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CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
Widely acclaimed as the most authoritative and accessible one-volume dictionary of philosophy available in English (and now with translations into Chinese, Italian, Korean, Russian, and Spanish forthcoming), this work is now in a second edition offering an even richer, more comprehensive, and more up-to-date survey of ideas and thinkers, written by an international team of 440 contributors. Key features of this second edition: • The most comprehensive entries on major philosophers • 400 new entries including 50 on preeminent contemporary philosophers • Extensive coverage of rapidly developing fields such as the philosophy of mind and applied ethics (bioethics and environmental, medical, and professional ethics) • More entries on non-Western and non-European philosophy than any comparable volume, including African, Arabic, Islamic, Japanese, Jewish, Korean, and Latin American philosophy • Broad coverage of Continental philosophy Robert Audi is Charles J. Mach Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
human nature, a quality or group of qualities, belonging to all and only humans, that explains the kind of being we are. We are all two-footed and featherless, but ‘featherless biped’ does not explain our socially significant characteristics. We are also all both animals and rational beings (at least potentially), and ‘rational animal’ might explain the special features we have that other kinds of beings, such as angels, do not. The belief that there is a human nature is part of the wider thesis that all natural kinds have essences. Acceptance of this position is compatible with many views about the specific qualities that constitute human nature. In addition to rationality and embodiment, philosophers have said that it is part of our nature to be wholly selfinterested, benevolent, envious, sociable, fearful of others, able to speak and to laugh, and desirous of immortality. Philosophers disagree about how we are to discover our nature. Some think metaphysical insight into eternal forms or truths is required, others that we can learn it from observation of biology or of behavior. Most have assumed that only males display human nature fully, and that females, even at their best, are imperfect or incomplete exemplars. Philosophers also disagree on whether human nature determines morality. Some think that by noting our distinctive features we can infer what God wills us to do. Others think that our nature shows at most the limits of what morality can require, since it would plainly be pointless to direct us to ways of living that our nature makes impossible. Some philosophers have argued that human nature is plastic and can be shaped in different ways. Others hold that it is not helpful to think in terms of human nature. They think that although we share features as members of a biological species, our other qualities are socially constructed. If the differences between male and female reflect cultural patterns of child rearing, work, and the distribution of power, our biologically common features do not explain our important characteristics and so do not constitute a nature. See also EMBODIMENT , ESSENTIALISM , PHILOSOPHY OF MIND . J.B.S.
human rights. See RIGHTS. human sciences. See WEBER.
as the father of comparative linguistics. Born in Potsdam, Wilhelm, with his younger brother Alexander, was educated by private tutors in the “enlightened” style thought suitable for future Prussian diplomats. This included classical languages, history, philosophy, and political economy. After his university studies in law at Frankfurt an der Oder and Göttingen, his career was divided among assorted diplomatic posts, writing on a broad range of topics, and (his first love) the study of languages. His broad-ranging works reveal the important influences of Herder in his conception of history and culture, Kant and Fichte in philosophy, and the French “Ideologues” in linguistics. His most enduring work has proved to be the Introduction (published in 1836) to his massive study of the Kawi language spoken on Java. Humboldt maintained that language, as a vital and dynamic “organism,” is the key to understanding both the operations of the human mind and the distinctive differences characteristic of various national cultures. Every language possesses a distinctive inner form that shapes, in a way reminiscent of Kant’s more general categories, the subjective experiences, the worldview, and ultimately the institutions of a given nation and its culture. While all later comparative linguists are indebted to both his empirical studies and his theoretical insights, such philosophers of culture as Dilthey and Cassirer acknowledge him as establishing language as a central concern for the human sciences. J.P.Su. Hume, David (1711–76), Scottish philosopher and historian who may be aptly considered the leading neo-skeptic of the early modern period. Many of Hume’s immediate predecessors (Descartes, Bayle, and Berkeley) had grappled with important elements of skepticism. Hume consciously incorporated many of these same elements into a philosophical system that manages to be both skeptical and constructive. Born and educated in Edinburgh, Hume spent three years (1734–37) in France writing the penultimate draft of A Treatise of Human Nature. In middle life, in addition to writing a wide-ranging set of essays and short treatises and a long History of England, he served briefly as companion to a mad nobleman, then as a military attaché, before becoming librarian of the Advocates Library in Edinburgh. In 1763 he served as private secretary to Lord Hertford, the British ambassador in Paris; in 1765 he became secretary to the embassy there and then served as chargé d’affaires. In 1767–68 he served in Lon-
Humboldt, Wilhelm von (1767–1835), German statesman, scholar, and educator, often regarded