Thursday, October 02, 2003

THE RARE QUIBBLE WITH ARTS & LETTERS DAILY: And it's a total quibble, but they're linking to this article with the tag paragraph:

We were not dropped by God from the sky. However, a cultured adult is far from a neonate. We live between nature and nurture.

When the article says:

While Ridley rightly observes that one is no more or less free if one’s behaviour is accounted for 99 per cent by the environment and 1 per cent by genes or vice versa, he does not draw the correct conclusion from this: that all nature/nurture explanations of human behaviour are inadequate. This is because they are rooted in biology and no biological account, which must treat people as organisms, can find a place for human freedom. He is aware of this and attempts, unsuccessfully, to find free will within his biological framework by replacing what he calls linear with circular causality, in which an effect influences its own cause. But his observation that genes are “steeped in circular causality” shows how little relevance this idea has to the freedom that characterises humans.

In other words, the article (a review of Matt Ridley's latest by Raymond Tallis) is arguing we need to move past the nature/nuture debate and recognize how limiting it is. I mean, I wasn't going to read it before Hit & Run linked to it, because I've had it up to here with the nature-nurture. But it's a really good read, arguing against strict materialist explanations of human experience.

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