Nature, nurture, and politics

Biology and Philosophy 25 (3):433-436 (2010)
Political imputations in science are notoriously a tricky business. I addressed this issue in the context of the nature–nurture debate in the penultimate chapter of my book Making Sense of Heritability (Cambridge U. P. 2005). Although the book mainly dealt with the logic of how one should think about heritability of psychological differences, it also discussed the role of politics in our efforts to understand the dynamics of that controversy. I first argued that if a scholar publicly defends a certain view (say, hereditarianism) in the debate about IQ, race and genetics this fact alone cannot justify attributing a political motivation to that person. But then later I suggested that the pressure of political correctness could explain some peculiarities of the contemporary controversy about the heritability of group differences in IQ. Several reviewers of my book raised a tu quoque objection. Am I not doing here the same thing that I condemn others for?
Keywords Philosophy   Evolutionary Biology   Philosophy of Biology
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-009-9159-9
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