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Beyond Versus

The Struggle to Understand the Interaction of Nature and Nurture

James Tabery

Publication Year: 2014

If everyone now agrees that human traits arise not from nature or nurture but from the interaction of nature and nurture, why does the "nature versus nurture" debate persist? In <I>Beyond Versus</I>, James Tabery argues that the persistence stems from a century-long struggle to understand the interaction of nature and nurture -- a struggle to define what the interaction of nature and nurture is, how it should be investigated, and what counts as evidence for it. Tabery examines past episodes in the nature versus nurture debates, offers a contemporary philosophical perspective on them, and considers the future of research on the interaction of nature and nurture. From the eugenics controversy of the 1930s and the race and IQ controversy of the 1970s to the twenty-first-century debate over the causes of depression, Tabery argues, the polarization in these discussions can be attributed to what he calls an "explanatory divide" -- a disagreement over how explanation works in science, which in turn has created two very different concepts of interaction. Drawing on recent developments in the philosophy of science, Tabery offers a way to bridge this explanatory divide and these different concepts integratively. Looking to the future, Tabery evaluates the ethical issues that surround genetic testing for genes implicated in interactions of nature and nurture, pointing to what the future does (and does not) hold for a science that continues to make headlines and raise controversy.

Published by: The MIT Press

Series: Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology

Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

...Its nature is that germinal idea, that nascent inclination to tell a story. The germinal idea for this book sprung from my fascination with the persistence of the nature/nurture debate. On the face of it, the nature/nurture debate is a scientific debate, and so it should be a debate about verified facts and empirical evidence. But if facts...

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1 Introduction

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pp. 1-12

...We have moved beyond versus . Whether it is medical traits like clinical depression, behavioral traits like criminality, or cognitive traits like intelligence, it is now widely recognized that “ nature versus nurture ” does not apply. There are no genes for depression such that having the gene ensures the development of depression...

I The Interaction Debates

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2 The Origin(s) of Interaction: Interaction in the Eugenics Controversy

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pp. 15-42

...In the early decades of the twentieth century, the eugenics movement swept across the United States and the United Kingdom. 1 Eugenicists worried that the “ unfit ” were outbreeding the “ fit. ” In nature, natural selection ensured that the fit passed their traits on to the next generation more often than the unfit. But in...

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3 Race, Genetics, and IQ: Interaction in the IQ Controversy

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pp. 43-72

...The debate between Fisher and Hogben discussed in the last chapter took place at the height of the American and British eugenics movement. It was an era of coerced sterilizations (Largent 2007), immigration restriction acts (Ordover 2003), and racist-inspired science (Jackson 2005), all justified in the name of eugenics (Kevles 1995). By the time...

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4 Its Rise, Its Fall, Its Rise? Interaction in the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 73-98

...published a massive meta-analysis. A meta-analysis combines the data and results from previous studies and then analyzes the set of studies as one large data set. This meta-analysis combined 54 previous studies that all examined the relationship between...

II Bridging the Explanatory Divide

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5 Population Thinking about Mechanisms: An Integrative Relationship

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pp. 101-132

...What is the relationship between statistical studies that investigate how much different causes of variation are responsible for variation in a population, and interventionist studies that investigate how causal mechanisms are responsible for the development...

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6 The Interaction of Nature and Nurture: An Integrated Concept

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pp. 133-164

...In the previous chapter, I intentionally avoided any mention of the interaction of nature and nurture because the issues there were about the nature/ nurture debate generally, not about the more specific interaction debates. The goal of that chapter was to construct...

III Genetic Testing for Interaction

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7 Disarming the “Genetic Predisposition to Violence”: The Dangers of Mischaracterizing Interaction

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pp. 167-186

...imagine they identified a gene that increases the risk of engaging in violent behavior, which in turn increases the risk of engaging in criminal activity. What would you do or want done with that scientific information? For example, if you were undergoing...

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8 Of Dogs, Daycare, and Discipline: A “Genetic Guide to Parenting”?

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pp. 187-208

...Answering these questions is complex. In contrast to childhood maltreatment (discussed in the last chapter), which everyone can agree is harmful, decisions about the family pet, childcare, and discipline are subjects of friendly debate and involve both personal and familial evaluations of finances, schedules, and parenting philosophies...


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pp. 209-222


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pp. 223-266


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pp. 267-280

E-ISBN-13: 9780262324144
E-ISBN-10: 0262324148
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262027373

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology