The University of Guyana
Faculty of Social Sciences
Department of Government and International Affairs
POL 2102- The Rise & Development of Political Traditions
2012/2013, Semester 1
Question 4: Critically discuss the role of nature and nurture in the development of self. How do the concepts interplay in shaping human behavior?
November 26, 2012.
Table of Contents
The discipline of Philosophy accommodates the analysis of the underlying principles of being, knowledge and conduct; across the analytic-continental divide, with the intent of improving and reconstituting it . Decades of research have focused on the influence of nature or nurture on the development of self, producing biological, environmental and existential explanations . This research utilized theories of Positivism, Social Action theory and Phenomenology to analyze and make conclusions. The subject matter focused on why nature, nurture or consciousness, do not independently produce individuals and the importance of the three in understanding personality. Personality consists of the stable of qualities and conducts that constitute an individual’s character, which distinguishes individuals. Therefore, personality traits would include negative and positive attitudes; for instance egoism and altruism, value for intellectual advancement or disregard for it, or whether he is she is a pessimist or an optimist. Continual experiments into the understanding of human nature emphasize its importance to the synthesis of the Macrostructure of society (Wallace, 1961). The Role of Nature and Nurture in the Development of Self.
How these concepts interplay to shape human behaviour.
The Nature-Nurture debate can be traced back to deliberations among the Sophists whose focus was on the relation between the individual and society, the eighteenth century Enlightenment and Francis Galton who is credited coining the phrase ‘nature versus nurture’. Nature within this context denotes genetic or biological factors that encode our actions and personality, while Nurture refers to environmental factors; socialization and culture consisting of human impressions on an individual. ‘Self’ is something which has a development that has a ‘characteristic that is distinguishes it from other objects and subject to organized social environments (Mead, 1962). Human behaviour is the variation of actions, attitudes, conduct and qualities man demonstrates; that defines character or personality and hence self . Traditionally, human nature and personality have been explained by either the polarity of nature; Biologism, or nurture; Environmentalism. However, the researcher argues that ‘Self’ develops through the reciprocal relationship between nature and nurture; Biosocial interaction, and to purport that self is realized entirely by either extremes of nature or nurture or free will would be false.
Foremost, it is the interaction of inherent traits and the environment that produces human behaviour, rather than Biological Positivism. Max Weber (1864-1920); a founding father of Sociology - Social Action Theory has offered much insight into Social Science and thus Philosophy. His contention that the study of human subjectivity; intentions, values, beliefs and attitudes that underlie people’s behaviour, is critical in the study of society is logical and important. Biologism, as a Positivistic or measured and quantified explanation cannot compensate fully for intelligence or intellectual behaviour in humans, as Francis Galton (1822-1911), suggested. He was convicted that success was due to the inherited superior mental abilities passed down from parents to offspring and the individual; self, is unconscious . Twin studies have been carried out to prove that heritable traits; such as the IQ, affect personality, but they have not been sufficient in explaining distinctive attitude and interests among these twins . In the...
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