Tabula Rasa: Is It Really Nature or Nurture?

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Tabula Rasa: Is It Really Nature or Nurture?
Is Lady Gaga right? Were we all born this way? Or are we all really products of our environment? Did God make us the way we are? Or, do we become who we are through knowledge and experience? If these seem like familiar questions, that’s because they are. These are the fundamental questions surrounding the nature versus nurture debate. In 1632 in Wrington, England, a man by the name of John Locke was born. It was not known at the time, but John Locke would turn out to be one of the greatest philosophers in Europe at the end of the seventeenth century (Uzgalis). Locke came up with several philosophies, one of the most well-known being tabula rasa, or blank slate. He believed that all human knowledge comes through experience, and that this knowledge is defined as “the connection and agreement, or disagreement and repugnancy, of the ideas humans form.” (SparkNotes Editors). Locke argues that at birth the mind is a tabula rasa, or blank slate that humans fill with ideas as they experience the world through the five senses.” (SparkNotes Editors). In other words, it is nurturing, not our nature, that makes us who we are. The nature versus nurture debate is the debate over two different modes of thinking. One side of the argument is Locke’s thinking, that we are what our world and experiences have made us. The other side of this argument is that, as Lady Gaga stated, we are all the way we are because we were born that way. We are predisposed by nature to be who we are, to have the knowledge we have. Each side of this debate has its weaknesses, I believe. When it comes to the prosecution of criminals, one can see where the nature side of the debate potentially puts us in a bit of a predicament. If Jerry Sandusky was born a child molester – if that was his innate nature – then could he really help himself? Was Richard Poplawski born with a genetic defect that made him unable to reason that shooting and...
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