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Sociology- Nature Versus Nurture

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Sociology- Nature Versus Nurture

Page 1 of 5
Nature versus Nurture

The roles of nature (what we genetically inherit) and or nurture (what we learn) in making us what we are have long been argued. The idea that humans are determined by these two influences dates back to the ancient Greek philosopher Protagorus who in the fifth century BC compared physics (nature) and nomos (tradition). It is however difficult to unravel the separate influences of nature and nurture. If the children of musically talented parents are themselves musically talent, is it because of genetic inheritance (nature) or because of a musical environment at home where they grow up(nurture)? The nature versus nurture debate concentrates on the question of how far our behavior is determined by nature at birth or by nurture after birth.In seventeenth century philosopher John Locke claimed that the mind of a child was like a Tabula Rasa (blank slate). People became what they were taught to be. By the second half of nineteenth century many social scientists started to argue that human behavior is determined by nature. Charles Darwin’s theory came up with the idea that humans and other animals have descended ultimately from the same ancestors. Animals are governed by instincts (fixed traits that are inherited and shared by all members of a species). These inherited mechanisms enable members of the species to perform complex tasks. For example twice a year the New Zealand cuckoo travel 4000 miles between New Zealand and Islands off the coast of New Guinea. The adults’ leave New Zealand before their eggs are hatched. The young cuckoos later on travel 4000 miles and join their par4ents-without ever having made the journey and with no one to guide them. Experiments have indicated that other birds also seem to have some inborn sense that guides their migration.Because animals are governed by instincts and human are also animals, some scholars reasoned that human behavior must also be governed by instincts. As a result many social scientists...