- Plutarch, On Garrulity, 511B-C: "And are not those who indicate by signs, without a word, what must be done,..."
- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 2:1: "We were born for cooperation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows up..."
- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 7:22: "It is human nature to love even those who trip and fall. This follows if..."
- Niccolò Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, Book I, Chapter III – What Kind of Events Gave Rise in Rome to the Creation of Tribunes of the Plebs, Whereby that Republic was Made More Perfect: "Men never do good unless necessity drives them to it; but when they are too..."
- Niccolò Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, Book III, Chapter XXX – It is Necessary for a Citizen Who Proposes to Use his Authority to do any Good Work in a Republic First to Extinguish All Envy: "... as long as such men see that your reputation is greater than theirs, they..."
- Hart Crane, The Bridge, Introduction: "We may confidently say that this message of The Bridge will be more comprehensible in..."
- John Adams, Correspondence with Abigail Adams, Philadelphia, 29 October, 1775: "Human nature, with all its infirmities and deprivation, is still capable of great things. It..."
- Jeremy Bentham, The Greatest Happiness of the Greatest Number, Section II. First Principles Enumerated — Human Nature 1: "For further proof, reference may be made to the general, indeed the all-comprehensive, principle of..."
- Jeremy Bentham, The Greatest Happiness of the Greatest Number, Section II. First Principles Enumerated — Human Nature 2: "By the principle of self-preference, understand that propensity in human nature, by which, on the..."
- Goethe, Faust, VI, Witch’s Kitchen, lines 2353-61: "Betake thyself to yonder field, There hoe and dig, as thy condition; Restrain thyself, thy..."
Different cultures in different eras provide differing accounts of human nature. Often, a culture encourages a set of values, which individuals then uncover and uphold as human nature. Appeals to human nature as an explanation for some observed phenomenon are therefore highly relative, although the term “human nature” implies something absolute.