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Pluralism and Process in Understanding Human Nature

digital Pluralism and Process in Understanding Human Nature
Articolo
rivista RIVISTA DI FILOSOFIA NEO-SCOLASTICA
fascicolo RIVISTA DI FILOSOFIA NEO-SCOLASTICA - 2015 - 1 - 2
titolo Pluralism and Process in Understanding Human Nature
autore
editore Vita e Pensiero
formato Articolo | Pdf
online da 10-2015
issn 00356247 (stampa) | 18277926 (digitale)
€ 6,00

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This paper takes a new look at debates about human nature, and the way in which these have been polarised between extremes that give overwhelming weight either to biology or to environment. While there is widespread agreement that some kind of interactionist middle ground is needed, the dynamics of the debate seem inevitably to reproduce the traditional extreme positions. This paper offers several resources for facilitating the move to a more defensible middle ground. First, we should recognise that there is no unique way of understanding human nature: many theoretical perspectives have value, though value that is limited and specific to an intended class of questions. Second, the basis for this pluralistic perspective becomes clearer when we take seriously that humans, like other biological systems, are highly dynamic processes rather than substances, necessarily defined in ways that give priority to some arbitrarily selected stage of the human life cycle. Third, from a process perspective it is possible to give proper weight to the fact that what is most distinctive about humans is their developmental plasticity, which is what makes possible the behavioural diversity that motivates the importance of environment, especially social environment, stressed by so many theorists of human nature.