What kind of creature in this natural man has been a question of philosophical thought since classical times. This book examines major episodes in the continuing search for the true philosophy of human nature since 1700: the Enlightenment's rejection of the juridical doctrine of the law of Nature and all its assumptions; the substitution of doctrines based on a scientific study of man and a sentimental belief in the natural goodness of man; Burke's rejection of these substitutes and reaffirmation of the ancient doctrine. Under each doctrine are considered the solutions and contributions of the great philosophers and social theorists: the political absolutism of Hobbes, the absolute bureaucracy of Helvetius, the sentimental views of Culverivel and Shaftesbury and Rousseau, Godwin's belief that man is naturally good and that the evil we find in him is due to external influences, and the critics of the revolutionary philosophers--especially Edmund Burke who leads us back to the conscience of mankind. This book is not simply a catalogue of varied opinions about the nature of man, but an intelligent integration of ancient thought and modern ideas and needs. Although this book is written for the intelligent reader, its interest would not be great to anyone who tries to read it without any background in philosophy and social history. Good supplementary reading for philosophy students.