“This book, which is in its second edition, provides a provocative mirror from which to discern more clearly one's own assumptions about human nature…. I found myself reflecting on the subject matter and its impact on my own life, including relationships, teaching, research, and therapy…. The author has done a superb job of raising our consciousness about human nature in this book, an I strongly recommend it to academic and applied psychologists. If you need an invitation to examine your views about human nature, this book is it.”--C. R. Snyder, University of Kansas, Lawrence In general, are people trustworthy or unreliable, altruistic or selfish? Are they simple and easy to understand or complex and beyond comprehension? Our assumptions about human nature color everything from the way we bargain with a used-car dealer to our expectations about further conflict in the Middle East. Because our assumptions about human nature underlie our reactions to specific events, Wrightsman designed this second edition to enhance our understanding of human nature--the relationship of attitudes to behavior, the unidimensionality of attitudes, and the influence of social movements on beliefs. Psychologists, social workers, researchers, and students will find Assumptions About Human Nature an illuminating exploration into the philosophies of human nature.

A Time for Taking Stock

A time for taking stock
JonathaAtyas, Lawrence S.Wrightsman

There is no general mythology today, nor can there ever be again. Our lives are too greatly various in their backgrounds, aims, and possibilities for any single order of symbols to work effectively on us all.

—Joseph Campbell

Within the span of a few months, American readers saw the publication of two important books that reflected views of human nature that were totally at odds with each other.

In Chance and Necessity, Jacques Monod (1972), a Nobel Prize-winning French biochemist, proposed that

life arose on earth by chance, that man is alone in a dead universe, and that there is no rational foundation for any belief that man's existence serves a purpose, is part of Somebody's plan, is ...

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