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The Nature and Nurture Debate

            "Different strains of corn may grow to different heights when equally irrigated, but a plant from the taller strain might end up shorter if deprived of water" (Pinker 10); Philosophy like any other social science will never have any answers that are concrete, solid, or always correct. The debate of Nature vs Nurture and it's effects on society is not a new, hot philosophical topic. This discussion has been taking place for centuries, and with good cause as the outcome of experiments has or should have an effect on how we treat crucial parts of development like parenthood and education. Through the hypotheses and experiments conducted by philosophers dating back to Aristotle, the theories of biological determinism and environmental determinisms each have many strengths and many weaknesses. .
             An idea that often comes to mind when one thinks of nurture is the tabula rasa, or blank slate, which promotes a society that values a child's experiences and environment as the only factor in how their adult self behaves. The idea of the tabula rasa is that people are born with a completely "blank slate" of a mind, or no knowledge of the world until they experience it, and the personality of a human is only formed by their experiences and environment. The modern understanding of this ancient theory of tabula rasa can be largely attributed to English philosopher and scholar, John Locke, who wrote on the subject in his work An Essay Concerning Human Understanding published in 1690. The strength of this theory is that it puts a lot of stress on good parenting and the importance of the environment in which one learns and develops their thoughts and ideas. .
             Also connected to the idea of tabula rasa, is the theory of empiricism, the foundations of which "are found in the works of John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume" (Caldwell 577). Locke explores the aspects of human knowledge in his Essay, and concludes that "knowledge is restricted to ideas generated by objects that one experiences through the senses or by reflecting upon our mental operations on those ideas" (Caldwell 577).

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