Essay about History of Nature and Nurture

1866 WordsApr 6, 20028 Pages
Abstract Nature vs. nurture has been discussed by philosophers in the past and by scientists most recently. Philosophers such as Plato argued that all knowledge was inherited through your parent and when you were told something you didn't learn it you were just reminded of it. Aristotle however argued that all humans were born with a blank slate and built on it with influence from there environment. In the 1700's the empiricists and the internalists took over the argument. They fought through letters explaining there point of views and denouncing the others. This leads to Pavlov coming up with the idea of behaviorism in the early 1900‘s. Behaviorism became the new wave of Psychology and influenced a lean towards the nurture side. It was…show more content…
Two philosophers, G.W. Leibniz and John Locke, were main representatives of their respected explanations. Leibniz promoted the internalism point of view. Cowie states, "...Leibniz's position on this issue is, of course, that the tabula is far from rasa: ‘The soul inherently contains the sources of various notions and doctrines, which external objects merely rouse up...' " (Cowie, 1999, p. 7). Leibniz argued against Locke and other empiricists stated that "...there is no way ideas which come into the mind from outside can be formed into beliefs and judgments without the operation of specific internal mechanisms" (Cowie, 1999, p. 17). At the same time, John Locke and his fellow philosophers campaigned for empiricism. Like Aristotle, the philosophers believed that humans' thoughts and actions were determined not by innate factors, but by the their unique experiences (Ashcraft, 1998). Locke argued against the internalists by examining different human processes such as logic and reasoning. He would ask how it was possible to use logic and reasoning if people were born with all of the knowledge they would ever acquire (Cowie 1999, p. 19). The contrasting views of the two groups had begun the nature vs. nurture debate, which would linger in the fields of philosophy and psychology for decades. A point should be made that even though the interalists and empiricists felt strongly about their theories, the
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