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Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

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Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

Postby bingley » Fri Sep 12, 2003 4:58 am

The Greeks started this one with [face=SPIonic]fu/sij[/face] and [face=SPIonic]no/moj[/face]. <br /><br />So, any thoughts. Are we mainly a product of our genes or our environment, or an inextricable mixture of both?
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Re:Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

Postby klewlis » Fri Sep 12, 2003 5:08 am

definitely the latter. i think it's a false dichotomy.<br /><br />there is an excellent book on the matter called "The Blank Slate" by um.... Pinker? It's a little extremely on the genetic side, attempting to counteract what the other perceives to be extreme public opinion the other way... personally, I don't actually know anyone who holds strictly to one or the other. Common sense tells us that it's both. :)
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Re:Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

Postby bingley » Fri Sep 12, 2003 5:23 am

I think it was Pinker (if not he's written something similar recently). I saw a review of it in, umm the NY Review of Books I think it was, basically strongly disagreeing with the position expressed in the book. Haven't actually seen the book yet.<br /><br />Pinker's Words and Rules is in my TBR pile.
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Re:Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

Postby klewlis » Fri Sep 12, 2003 2:41 pm

Yeah, I'm not a huge fan of Pinker in general since he is anti-classical-education (thinks education should be all about technology and science because those are more useful... *cough*). But this book is good. Like I said, a little extreme but definitely worth a read. Actually I haven't finished it yet because it's huge and the library wouldn't let me renew it more than once... so I will have to go get it again one of these days and finish it. :P
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Re:Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

Postby Lex » Fri Sep 12, 2003 3:10 pm

bingley wrote:<br />I think it was Pinker (if not he's written something similar recently). I saw a review of it in, umm the NY Review of Books I think it was, basically strongly disagreeing with the position expressed in the book. Haven't actually seen the book yet.<br />
<br /><br />I've read the book, and yes, it's by Pinker. Of course the Times would disagree with it; they're very left-leaning. It's general thesis is that the SSSM (Standard Social Science Model) of human behavior, that all our behavior is culturally determined and not at all dependent on our biology, is not correct. This model is beloved by socialists of all stripes, who wish to remold man into the "New Socialist Man", and believe that we can do so just by changing our culture to remold men's attitudes. Pinker says that such attempts will run headfirst into something called "human nature", which will cause them to fail, or at least be more difficult than their proponents would like to believe. E.O. Wilson, one of the leading sociobiologists and an expert on ants, has a good one-liner about this; "Communism; great theory, wrong species." So of course the leftists don't like this, and try to smear Pinker et alia with Social Darwinist namecalling.
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Re:Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

Postby benissimus » Fri Sep 12, 2003 8:11 pm

I am quite certain that human nature is defined by both genetics and environment. It's not as though anyone has been able to test this on any long-term scale, so I don't see how anyone can choose one and throw out the other with any decent amount of knowledge. <br /><br />There certainly seem to be correlations between a person's psychology and how they were treated by their parents and others while growing up, but we also know that the brain is subject to genetic variation, so my choice seems logical to me.
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Re:Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

Postby Keesa » Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:49 pm

Both, I think, and a third thing...our will. You can, at least to a certain degree, change the kind of person you are in spite of genes and environment. <br /><br />
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Re:Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

Postby klewlis » Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:51 pm

but even your will is shaped by your environment and genes ;)
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Re:Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

Postby annis » Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:56 pm

Keesa wrote:<br />Both, I think, and a third thing...our will. You can, at least to a certain degree, change the kind of person you are in spite of genes and environment. <br />
<br /><br />Keesa! We shall make a neo-Stoic of you yet! :) <br /><br />
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Re:Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

Postby mingshey » Sat Sep 13, 2003 7:16 pm

genes, envs, which add up to a feed-backed clockwork which doesn't allow predictions, a headache.<br /><br />
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Re:Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

Postby Keesa » Sun Sep 14, 2003 1:01 pm

William Annis wrote:<br />
Keesa wrote:<br />Both, I think, and a third thing...our will. You can, at least to a certain degree, change the kind of person you are in spite of genes and environment. <br />
<br /><br />Keesa! We shall make a neo-Stoic of you yet! :) <br /><br /><br />
<br /><br />I must confess another breach of my knowledge...I am not sure what a neo-Stoic is. It's entirely possible (although from the tone of that post, I shouldn't think it likely! ;)) that I may be one already...at least in some areas of my thoughts. :)<br /><br />Keesa<br /><br />
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Re:Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

Postby annis » Sun Sep 14, 2003 5:14 pm

Keesa wrote:<br /><br />I must confess another breach of my knowledge...I am not sure what a neo-Stoic is. It's entirely possible (although from the tone of that post, I shouldn't think it likely! ;)) that I may be one already...at least in some areas of my thoughts. :)<br /><br />
<br /><br />Well, I was drawing attention to the importance of our own motivation and will in changing ourselves. A modern Stoic interpreter like Lawrence Becker makes this self-changing, reflexive ability of the human mind central to his approach to Stoic ethics.
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Re:Heredity or environment or heredity and environment

Postby Keesa » Sun Sep 14, 2003 8:24 pm

William Annis wrote:<br />Well, I was drawing attention to the importance of our own motivation and will in changing ourselves.
<br /><br />I guess in that way, I already am a neo-Stoic. I believe that we do have a lot to do with shaping ourselves...I haven't yet decided if it's a blessing or a curse. ;) I decide to be cheerful and pleasant, and if my will is strong enough, I am. I decide to be happy, and if I can will it, I am. Sometimes outside circumstances are stronger than my will, but it grows in strength each time I use it. If that's how neo-Stoicists believe, than I agree completely. :)<br /><br />Keesa
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Postby tdominus » Mon Dec 15, 2003 4:53 am

Lex, well said. Personally I think it is a false dichotomy, in that one's genetics creates one's environment to some extent.

All scientific evidence has shown the huge influence of genetics, eg in separated twins, though living separate lives, still sharing very similar personality traits.
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Postby Dane » Tue Dec 30, 2003 5:02 am

I'd follow up tdominus' thoughts; ultimately, the two things become one - through a reductio ad absurdum - rather than a dichotomy.

The environment is affected by the genetics of one's forebears (Generation A, let's say), which environment affects the genetics of Generation B, whose genetics affect the environment of Generation C, which environment affects the genetics of Generation D, whose genetics affect the environment of Generation E ... upto Generation X, who made music.

:roll: Excuse me, I now have a headache!
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Postby markoseugenikos » Wed Jun 16, 2004 4:51 am

[face=spionic]Dhmokri/tou to/de ple/onej e0c a)skh&sioj a)gaqoi\ gi/nontai h2 a)po_ fu&sioj.[/face]
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Postby nicomachos » Sat Oct 09, 2004 8:03 pm

I certainly have read some interesting perspectives here! Some of you have even mentioned political aspect, altough no one ever said anything about Makarenko and Lombroso...

I don't like this kind of witticisms, but I really think that chosing between environment and genes isn't the issue. First of all, they aren't the only factors to influence us: life and thought might have a metaphisical basis, such as a soul; we might also consider free will etc. Second, there are much better trems to describe the complexity of human behaviour. Lev Semyonovich Vygotskiy, for exapmle, has defined the closest area of development; that means what one is+what one can be+what one is expected to be. It is less important whether these coordinates are given genetically and/or socially.
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Postby EmptyMan » Sun Oct 24, 2004 3:03 am

Biological determinists mantain that our appearance and behavior are determined only by our genes. This would mean there is no such thing as free-will(which I find impossible anyway in a naturalistic world). My thoughts on this post were probably already predetermined by my genes. :shock:
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