My psychology professor once told the class that power is a basic human motive.

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My psychology professor once told the class that power is a basic human motive. I asked the professor what was appealing about power and he responded that I was asking a philosophical question rather than a psychological question. I told him that my philosophy professor thinks that my questions are often psychological questions rather than properly philosophical questions. So is the question about why power is appealing a philosophical or psychological question and why is that? Also what is your answer about why power is desirable to people?

Interesting! The historical relationship between "philosophy" and "psychology" is a bit complex. Some in psychology tend to see themselves as principally working from within the sciences or an applied science such as medicine, but some philosophers tend to see psychology as something that emerged historically from philosophy. In any case, the claim that human beings have a basic motive or drive to gain power is a bit abstract. I wonder if the professor meant something specific, such as the power to dominate or control other persons or something less sinister such as the power to think, feel, grow, act justly, and so on. In any case, theories of human nature are (in my view) naturally described as philosophical. Hobbes thought we fundamentally desire power and safety (social bonds are based on our shared fear of premature violent death). And this seems to be properly described as a philosophy that is distinct from, say, Thomas Aquinas' or John Locke's, both of whom thought we had a fundamental desire for social bonds. So, I suggest that your professor's claim is a philosophical one and it can be tested philosophically in terms of its coherence and in light of our best theory of values. (For what it's worth, I am more on the side of Aquinas and Locke than Hobbes.) But when the professor suggests empirical means of testing his thesis about power (perhaps he will propose tests involving human subjects being given choices that reveal "basic human motives") then he might rightly claim to be doing psychology as a social science rather than practicing philosophy.

For a fuller defense of the view that people desire more than power but a host of values, you might check out the work of Max Scheler.

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