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Summary The Nature and Nurture debate is focused on the heritability of behavioural or psychological traits. Foreshadowed by Locke’s discussion on the mind as a tabula rasa and Hobbes’ view on human nature, the current discussion begins with Galton’s application of evolutionary theory to human behaviour in the form of socio-biology later maturing into the more contemporary evolutionary psychology. Developmental biology is directly relevant to the nature/nurture debate as an examination of the independent role ecology has in determining an organism’s behavioural responses, with specific focus on the role of environmental influences in effecting changes in psychological and neurobiology development.
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  1. Jeffrey R. Alberts (2008). The Nature of Nurturant Niches in Ontogeny. Philosophical Psychology 21 (3):295 – 303.
    The concept of ontogenetic niche is used here to interpret how species-typical behaviors develop through active, context-dependent processes. Ontogenetic niches typically include social stimuli, such as those arising from parents, siblings, and others that provide 'nurturing' in the form of resources, stimulation, and affordances for development. This approach is a useful alternative to wrestling with artificial dichotomies such as nature-nurture.
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  2. Javier Y. Álvarez-Vázquez, The Processual Form of Thinking. A New Perspective From Developmental Philosophy.
    Many contemporary theories of human cognition focus on the biochemical mechanisms that lie beneath the mind’s operations, while neglecting the historical and developmental aspects of the human mind. This article argues (1) that a processual form of thinking has been developing since the Modern Era. Furthermore, it maintains (2) that this particular form of thinking is intrinsically connected with the historical phenomenon of the scientific revolution. The paper studies Günter Dux’s innovative historico-genetic approach to the development of thought in historical (...)
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  3. Andre Ariew (1999). Innateness is Canalization: In Defense of a Developmental Account of Innateness. In Philosophy of Science. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA S19-S27.
    Lorenz proposed in his (1935) articulation of a theory of behavioral instincts that the objective of ethology is to distinguish behaviors that are “innate” from behaviors that are “learned” (or “acquired”). Lorenz’s motive was to open the investigation of certain “adaptive” behaviors to evolutionary theorizing. Accordingly, since innate behaviors are “genetic”, they are open to such investigation. By Lorenz’s light an innate/acquired or learned dichotomy rested on a familiar Darwinian distinction between genes and environments. Ever since Lorenz, ascriptions of innateness (...)
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  4. Stephen T. Asma (1996). Darwin's Causal Pluralism. Biology and Philosophy 11 (1):1-20.
    Historians of Biology have divided nineteenth century naturalists into two basic camps, Functionalists and Structuralists. This division is supposed to demarcate the alternative causal presuppositions working beneath research programs. If one is functionally oriented, then organic form will be contingent upon the causal powers of the environment. If structurally oriented, one argues for nonfunctional mechanisms (e.g., internal laws of growth) to account for organic form.Traditionally, Darwin has been grouped with the functionalists because natural selection (an adaptational mechanism) plays the prominent (...)
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  5. Robin Attfield (2007). Is the Concept of Nature Dispensable? The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 5 (25):59-63.
    In response to the arguments of Bill McKibben and of Stephen Vogel that nature is at an end and that the very concept of nature should be discarded, I argue that, far from this being the case, the concept of nature is indispensable. A third sense of 'nature' besides the two distinguished by Vogel, that of the nature of an organism, is brought to attention and shown, through five arguments, to be indispensable for environmental philosophy and ethics, and for ethics (...)
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  6. Giovanni Felice Azzone (1997). Adaptation and Information in Ontogenesis and Phylogenesis. Increase of Complexity and Efficiency. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 19 (2):163-180.
    Adaptations during phylogenesis or ontogenesis can occur either by maintaning constant or by increasing the informational content of the organism. In the former case the increasing adaptations to external perturbation are achieved by increasing the rate of genome replication; the increased amount of DNA reflects an increase of total but not of law informational content. In the latter case the adaptations are achieved by either istructionist or evolutionary mechanism or a combination of both. Evolutionary adaptations occur during ontogenesis mainly in (...)
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  7. Eugen Baer (1982). The Medical Symptom: Phylogeny and Ontogeny. American Journal of Semiotics 1 (3):17-34.
