Beyond Versus: The Struggle to Understand the Interaction of Nature and Nurture

Beyond Versus: The Struggle to Understand the Interaction of Nature and Nurture

by James Tabery

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Overview

Why the “nature versus nurture” debate persists despite widespread recognition that human traits arise from the interaction of nature and nurture.

If everyone now agrees that human traits arise not from nature or nurture but from the interaction of nature and nurture, why does the “nature versus nurture” debate persist? In Beyond Versus , James Tabery argues that the persistence stems from a century-long struggle to understand the interaction of nature and nurture—a struggle to define what the interaction of nature and nurture is, how it should be investigated, and what counts as evidence for it.

Tabery examines past episodes in the nature versus nurture debates, offers a contemporary philosophical perspective on them, and considers the future of research on the interaction of nature and nurture. From the eugenics controversy of the 1930s and the race and IQ controversy of the 1970s to the twenty-first-century debate over the causes of depression, Tabery argues, the polarization in these discussions can be attributed to what he calls an “explanatory divide”—a disagreement over how explanation works in science, which in turn has created two very different concepts of interaction. Drawing on recent developments in the philosophy of science, Tabery offers a way to bridge this explanatory divide and these different concepts integratively. Looking to the future, Tabery evaluates the ethical issues that surround genetic testing for genes implicated in interactions of nature and nurture, pointing to what the future does (and does not) hold for a science that continues to make headlines and raise controversy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262027373
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 05/09/2014
Series: Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

James Tabery is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and member of the Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities at the University of Utah.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

1 Introduction 1

Part I The Interaction Debates 13

2 The Origin(s) of Interaction: Interaction in the Eugenics Controversy 15

3 Race, Genetics, and IQ: Interaction in the IQ Controversy 43

4 Its Rise, Its Fall, Its Rise? Interaction in the Twenty-First Century 73

Part II Bridging the Explanatory Divide 99

5 Population Thinking about Mechanisms: An Integrative Relationship 101

6 The Interaction of Nature and Nurture: An Integrated Concept 133

Part III Genetic Testing for Interaction 165

7 Disarming the "Genetic Predisposition to Violence": The Dangers of Mischaracterizing Interaction 167

8 Of Dogs, Daycare, and Discipline: A "Genetic Guide to Parenting"? 187

Notes 209

References 223

Index 267

What People are Saying About This

Evelyn Fox Keller

Well written, well researched, thoughtful, and ambitious. Beyond Versus is perhaps the best effort yet to overcome the explanatory divide separating the contributions of population genetics from those of developmental biology to the science of nature and nurture.

From the Publisher

Well written, well researched, thoughtful, and ambitious. Beyond Versus is perhaps the best effort yet to overcome the explanatory divide separating the contributions of population genetics from those of developmental biology to the science of nature and nurture.

Evelyn Fox Keller , Professor Emerita of the History and Philosophy of Science, MIT; author of The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture

No scientific field illustrates the illumination philosophy can provide to empirical science as well as the genetics of complex traits in humans, and no work of philosophy has shone as much light on human genetics as Beyond Versus . Tabery's book combines history, philosophical analysis, data, and bioethics; I expect it will transform the long historical discussion of nature and nurture.

Eric Turkheimer , Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia

Tabery's tracing of the statistical and mechanical concepts of interaction through key debates over the respective roles of 'nature' and 'nurture' casts important light on the assumptions generating those debates. His further effort to show how seemingly incompatible research informed by those concepts could be integrated is a welcome addition to the growing literature on scientific pluralism.

Helen Longino , C. I. Lewis Professor in Philosophy, Stanford University; author of Studying Human Behavior

Tabery has written an excellent book describing how recent biology shows that the nature-nurture dispute has been misplaced. Rather, the time has come to understand the interdependence of multiple factors in the genesis of traits in all organisms, especially complex behavioral and disease traits in humans. This book will prove to be useful to all those who want to move beyond the futile debates of the last century and to embrace a new understanding of what it means to be human in the postgenomic era.

Sahotra Sarkar , Professor of Philosophy and Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin; author of Genetics and Reductionism and Molecular Models of Life

Endorsement

Tabery has written an excellent book describing how recent biology shows that the nature-nurture dispute has been misplaced. Rather, the time has come to understand the interdependence of multiple factors in the genesis of traits in all organisms, especially complex behavioral and disease traits in humans. This book will prove to be useful to all those who want to move beyond the futile debates of the last century and to embrace a new understanding of what it means to be human in the postgenomic era.

Sahotra Sarkar, Professor of Philosophy and Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin; author of Genetics and Reductionism and Molecular Models of Life

Helen Longino

Tabery's tracing of the statistical and mechanical concepts of interaction through key debates over the respective roles of 'nature' and 'nurture' casts important light on the assumptions generating those debates. His further effort to show how seemingly incompatible research informed by those concepts could be integrated is a welcome addition to the growing literature on scientific pluralism.

Eric Turkheimer

No scientific field illustrates the illumination philosophy can provide to empirical science as well as the genetics of complex traits in humans, and no work of philosophy has shone as much light on human genetics as Beyond Versus. Tabery's book combines history, philosophical analysis, data, and bioethics; I expect it will transform the long historical discussion of nature and nurture.

Sahotra Sarkar

Tabery has written an excellent book describing how recent biology shows that the nature-nurture dispute has been misplaced. Rather, the time has come to understand the interdependence of multiple factors in the genesis of traits in all organisms, especially complex behavioral and disease traits in humans. This book will prove to be useful to all those who want to move beyond the futile debates of the last century and to embrace a new understanding of what it means to be human in the postgenomic era.

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