Any good reads on the nature vs nurture concept?

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Re: Any good reads on the nature vs nurture concept?

#21  Postby DavidMcC » Jun 30, 2012 10:35 am

FredJackM wrote:It is a crap book (as I said) - but it at least mentions (LOL) the most fundamental illusion that humanity, almost universally embraces.

I suppose assumed that you had read at least one or two of my posts on the subject of FW (perhaps in the FW thread). Obviously, I was wrong to make that assumption. In a nutshell, I think the whole Sam Harris interpretation of the Libet experiments is nonsense. It assumes the validity of a ToM that presupposes only one decision-maker in the mammalian brain. I have already posted much on that in the consciousness threads, mainly in debate with GrahamH and SpeedOfSound.

EDIT: I also define what I mean by FW in the FW thread.
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Re: Any good reads on the nature vs nurture concept?

#22  Postby DavidMcC » Jun 30, 2012 1:00 pm

Ah, I see you're a newbie, so you are probably stating your attitude, not having read the relevant threads, right, Fred?
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Re: Any good reads on the nature vs nurture concept?

#23  Postby FredJackM » Jul 04, 2012 1:04 am

DavidMcC wrote: I think the whole Sam Harris interpretation of the Libet experiments is nonsense. It assumes the validity of a ToM that presupposes only one decision-maker in the mammalian brain.


I completely agree with you on this - But perhaps I take it further.. I do not see any relevance in these experiments regardless of what they appear to show.. To me, the whole FW issue (and my belief that it is a delusion) is based on the the proposition of causality - I believe that, if the universe is causal, and if nothing about the universe can be acausal, then FW is a delusion.

Not knowing your paradigm, I do not fully know what you mean by "presupposes only one decision-maker" - I am not even sure that there is any single process which could be regarded as a "decision-maker" - My (extremely limited) understanding of neurological processes leads me to think of it more as a "distributed" system.

And yes, I am a "newbee" and I have only recently found the FW thread, and no - I havent yet worked my way through all (at the time I found this thread) 74 pages! ;-)

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Re: Any good reads on the nature vs nurture concept?

#24  Postby DavidMcC » Jul 04, 2012 2:01 pm

FedJackM wrote:I completely agree with you on this - But perhaps I take it further.. I do not see any relevance in these experiments regardless of what they appear to show.. To me, the whole FW issue (and my belief that it is a delusion) is based on the the proposition of causality - I believe that, if the universe is causal, and if nothing about the universe can be acausal, then FW is a delusion.

I do not agree that the Libet experiments show nothing at all, but what they show is not what Harris et al. claimed. They illustrate that there is an unconscious decision-maker (the basal ganglia, controlling our habits of muscular movement) as well as a conscious decision-maker (the PFC) in the human brain, and that the unC one is faster then the C one. However, the PFC can override the BG if there is time before action on the decisions has gone too far. Because of this, the Libet experiment fails to disprove that we have a "free will". I also disagree that there is so much determinism in our brain function that we cannot have a partially free will. If nothing else, the role of quantum mechanics in chemistry rules out total determinism. (Neither chemistry nor even the table of the atomic elements would exist without such quantum effects as the Pauli exclusion principle acting on electrons and nucleons, which prevents the universe from becoming one big atom, collapsing into a black hole, apart from defining the allowed atomic orbitals!)
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Re: Any good reads on the nature vs nurture concept?

#25  Postby FredJackM » Jul 05, 2012 1:17 am

I also disagree that there is so much determinism in our brain function that we cannot have a partially free will. If nothing else, the role of quantum mechanics in chemistry rules out total determinism.


Ok - I think this matter has been done to death already on the FW thread (I am slowly catching up with reading the posts there, and seeing from this what your perspective is).. Probably best not to split off into seperate OT debate here. At this time I do not see things the way you do - but thats just as well - if we all agreed, forums would serve no purpose!

;-)

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Re: Any good reads on the nature vs nurture concept?

#26  Postby DavidMcC » Jul 05, 2012 12:15 pm

... Whatever. It's a fair point, although it was your reference to Sam Harris that got me started!
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Re: Any good reads on the nature vs nurture concept?

#27  Postby E. Samedi » Jul 26, 2012 11:28 am

One of the best books on this topic in my view, is: The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do, Revised and Updated by Judith Rich Harris.

She describes the research that shows this isn't an either-or question. I think a more accurate way to describe the issue is the comparative influence of genes versus environment. The twins studies have clearly shown the strong effect of genes on a variety of traits--some quite surprising. But the research also shows that environment too plays a critical role. Depending on the trait, the influence of one or the other may be stronger. From an evolutionary perspective this is of course what one would expect.
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