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  8. Sergio Balari & Guillermo Lorenzo (2015). The End of Development. Biological Theory 10 (1):60-72.
    Recently, there has been a growing interest, both within theoretical biology and the philosophy of biology, in the possibility and desirability of a theory of development. Among the many issues raised within this debate, the questions of the spatial and temporal boundaries of development have received particular attention. In this article, noting that so far the discussion has mostly centered on the processes of morphogenesis and organogenesis, we argue that an important missing element in the equation, namely the development of (...)
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  9. Kim A. Bard (2001). Developmental Processes in Empathy. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (1):25-26.
    In recent years, explanations of primate cognition highlighted clever arguments, rather than different ability. In the target article, definitions unify, explanations rely on basic nervous system functioning, theory is built on data that fit, and the emphasis is on evolutionary continuities. This commentary describes complexities inherent in the development of empathy that are not accounted for in Preston & de Waal's theory.
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  10. Maria Brincker (2012). En Kropslig Kultur Historie - om omverdens relationen". In E. O. Pedersen & A.-M. S. Christensen (eds.), Mennesket - En Introduktion Til Filosofisk Antropologi. Systime 197-216.
    This chapter deals with the way our psychology and actions a scaffolded by their environment but also the tensions that can appear between individual and environment, both at the level of biology and culture. The chapter is grounded in an analysis of the early 20th century theoretical biologist Jacob von Uexkull and his notion of "Umwelt" or "surround world". But also raises the question of whether organisms fit their environment as neatly as Uexkull and many later thinkers have proposed or (...)
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  11. Hilary Callahan, Massimo Pigliucci & Carl Schlichting (1997). Developmental Phenotypic Plasticity: Where Ecology and Evolution Meet Molecular Biology. Bioessays 19 (6):519-525.
    An exploration of the nexus between ecology, evolutionary biology and molecular biology, via the concept of phenotypic plasticity.
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  12. Evan Charney (2012). Behavior Genetics and Postgenomics. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (5):331-358.
    The science of genetics is undergoing a paradigm shift. Recent discoveries, including the activity of retrotransposons, the extent of copy number variations, somatic and chromosomal mosaicism, and the nature of the epigenome as a regulator of DNA expressivity, are challenging a series of dogmas concerning the nature of the genome and the relationship between genotype and phenotype. According to three widely held dogmas, DNA is the unchanging template of heredity, is identical in all the cells and tissues of the (...)
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  13. T. Clouston (1915). Nature and Nurture in Mental Development. The Eugenics Review 6 (4):323.
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  14. Philip Costanzo (2011). The Nature and Nurture of Morality. In Ruth Weissbourd Grant (ed.), In Search of Goodness. University of Chicago Press
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  15. H. Crichton-Miller (1942). Nature and Nurture in Mental Hygiene. The Eugenics Review 33 (4):121.
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  16. Thomas C. Dalton (2000). The Developmental Roots of Consciousness and Emotional Experience. Consciousness and Emotion 1 (1):55-89.
    Charles Darwin is generally credited with having formulated the first systematic attempt to explain the evolutionary origins and function of the expression of emotions in animals and humans. His ingenious theory, however, was burdened with popular misconceptions about human phylogenetic heritage and bore the philosophical and theoretical deficiencies of the brain science of his era that his successors strove to overcome. In their attempts to rectify Darwin?s errors, William James, James Mark Baldwin and John Dewey each made important contributions to (...)
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  17. L. Daston (2014). The Mirage of a Space Between Nature and Nurture. Common Knowledge 20 (2):365-366.
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  18. Helen De Cruz & Pierre Pica (2008). Knowledge of Number and Knowledge of Language: Number as a Test Case for the Role of Language in Cognition. Philosophical Psychology 21 (4):437 – 441.
    The relationship between language and conceptual thought is an unresolved problem in both philosophy and psychology. It remains unclear whether linguistic structure plays a role in our cognitive processes. This special issue brings together cognitive scientists and philosophers to focus on the role of language in numerical cognition: because of their universality and variability across languages, number words can serve as a fruitful test case to investigate claims of linguistic relativism.
