For millenia, the hotly contested nature vs. nurture debate has been pondered by philosophers hoping to better understand who we are, and why. Are our personalities and behaviors a product of hereditary factors - that is, our innate genetic make-up - or are they informed by social and environmental factors? English philosophers John Locke and Thomas Hobbes famously disputed this very point in the 17th century, and today the subject remains controversial amongst biologists, psychologists, and anthropologists. Actress Jude Beaumont surveys the history of this debate, and examines how it has resonated - leading to real-life consequences - in such far-flung fields as politics, education, psychoanalysis, and law. Sprightly and even-paced, Beaumont packs a wealth of information into this brief overview.
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The phrase ‘nature vs. nurture’ refers to a long-standing debate about the importance of heredity and environment in shaping who we are. It asks whether our personality, our behavior and our sexuality are primarily the result of genetic or social influences. The debate is central to us as human beings. Perhaps this is because it essentially asks: “who are we?” and “why are we who we are?”
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