AQA  Human Nature question Paper 3 

(9 marks)

In Section A, when a question refers to a particular political concept like human nature, provide a short  definition at the beginning before exploring its significance. Incorporate one to two relevant examples, preferably supported by notable thinkers, to bolster your response. Address three ways specifically — there is no additional benefit in mentioning more than three ways, so avoid spending time doing so.

This question, evaluates knowledge and understanding (AO1) with 6 out of 9 marks allocated for this learning objective. It additionally assesses your capacity to analyze the content by elucidating its significance within the broader scope of liberal ideology (AO2), with 3 out of 9 marks designated for this aspect. Failure to identify and explain more than two relevant aspects will limit your score to 6 marks, regardless of the depth of your knowledge and understanding.

Human nature and beliefs about it are fundamental to all liberal thinkers and how they view society and freedom. All liberal writers from Locke to Friedan take a positive view of human nature, rejecting the negative view espoused by writers such as Hobbes. The first consequence is that an optimistic view of human nature means that every individual has the potential to progress and develop (a belief coined ‘developmental freedom’ by J . S . Mill),  and that society should be constructed in such a way as to maximize this. Secondly, they believe that humans are fundamentally guided by reason, not fear or superstition, again an optimistic view of humanity. Therefore, reason should be encouraged by education and enlightenment — not surprisingly, many liberal thinkers such as T . H . Green supported educational reforms.  Finally, some feminist liberals, such as Wollstonecraft and Friedan, took an equally optimistic view of human nature across both genders. This meant they campaigned forcefully for women’s equality in both politics (getting the vote) and the workplace (equal pay, etc .)  This is seen in their works such as A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) and Feminist Mystique.  In summary, nearly all liberal thought can be traced back to a positive view of human nature. If liberals were not so optimistic, all their ideas about the role of freedom and the function of the state would look much weaker 

Examiner's Comment 8/9

This is a very good answer which is clearly structured and contains appropriately detailed knowledge both of writers and of liberal concepts . It might have been even better if one or two ideas were developed a little further, such as how society should operate .