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  19. Stanislas Dehaene, Véronique Izard, Cathy Lemer & Pierre Pica (2007). Quels Sont les Liens Entre Arithmétique Et Langage ? Une Étude En Amazonie. In Jean Bricmont & Julie Franck (eds.), Cahier Chomsky. L'Herne
  20. Stanislas Dehaene, Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica & Elizabeth Spelke (2009). Response to Comment on "Log or Linear? Distinct Intuitions on the Number Scale in Western and Amazonian Indigene Cultures". Science 323 (5910):38.
    The performance of the Mundurucu on the number-space task may exemplify a general competence for drawing analogies between space and other linear dimensions, but Mundurucu participants spontaneously chose number when other dimensions were available. Response placement may not reflect the subjective scale for numbers, but Cantlon et al.'s proposal of a linear scale with scalar variability requires additional hypotheses that are problematic.
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  21. Stanislas Dehaene, Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica & Elizabeth Spelke (2006). Core Knowledge of Geometry in an Amazonian Indigene Group. Science 311 (5759)::381-4.
    Does geometry constitues a core set of intuitions present in all humans, regarless of their language or schooling ? We used two non verbal tests to probe the conceptual primitives of geometry in the Munduruku, an isolated Amazonian indigene group. Our results provide evidence for geometrical intuitions in the absence of schooling, experience with graphic symbols or maps, or a rich language of geometrical terms.
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  22. Stanislas Dehaene, Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica & Elizabeth Spelke (2006). Examining Knowledge of Geometry : Response to Wulf and Delson. Science 312 (5778):1309-1310.
    La connaissances noyau de la géométrie euclidienne est liée au raisonnement déductif et non à la reconnaissance de motifs perceptuels.
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  23. Barker Desjardins & Pearce (eds.) (forthcoming). Entangled Life: Organism and Environment in the Biological and Social Sciences. Springer.
  24. Guy Dove (2012). Grammar as a Developmental Phenomenon. Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):615-637.
    More and more researchers are examining grammar acquisition from theoretical perspectives that treat it as an emergent phenomenon. In this essay, I argue that a robustly developmental perspective provides a potential explanation for some of the well-known crosslinguistic features of early child language: the process of acquisition is shaped in part by the developmental constraints embodied in von Baer’s law of development. An established model of development, the Developmental Lock, captures and elucidates the probabilistic generalizations at the heart of von (...)
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  25. S. M. Downes (1999). Ontogeny, Phylogeny, and Scientific Development. In V. Harcastle (ed.), Where Biology Meets Psychology. 273--285.
  26. Catherine Driscoll (2014). Review of Studying Human Behavior. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 81 (4):676-680,.
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  27. B. Duchaine (2011). Developmental Prosopagnosia: Cognitive, Neural, and Developmental Investigations. In Andy Calder, Gillian Rhodes, Mark Johnson & Jim Haxby (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Face Perception. OUP Oxford 821--838.
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  28. Arthur Fine (1990). Causes of Variability: Disentangling Nature and Nurture. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 15 (1):94-113.
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  29. Alan Fogel, Maria C. D. P. Lyra & Jaan Valsiner (eds.) (1997). Dynamics and Indeterminism in Developmental and Social Processes. L. Erlbaum.
    One of the most profound insights of the dynamic systems perspective is that new structures resulting from the developmental process do not need to be planned in advance, nor is it necessary to have these structures represented in genetic or neurological templates prior to their emergence. Rather, new structures can emerge as components of the individual and the environment self-organize; that is, as they mutually constrain each other's actions, new patterns and structures may arise. This theoretical possibility brings into developmental (...)
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  30. R. Allen Gardner (2005). Animal Cognition Meets Evo-Devo. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (5):699-700.
    Sound comparative psychology and modern evolutionary and developmental biology (often called evo-devo) emphasize powerful effects of developmental conditions on the expression of genetic endowment. Both demand that evolutionary theorists recognize these effects. Instead, Tomasello et al. compares studies of normal human children with studies of chimpanzees reared and maintained in cognitively deprived conditions, while ignoring studies of chimpanzees in cognitively appropriate environments.
