I was watching The Big Questions again today and the question of Nature vs. Nurture came up. So, I decided to write something to organise my thoughts on the issue. It seems very odd to think that only one of these would have a significant role in determining who I am. If only Nature is important, then why are twins different? If only Nurture is important then why do I need a body in order for things to Nurture me? I suppose I tend towards a view where both are important, but in of a specific sort of way that involves us rethinking the relationship we have to Nature and Nurture. I’m lifting my view on this out of a very crude reading of Heidegger.
If we were to say that Nature has a part to play in who I am, we would usually mean it in this way. That there are certain qualities that I have now, and the task of determining my being (or working out who I am), would be simply adding up those qualities and describing them. So, I have arms and legs and the genes that produce arms and legs and also a lot of other things that are true about me. Personally, I have dyspraxia, which is a learning difficulty, so we can add that to the list as well. All of these qualities determine my nature, which is to say they are all there is to say about my being. I have the same relation to my arms and my legs as a stone has to its solidity, weight and shape.
We might include Nurture in this model by saying that my Nature is such that I can have experiences and these experiences can effect me. To be nurtured is part of my Nature. I suppose we’d have to say that, somehow, nurture changes my Nature. So, as I grow up I am nurtured into having a ‘mild mannered’ Nature or a ‘hot headed’ nature. My relation to my mild-manneredness or hot-headed-ness is, again, the same as the stone’s relation to its solidity. A property I have magically acquired during my life in the same way I might, conceivably, Explanation acquire a second arm. In the same way I can lose one of these properties, so that through Nurture I no longer like marzipan for some reason. In this case I lose my “liking-marzipan-ness” in the same way I could lose an arm and the same way a stone can lose its shape when it is crushed under the foot of a fat person.
The problem of accounting for all of this becomes a problem of identifying the difference between physical and psychological changes and physical and psychological Natures. My physical Nature and its changes are explained by the biologist or a doctor, and my psychological changes are explained by a psychologist through something like an unconscious force that determines my actions. It is very hard on this sort of model to be anything but a determinist since we categorise the human like a dead object. My Nature determines me and my Nurture changes my nature so that it will determine me differently at a later date.
The problem that I have with this model is the relation it tells me I have to my properties, to my Nature. My problem is, that cheap jerseys China my Nature only really comes into play when I try to use it. If someone chops off my arm, I only have a relationship with that loss when I try to use it Wishes” and can’t. I only relate to my dyspraxia when I try to write and can only produce a mess of ink on the paper and my face and hands and I only have a relationship to my ability to like marzipan when I eat some.
My qualities are not properties I have here now, fully present to me and determining of my being; they are encountered only when I choose to act or are acted upon. Further, when I do encounter them I do not encounter them as properties; as things that are true about me. My relation to my ‘Nature’ is either as encountering it as an obstacle, or utilising it as a potential. When I am ill I do not encounter my symptoms (which are part of my ‘Nature’ at the time) as things that are true about me, as they might be listed on the doctors notepad. I encounter them as a limit, an obstacle to the things I want to do. I try to get off the couch to make a lemsip but my body seems to lag behind me. When I am dizzy I do not encounter my inner ear as the quality that gives or does not give me balance, but I encounter the effects of its dysfunction as an obstacle to my walking in a straight line and staying stood up.
Sometimes, however, my ‘Nature’ is a potential. However, I do not really ‘encounter’ it in the same way in this instance. What I encounter is the thing that I am utilising my potentials for. So, I don’t ever encounter my potential to play guitar. I encounter the guitar, the stage and the audience as a possibility that I want to take up. This situation is only possible because of my ‘Nature’, that is my body as being something that can play a guitar and my skill as something that enables me to play guitar and an audience before a stage as something that can give me attention.
Then the power of my ‘Nature’ is exhausted once it has opened up for me a possibility that I may or may not take up. It cannot determine me into action, only lay out a certain way-of-being that I must choose to take up or nothing will ever happen. Even when my ‘Nature’ is a limit it does not act on me; I act on It. In those cases I try to transcend my limits, my finitude, and fail. If I wish to transcend that limit I must change it, either through practice in the case of the song on the guitar that I can’t yet play or through technology when I cannot write so use a laptop instead.
My ‘Nature’ therefore is always either a form of Nurture or the opening open of the possibility of my being nurtured or acting and nurturing others. That, if we understand Nurture as the things that happen to me in the world. When my ‘Nature’ is a limit to my action it happens to me, I encounter it and this encounter may have a direct influence on the existential decisions I make in my life. When ‘Nature’ is a possibility, it opens up このサイトについて the possibility of others nurturing me. It is only because I am the sort of entity that can be born and learn that my parents could have Nurtured me.
Even in just writing this short piece I can really see Heidegger’s point about moving away from old terminology in order to find a new way of understanding the human, rather than just forcing the old words into the new understanding. Nature and Nurture are difficult categories to work with while talking about this sort of thing. After writing this my conclusion isn’t that Nature and Nurture must be understood in this way of relating to each other and to me, but rather that the way in which what we call Nature and Nurture relate to each other and to me show that we ought to drop them as categories. Nature already carries with it the present-at-hand idea of property, and Nurture already implies a causal relationship with the world and others. Anyway, enough of that. I’m going to asda.