Dualism of Human Nature Essay

684 Words Oct 22nd, 2008 3 Pages
The Dualism of Human Nature and Its Social Conditions- Emile Durkheim

According to Durkheim’s work The Dualism of Human Nature and Its Social Conditions (DHN), a man has a dual nature which is made up of the body (individual) and the soul (social). He sheds light on this by citing post-Durkheim theories which he does not agree with and which do not solve the problem of this dual nature. Durkheim also uses The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (EFRL) to discuss the religious aspect of the body and soul. Upon reading, it is discovered that as society evolves, so does this “dual nature.” In DHN, Durkheim argues that sociology must examine what an individual consists of because it is a result of the whole society. It is this society
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There were also 2 other theories that attempted to explain this “dualism of human nature” : (1) The Ontological Explanation by Plato- man’s inward struggle consists of being “good” and being unethical. Plato says that “because we are part of both, we are necessarily in conflict with ourselves.” (p.4) And a theory by Kant (2) Sensitivity and Reason- we have an ability to think individually or collectively. Durkheim feels that these 2 theories only re-state the problem it does not resolve it. They also assume that man’s nature is above explanation, but we should be able to explain it.
Again, in EFRL, Durkheim shows religiosity from a sociological standpoint in which “individual consciousness” is combined with “common consciousness.” To look at it another way, individuals use signs and symbols to interpret and/or explain their feelings. If the group all uses the same signs and symbols, it then becomes the symbol or representation of the group’s sacredness. Even if the individual is no longer part of the collective society, he still holds the sacredness of the signs/symbols to the same high standard, and he does this by way of festivals, ceremonies, etc.
Also in DHN, Durkheim

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