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  31. B. P. Garvey, Nature, Nurture and Why the Pendulum Still Swings.
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  32. Cheshko Valentin Glazko Valery I. (ed.) (2009). High Hume (Bio-power and Bio-policy in Society of Risk). Russian State Agrarian University - Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy.
    Human simultaneously is the acting person of a few autonomous and interdepending forms of evolutional process. Accordingly, it is possible to select three forms of adaptation and three constituents of evolutional strategy of survival of humanity – biological, sociocultural and technological adaptations. The actual and potential consequences of development of so-called High Hume technologies (technologies of the guided evolution)  most essential from major technological adaptations of humanity  are analyzed. The phenomenon of bio-power within the framework of global coevolutional (...)
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  33. Peter Godfrey-Smith & James Griesemer (2000). Philosophy of Biology, Psychology, and Neuroscience-The Developmental Systems Perspective in the Philosophy of Biology-Development, Culture, and the Units of Inheritance. Philosophy of Science 67 (3).
  34. Paul Griffiths, The Distinction Between Innate and Acquired Characteristics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The idea that some characteristics of an organism are explained by the organism's intrinsic nature, whilst others reflect the influence of the environment is an ancient one. It has even been argued that this distinction is itself part of the evolved psychology of the human species. The distinction played an important role in the history of philosophy as the locus of the dispute between Rationalism and Empiricism discussed in another entry in this encyclopedia. This entry, however, focuses on twentieth-century (...)
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  35. Paul Griffiths, Evo-Devo Meets the Mind: Toward a Developmental Evolutionary Psychology.
    _The emerging discipline of evolutionary developmental biology has opened up many new _ _lines of investigation into morphological evolution. Here I explore how two of the core _ _theoretical concepts in ‘evo-devo’ – modularity and homology – apply to evolutionary _ _psychology. I distinguish three sorts of module - developmental, functional and mental _ _modules and argue that mental modules need only be ‘virtual’ functional modules. _ _Evolutionary psychologists have argued that separate mental modules are solutions to _ _separate evolutionary (...)
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  36. Paul E. Griffiths & Karola Stotz (2000). How the Mind Grows: A Developmental Perspective on the Biology of Cognition. Synthese 122 (1-2):29-51.
  37. Paul Griffiths & Adam Hochman (2015). Developmental Systems Theory. eLS:1-7.
    Developmental systems theory (DST) is a wholeheartedly epigenetic approach to development, inheritance and evolution. The developmental system of an organism is the entire matrix of resources that are needed to reproduce the life cycle. The range of developmental resources that are properly described as being inherited, and which are subject to natural selection, is far wider than has traditionally been allowed. Evolution acts on this extended set of developmental resources. From a developmental systems perspective, development does not proceed according to (...)
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  38. Yrjö Haila (2000). Beyond the Nature-Culture Dualism. Biology and Philosophy 15 (2):155-175.
    It is commonly accepted that thewestern view of humanity's place in nature isdominated by a dualistic opposition between nature andculture. Historically this has arisen fromexternalization of nature in both productive andcognitive practices; instances of such externalizationhave become generalized. I think the dualism can bedecomposed by identifying dominant elements in eachparticular instantiation and showing that their strictseparation evaporates under close scrutiny. The philosophical challenge this perspective presents isto substitute concrete socioecological analysis forfoundational metaphysics. A review of majorinterpretations of the history of (...)
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  39. Edward M. Hundert (1995). Lessons From an Optical Illusion: On Nature and Nurture, Knowledge and Values. Harvard University Press.
    As Edward Hundert--a philosopher, psychiatrist, and award-winning educator--makes clear in this eloquent interdisciplinary work, the newly emerging model for ...
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  40. Véronique Izard, Stanislas Dehaene, Pierre Pica & Elizabeth Spelke (2008). Response to Nunez. Science 312 (5803):1310.
    We agree with Nuñez that the Mundurucu do not master the formal propreties of number lines and logarithms, but as the term "intuition" implies, they spontaneously experience a logarithmic mapping of number to space as natural and "feeling right.".
