Thread: Human Nature?

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  1. #1
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    Default Human Nature?

    Does Human nature exist, or are we all born as a Tabula Rasa, and every trait is learned?
    It goes one for the student who refuses to submit and two for the teacher who is under-paid as shit, and three for the strikes who give young bloods life and four for the years you spent stifled inside.

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    Human Nature doesn't really exist, it just is. It's defined by the social and economic structures around it. Have you ever heard of Situationism? From wikipedia:

    "Situationism refers to an approach to personality that holds that people are more influenced by external, situational factors than by internal traits or motivations. It therefore challenges the position of trait theorists, such as Hans Eysenck or Raymond B. Cattell. The term is popularly associated with Walter Mischel, although he himself does not appear to like the term. Empirical evidence upon which situationists base their claims take the form of cross-situational measures of traits such as extraversion, in which only low correlations of the same trait taken in different situations have been found. However, in response to such evidence, Hans Eysenck has pointed out that the correlations, while low, are typically still high enough to reach statistical significance. A midrange position, which holds that personality is best understood as resulting from subtle interplay of internal and external factors, is known as "interactionism".

    Some good situationist studies include: Zimbardo's Stanford prison experiment, Bystander experiments, Obedience experiments like Milgram experiment and Heat and Aggression experiments."

    Though I don't like much to cite wikipedia, this was the fastest and easiest to access source and it's got the right idea.
    Last edited by INDK; 10th January 2008 at 18:22. Reason: totally forgot to explain what situationism was...lolz
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    Human nature doesnt exist.

    For an example research those kids who are raised by wild dogs (Feral children or something?).

    These kids have dog like behaviours and traits, due to them being raised by dogs, not human ones.

    This proves that your nature is learnt not inherited or natural.
    Last edited by spartan; 10th January 2008 at 19:24.
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    The greatest trait in "human nature" is it's ability to adapt.
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    The greatest trait in "human nature" is it's ability to adapt.
    Exactly, the nature of humans is entirely defined by adaption to external conditions.
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    As a feminist, I'm constantly battling the question of "human nature", i.e. "but women are NATURALLY more nurturing!", etc.

    remember, we're all products of our own society. i always say, develop a way to raise human beings in a vacuum, that is, developed by people who are also not products of their society (ooo, paradox!), show me how they exhibit "human nature" in gender-traditional/capitalist-traditional ways, then we'll talk
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    As a feminist, I'm constantly battling the question of "human nature", i.e. "but women are NATURALLY more nurturing!", etc.
    nurturing is a learned behavior, no?
    It goes one for the student who refuses to submit and two for the teacher who is under-paid as shit, and three for the strikes who give young bloods life and four for the years you spent stifled inside.

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    Some evolutionary biologists speak in terms of adaptations and spandrels.
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    Some evolutionary biologists speak in terms of adaptations and spandrels.
    And?
    It goes one for the student who refuses to submit and two for the teacher who is under-paid as shit, and three for the strikes who give young bloods life and four for the years you spent stifled inside.

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    Does Human nature exist, or are we all born as a Tabula Rasa, and every trait is learned?
    Of course there is human nature. I didn't "learn" to have the trait of an opposable thumb, ten toes and two arms.

    As for behavior it's a combination of genes and environment. Now how much of each is up to debate, but 70-30 (environment) seems a consensus of sorts on most things.

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    As for behavior it's a combination of genes and environment. Now how much of each is up to debate, but 70-30 (environment) seems a consensus of sorts on most things.

    Emma Goldman
    What do you mean?
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    We are material beings, like other animals, endowed with certain potentialities. We are not entirely socially constructed beings. Nevertheless part of our material condition is that, more than any other animal, we are born with a relatively under-developed brain which is peculiarly open to environmental adjustment. Nearly everything we need to learn to make us human (walking upright on two legs; speaking a language and thinking symbolically; engaging in cooperative problem solving) is an achievement and we learn it all after birth through interaction with other humans. The window of opportunity for learning all this is confined to our first few years. Infants, who for one reason or another, have been excluded from human contact, do not develop recognizable human (as opposed to animal) traits.

    http://www.feralchildren.com/en/index.php
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    Thanks for that, Lynx, but check out my contribution to this, here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Language_acquisition

    Near the foot of the page.

    And read this article by Geoffrey Sampson:

    http://www.grsampson.net/REmpNat.html

    Sampson is a right wing git, but is spot on here.

    Oddly enough he attacks Chomsky for holding a right-wing theory of language, all the while defending a left-wing view!

    [Although, Sampson would not have put it that way!]

    Also worth reading is this by Simon Blackburn (Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University):

    http://www.phil.cam.ac.uk/~swb24/reviews/Pinker.htm
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 22nd January 2008 at 18:53.
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    And read this article by Geoffrey Sampson:

    http://www.grsampson.net/REmpNat.html

    Sampson is a right wing git, but is spot on here.

    Oddly enough he attacks Chomsky for holding a right-wing theory of language, all the while defending a left-wing view!

    [Although, Sampson would not have put it that way!]
    Why is Chomsky's view right-wing?
    (This is an honest question. I'm not trying to defend Chomsky {He's not some kind of "leftist god" or whatever. I think his reformism/political endorsement is bad and I don't see why people are defending him in another thread}, I just want to know why is something like "Linguistic Nativism" right-wing?)
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    JD:

    Why is Chomsky's view right-wing?
    Because he holds that language is innate and not a social product, created in collective labour.

    He has not done so, but others have put his ideas to right-wing use -- Pinker for one.

    It is all of a piece with claims that 'biology is destiny', and that our nature is constrained by our genetic make-up, and thus cannot be altered.

    Language used to be a gift of the 'gods' (according to ruling-class hacks); now it is gift of our genes. We did not create it, it created us.

    If you can, get hold of Fiona Cowie's book 'What's Within: Nativism Reconsidered'. In her introduction, she makes similar points.
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    Thanks.

    Yeah, recently it seems that (mostly in academia, I don't see people discussing the validity of evolutionary psychology,etc) they been pushing genetic/biological reasons to support the status quo.

    (If I become a professor of psychology, etc {leaning on Social Psychology} I would probably have to take a side and attack those theories...)
    Last edited by Raúl Duke; 22nd January 2008 at 23:45.
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    That our nature is constrained by our genes can be seen in Pavlov's experiments with dogs. That humans can be manipulated with ease does not deny our potential for cultural and other advancements.

    Just as evolutionary biology can acknowledge the existence of spandrels, so can linguistics theorists acknowledge that human beings live and interact within a complex system. IMO this is a situation that promises as many solutions as there are limitations.

    Links appreciated, thanks
    Last edited by Lynx; 23rd January 2008 at 07:28. Reason: add note of thanks
  20. #20
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    Lynx, you are confusing 'nature' with behaviour.

    And, we still do not know if behaviour is genetically controlled/constrained, or even what it means to suggest that it is.

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