Nature Vs. Nurture: Which Is The Origin Of Virtue?

1152 words - 5 pages

A classic debated topic of nurture versus nature has been and always will be an argumentative subject in the scientific world. Some psychologists and scientists believe that one’s behavioral aspects originate only from the environmental factors of one’s upbringing, while other opposing specialists argue the outlook in science that agrees with the naturalist idea. The concept of naturalistic ideas supports that one’s genetic makeup, inherited from one’s parents, is the sole determining factor in one’s behavioral characteristics. However, these two opposing viewpoints have produced a number of questions that have perplexed philosophers for ages. Where do our society’s virtues come from? Are ...view middle of the document...

” The most influential philosopher of early Western civilizations, Aristotle, believed in balance and “moderation in all things.” His teaching recognizes the need to value the development of one’s rational powers and then using it to identify which actions are appropriate in various circumstances. Such ideals heavily influenced the philosophy of politics, literature and education (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

The philosophy of colonial education introduced building of character by instilling in one the virtues that one would be beneficial to society and, reminiscent to the ancient Greek philosophy, maintain order and prevent chaos. Centuries later, the “character education” evolved into programs and occupations for current day public and private schools. Virtues are taught by cheerleading, from guidance councilors, and are adapted into subjects such as Social Studies and English. “Praise and Reward” is a technique which is used in conjunction with good habit making, to “catch the students being good”; however the students lost focus on the lesson and more on the reward (Character Education – Overview). Schools in America are a melting pot due to immigration, which proposed a new beneficial development with “character building” as it bridged different cultures together and gave the virtue of acceptance to different people and customs.

“Culture is defined as the behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next. Culture is often, though not necessarily always, given boundaries by ethnicity or geography.” (VanBuren) Every culture evolves in its own time and has different customs and traditions. This could potentially have a tremendous impact on a member’s behavior. For example, in some hierarchy cultures, people are born into a social status and must live and die by that status, where as in the United States, most people wouldn’t live suppressed into a social status because nearly everyone is on equal ground in the land of the “free”.

Cultures vary in several ways, including parenting techniques. There are many cultures in which children are treated as manual labor for their family before they reach puberty. “With the emphasis on early life experience already discussed, it is easy to see how learned culture might help shape a person’s behavior” (VanBuren). Jean-Jacques Rosseau, an eighteenth-century French philosopher argued that development of humans was “function of experience,” and believed that there was pure, innocent, and “unspoiled state” of human kind until “corrupted by modern civilization” (Kessenich,...

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