Human Nature and its Implications for the Legal System

  • PU Obioha


This paper examines the implications the various conceptions of human nature hold for the legal system. No doubt, there are various and conflicting theories of human nature such that the concept of human nature seems to have remained elusive and pervasive. Some conceive man as nothing but matter pure and simple; to yet some, man is spiritual and nothing else; some hold a dualist position and maintain that man is both material and spiritual; some see man as being rational/moral and as such open to choice and responsibility; yet some argue that man is pre-determined and thus rule out freewill and responsibility in man; some maintain that man is naturally humane, good and cooperative; yet some maintain that man is naturally aggressive, competitive, selfish and destructive; others deny all these and argue that man has no nature. As expected the ambivalence in these conceptions are not without grave implications for the legal system. This paper is therefore an attempt to critically look at these conceptions of human nature and their implications for the legal system. The paper argues that since law is made for man, an adequate (with a degree of stability in the understanding of man) or the right conception of man is germane for the making of laws meant to guide and protect man.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2141-4343