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Forum – What is Human Nature?

The Humanist Association of Toronto

Every Saturday we meet to discuss a topic decided upon the previous week. These are topics of humanist interest, from a humanist perspective.

This week’s topic is: “What is Human Nature?”

Many times in our discussions at The Forum, the group has heard one of the attendants say, “But that’s just human nature.” Around the room, heads nod with agreement while others shake their heads. Clearly, many of us believe there is such a thing as “human nature” but what is meant by the concept is not at all agreed upon.

As a starting point, we will view human nature as “the fundamental traits and dispositions common to all humans”.

What features do we accept as being a part of human nature? Why do we include these and not others?

Where do such features originate?

Are they common to all humans in some way and in some degree?

If there is an essential human nature, is it different for men and women?

Is there a human nature at all, in the strict scientific sense, or is the concept mainly applied in a colloquial sense, to characteristics we wish to be seen as universal as they support our own values or narratives?

Do humanists share a common understanding of human nature?

Meet our diverse group, trade perspectives in a free and open forum and learn from others as they learn from you!

BTW: don’t be concerned if there are not many RSVP’s. Many HAT members attend regularly but don’t sign up on Meetup. Our online meetings have been very popular with 20-30 attendees.

NOTE: The HAT Forum adheres strictly to the City of Toronto Policy on Non-Discrimination (

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