Head to Head: Are Humans Naturally Good?

Whilst this question traces back to the 4th century Christian theological dispute between Augustine and Pelagius, it came to its clearest definition in the Enlightenment texts of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. These positions are no less prominent today, and shape contemporary debates surrounding the power of the state, criminal justice and the education system. The Oxford Union asks: are we born perfect in the state of nature and corrupted by society? Or does society create a thin veneer of civility over our intrinsically brutish selves?

humans naturally
  • Date: October 31, 2022
  • Start: 5:00 pm

Proposition: John Dunn, an English political theorist
Opposition: Rogers M. Smith, an American political scientist