Science and Human Nature

There is a puzzling tension in contemporary scientific attitudes towards human nature. On the one hand, evolutionary biologists correctly maintain that the traditional essentialist conception of human nature is untenable; and moreover that this is obviously so in the light of quite general and exceedingly well-known evolutionary considerations. On the other hand, talk of human nature abounds in certain regions of the sciences, especially in linguistics, psychology and cognitive science. In this paper I articulate a conception of human nature that a) captures how cognitive and behavioral scientists tend to deploy the notion whilst, b) evading standard evol-utionary objections, and c) allowing human nature – and theories thereof – to fulfill many of their traditional theoretical roles.
Keywords Human nature  biological essentialism  natural kinds  Hume
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    References found in this work BETA
    Brian Ellis (2008). Natural Kinds. In Martin Curd & Stathis Psillos (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science. Routledge. 139.
    S. Gelman (2004). Psychological Essentialism in Children. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (9):404-409.

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    David Heyd (2003). Human Nature: An Oxymoron? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 28 (2):151 – 169.

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