selfish and violent has been central to our politics, our account of society, and our vision for social progress. Jean-Jacques Rousseau famously defended the former account and Thomas Hobbes the latter. Wojciech Załuski reappraises Hobbes and defends his pessimistic account of human nature.  

 

The question of whether human beings are more prone to do evil or to do good is usually posed in psychological terms: it leads to an inquiry into human predispositions with a view to deciding whether ‘evil’ predispositions prevail over ‘good’ ones, or vice versa. As a result of this way of inquiry, several different views of human nature were distinguished, with the two extreme ones – usually called ‘the Hobbesian view’: human beings are inherently evil, and ‘the Rousseauian view’: human beings are inherently good, and some more nuanced ones located between them (by th

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