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  41. Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica, Elizabeth Spelke & Stanislas Dehaene (2008). The Mapping of Numbers on Space : Evidence for a Logarithmic Intuition. Médecine/Science 24 (12):1014-1016.
  42. Susan Jones (2008). Nature and Nurture in the Development of Social Smiling. Philosophical Psychology 21 (3):349 – 357.
    Research on the origins of human social smiling is presented as a case study of how a species-specific, species-typical behavior may emerge from thousands of momentary events in which a continuously changing biological organism acts to make, respond to, and learn from its experience.
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  43. Debomoy K. Lahiri, Bryan Maloney & Nasser H. Zawia (2009). The LEARn Model: An Epigenetic Explanation for Idiopathic Neurobiological Diseases. Molecular Psychiatry 14 (11):992-1003.
    Neurobiological disorders have diverse manifestations and symptomology. Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, manifest late in life and are characterized by, among other symptoms, progressive loss of synaptic markers. Developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum, appear in childhood. Neuropsychiatric and affective disorders, such as schizophrenia and major depressive disorder, respectively, have broad ranges of age of onset and symptoms. However, all share uncertain etiologies, with opaque relationships between genes and environment. We propose a 'Latent Early-life Associated Regulation' (LEARn) model, positing (...)
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  44. Ehud Lamm & Eva Jablonka (2008). The Nurture of Nature: Hereditary Plasticity in Evolution. Philosophical Psychology 21 (3):305 – 319.
    The dichotomy between Nature and Nurture, which has been dismantled within the framework of development, remains embodied in the notions of plasticity and evolvability. We argue that plasticity and evolvability, like development and heredity, are neither dichotomous nor distinct: the very same mechanisms may be involved in both, and the research perspective chosen depends to a large extent on the type of problem being explored and the kinds of questions being asked. Epigenetic inheritance leads to transgenerationally extended plasticity, and developmentally-induced (...)
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  45. Andrew J. Lewis (2012). A Call for an Expanded Synthesis of Developmental and Evolutionary Paradigms. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (5):368-369.
    Charney's target article continues a critique of genetic blueprint models of development that suggests reconsideration of concepts of adaptation, inheritance, and environment, which can be well illustrated in current research on infant attachment. The concepts of development and adaptation are so heavily based on the model of genetics and inheritance forged in the modern synthesis that they will require reconsideration to accommodate epigenetic inheritance.
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  46. Rick Lewis (2008). Nature & Nurture. Philosophy Now 65:4-4.
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  47. Ernest J. Lidbetter (1912). Nature and Nurture.—A Study in Conditions. The Eugenics Review 4 (1):54.
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  48. Tatiane Tagliatti Maciel & Bruno Corrêa Barbosa (2015). Urban Green Areas: History, Concepts and Ecological Importance. CES Revista 29 (1):30-42.
    The constant changes in the landscape caused mainly by the urban expansion process, have led to the destruction, fragmentation and isolation of natural habitats, with consequent damage to biodiversity. Recognized as potential "refuges" for biodiversity, urban areas have received great attention to the conservation of animals in addition to exercising functions of aesthetic and recreational. In this context, urban vegetation receives different nomenclatures are used interchangeably as synonyms, when in reality, in many cases, are not. In order to highlight the (...)
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  49. Matteo Mameli (2005). The Inheritance of Features. Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):365-399.
    Since the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA, the standard account of the inheritance of features has been in terms of DNA-copying and DNA-transmission. This theory is just a version of the old theory according to which the inheritance of features is explained by the transfer at conception of some developmentally privileged material from parents to offspring. This paper does the following things: (1) it explains what the inheritance of features is; (2) it explains how the DNA-centric theory (...)
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  50. Martina Manns (2005). The Riddle of Nature and Nurture – Lateralization has an Epigenetic Trait. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (4):602-603.
    Vallortigara & Rogers's (V&R's) proposal that directional asymmetries evolved under social pressures raises questions about the ontogenetic mechanisms subserving the alignment of asymmetries in a population. Neuro-ontogenetic principles suggest that epigenetic factors are decisively involved in the determination of individual lateralization and that genetic factors align their direction. Clearly, directional asymmetry has an epigenetic trait.
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