The term is often regarded as capturing what it is to be human, or the essence of humanity.
The term is controversial because it is disputed whether or not such an essence exists.
This in turn has been understood as also showing a special connection between human nature and divinity.
This approach understands human nature in terms of final and formal causes.
One part is specifically human and rational, and divided into a part which is rational on its own, and a spirited part which can understand reason.
Other parts of the soul are home to desires or passions similar to those found in animals.In his works, apart from using a similar scheme of a divided human soul, some clear statements about human nature are made: For Aristotle, reason is not only what is most special about humanity compared to other animals, but it is also what we were meant to achieve at our best.Much of Aristotle's description of human nature is still influential today.The Socratic school was the dominant surviving influence in philosophical discussion in the Middle Ages, amongst Islamic, Christian, and Jewish philosophers.The human soul in the works of Plato and Aristotle has a divided nature, divided in a specifically human way.By this account, using one's reason is the best way to live, and philosophers are the highest types of humans.Aristotle—Plato's most famous student—made some of the most famous and influential statements about human nature.In Rousseau's Emile, or On Education, Rousseau wrote: "We do not know what our nature permits us to be".Since the early 19th century, thinkers such as Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, structuralists, and postmodernists have also sometimes argued against a fixed or innate human nature.In other words, nature itself (or a nature-creating divinity) has intentions and goals, similar somehow to human intentions and goals, and one of those goals is humanity living naturally.Such understandings of human nature see this nature as an "idea", or "form" of a human.