The blank slate, written by Steven Pinker; an experimental psychologist and cognitive scientist, examines the ideas behind the ongoing debate regarding human nature and the theories of nature and nurture. The book begins with and in depth outline of the three doctrines of the nurture debate, the first being “The blank slate” which asserts that individuals are “born void of all characters without any ideas” as stated by John Locke (1632-1704) and that behavior is learnt from society and those around us e.g. parents, peers, etc. The second doctrine, which is “ The noble savage” claims that individuals are born innocent and pure and it is society that teaches and encourages corruption. Finally “The ghost in the machine” which states that the mind and the body work separately (dualism).
In chapter two pinker examines how these doctrines have been supported by popular ideologies such as Marxism and feminism etc. and what therefore makes them appeal to a wider range of people, Karl Marx and the Marxist ideology asserts that people are socialized to accept their positions in society and to accept the unfair hierarchy e.g. the power of church, government, ideas towards lifestyles etc. as a result of being under false consciousness, Marxist Author Sean Sayers supports this claiming that human beings “are not only biological organism; they are also, who change and transform themselves and essentially, social and historical beings who change and transform themselves through their social activity” this idea goes hand in hand with the doctrines of the “blank slate” and “noble savage” whereby the socialization process plays an immense role in individuals behavior . However Pinker makes a very convincing argument against the idea of socialization being solely if not majorly dominant on a persons behavior by using the example of Chimpanzees who have been raised with humans or in a human home, and states that even though they have been socialized around human beings their...
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