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Philosophy To Psychology: Nature Versus Nurture

4763 words - 20 pages

Running Head: Philosophy to Psychology

Philosophy to Psychology: The Question of Nature Versus Nurture

Bernard Stevens

Lux Ferre University

Senior Research

April 26, 2011


What influences more, society on the individual or collective individuals on society? Is society, thereby the individual, constructed by a set of pre-existing material conditions, or a pre-existing social condition? The philosophical origins of the question of nature versus nurture, are steeped in the ancient Greek philosophers nomos-physis debate in which the question is man the product (his actions) of conventional law or ...view middle of the document...

What is implied, psychologically, is that both biology and nurturing aspects play a role in shaping a person into being that which he or she becomes. Furthermore, the biological implications are further implied, when in the sustaining of the city and the best possible citizens is that the most fit, the most intelligent (or those best in their crafts), etc. who are the ones who are to bear and reproduce children, as opposed to those who are not to have a society of the best. He even inputs his observation on the misunderstandings of biology that, though two parents may have optimal traits in their being, the child may not inherit the same traits. The prime achievement of the book was not solely the finding of what just or justice is but the method by which one will know. This method arrives at the Theory of Ideas, which is the metaphysical a-temporal and a-spatial realm where a thing is without form and is the basis, not cause, of the form of things as we perceive them through the senses.

Aristotle followed Plato, though he rejected Plato’s idea that the Realm of Ideas is reality, he asserted that what we perceive is all we can know and that is reality for us all. He continues further, as Durant (2009) suggests, that “[matter] in its widest sense, is the possibility of form; form is the actuality, the finished reality, of matter . . . form is not merely the shape but the shaping force, an inner necessity and impulse which moulds mere material to a specific figure and purpose; it is the realization of a potential capacity of matter (pg 56)”. This excerpt suggest people can will to be what they are and work towards the potential of what they can be, whether they are aware or unaware of the will they possess. It is further supported by Durant’s quote of Aristotle when he says “we cannot directly will to be different from what we are”, but adds to claim that he explicates that we are capable of choosing the environment we are in by which we can mould ourselves to be that which we desire (pg 58). This parallels Plato’s idea that we are shaped in who we become by the nature of our being, yet also influenced and molded by the environment in which we find ourselves.

Sir Francis Bacon, one of the philosophers to follow after Aristotle during the Renaissance took a behaviorist approach to understanding man by stating “philosophers should diligently inquire into the powers and energy of custom, exercise, habit, education, example imitation, emulation, company, friendship, praise, reproof, exhortation, reputation, laws, books, studies etc.; for these are the things that reign in men’s morals; by these agents the mind is formed and subdued”, suggesting man is a product of circumstance and his environment. Reverting back to the question of conventional law versus natural law, man acts in accordance, from Bacon’s social- psycho view to conventional law, which Thrysamachus states in The Republic is “the advantage of the stronger (Grube, pg 14)”. So, the...

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