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Human Nature and the Scope of Education


by David Hawkins 1972

I shall be concerned in this paper with three postulates or conditioning hypotheses which have underlain the classical theory of human nature. My particular focus is the central place of human educability in the theory of human nature. In each case the postulates in question are relevant to education and in each case their significance has been blurred. For there is a wide array of plausible belief which appears to contradict them, and in any event they have never been consistently applied to the estate of childhood. On the other hand, there are serious difficulties and misfortunes connected with their overt denial. I propose to examine some of the fruitful consequences of these postulates, properly formulated, for a theory of human nature which gives place (as the classics do not) to education and development.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 71, No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 73 Number 5, 1972, p. 287-326
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 19503, Date Accessed: 10/23/2017 4:48:55 PM

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About the Author
  • David Hawkins
    University of Colorado
    DAVID HAWKINS is director of the Mountain View Center for Environmental Education at the University of Colorado.
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