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Beyond Human Nature: How Culture and Experience Shape the Human Mind
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Beyond Human Nature: How Culture and Experience Shape the Human Mind

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  163 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
A timely and uniquely compelling plea for the importance of nurture in the ongoing nature-nurture debate.

In this era of genome projects and brain scans, it is all too easy to overestimate the role of biology in human psychology. But in this passionate corrective to the idea that DNA is destiny, Jesse Prinz focuses on the most extraordinary aspect of human nature: that nurt
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published November 19th 2012 by W. W. Norton Company (first published August 1st 2011)
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Prinz is the antidote to contemporary analytic philosophy's agoraphobia. He presents a unified empiricist picture of mind and language and morality that matches the ambition of Hume and Russell. Though Prinz can't match the literary merit of the great empiricists, he successfully carries out the project set out in the subtitle of Hume's Treatise: "An Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects".
Kathleen Brugger
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you care about human beings and our future you should hope this book is right. Mr. Prinz is a philosopher, and he believes that the nature-nurture debate has swung too far towards nature in this era when molecular biology and neurobiology are ascendant. This book was written to try and swing the balance back towards nurture.

If nature is a bigger factor, then we are all stuck with what we were given at our conception. But if Mr. Prinz right and nurture is more important, then we all have the c
زهیر باقری نوع‌پرست

بحث بر سر اینکه ما تا چه اندازه محصول ژنها یا محیط خود هستیم همچنان داغ است. همانطور که جسه پرینتس در کتاب جالب توجه و مستند خود، «فراتر از سرشت بشر» اشاره میکند، جدال بین سرشت و پرورش دست کم به زمان افلاطون و ارسطو در سدهی چهارم پیش از میلاد باز میگردد.

از سدهی نوزدهم میلادی، هنگامی که برای نخستین بار به شکل علمی به هر دو موضوع فرهنگ و وراثت بیولوژیک پرداخته شد، علوم متفاوت به این جدال علاقهمند شدند، از روانشناسان نهادگرای سدهی نوزدهم گرفته تا نیم قرن رفتارگرایی در سدهی بیستم. از دههی ۶۰ سدهی بی
Peter Herrmann
Dec 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good counter-arguments to Steven Pinker's "Blank Slate." Counter-arguments perhaps too strong ... Prinz doesn't deny human nature, but claims it's controlling influence has been - at times - overstated.

Tightly organized, well-elucidated, seems to cover all the ground (but I'm no expert). Calls into question the interpretations results of many earlier studies - making you realize that much care needs to be given to interpreting any study's results.

Gives us hope (somewhat); ie - that we're not so
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Prinz's book is a meditation on the way our cultural environment shapes our development, as individuals and as a species. He takes exception to recent 'naturist' research in the field, and challenges many theories about 'innate' characteristics. (I'm guessing that, if you're a naturist, you'll probably like this book a whole lot less than I did, but I found it gave me much to consider about the way in which humans learn and form societies.)
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
His arguments often run counter to the pop science of the age, but Prinz is mostly right, about important things, in this book. It's encouraging to see a careful and thoughtful philosopher successfully crafting a work like this for the inquisitive layperson.
Adam Ummar
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Foucault would be proud!
Virginia Rand
Most of this information has been covered better elsewhere, and the rest is included to prove a point.
Simon Lavoie
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beyond Human Nature offers a counterweight to the genetic causalism that pervades much books, articles, and scientific-minded lay talks nowadays, while also showing that cultural psychology (which dates from Tomasello's The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition) and the empiricist view of the human mind both make for a good alternative.

Jesse puts much of the intensely debated cases under closer scrutiny (IQ and the bell curve, racial and sexual differences in intellectual skills, language impac
Vivek Tejuja
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why do people from one culture think and see things differently from another? Why do they almost feel and also emote differently in some situations? There are so many instances when people from a different race or culture act and think differently and yet while most of us question the differences, there are times when thoughts regarding those do not cross our mind. The differences also stem from the nurture or the nature angle, which there have long gone been debates about in our world.

The book
A very refreshing, enjoyable and thought-provoking read! Prinz doesn't use the arrogant tone of Steven Pinker and Noam Chomsky, but humbly and respectfully presents evidence for a larger role of nurture. That evidence isn't just questionnaires where women who have grown up in countries where they have more opportunities than in the US reply that wealth isn't particularly important when they look for a mate (sorry, but when reading "How the mind works", I was appalled by the scientific weakness o ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
It made strong arguments for Nurture playing the dominant role in a lot of behaviours. I was unconvinced in a few areas. In sex differences cognitive differences I think are cultural but when it came to sexual attitudes and behaviour I thought Nature pretty much dominates and the authors arguments were unconvincing. Most of the book was pretty strong in making the case that most of our behaviours are enviromentally dependent.
Jane Walker
Are we the result of nature (our inherited traits) or nurture, the effect of the environment. Prinz is on the side of nurture, and goes systematically through the research to prove his point. The book is interesting and persuasive.
Greta Hammer
Aug 30, 2016 rated it liked it
So incredibly interesting as long as you begin the book already agreeing with the nurture side of the nature-nurture debate. The author is clearly biased...but after reading this book, I think he has a good reason to be.
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A worthy opponent of Stephen Pinker, Noam Chomsky and a great many other proponents of evolutionary psychology.

Prinz clearly and persuasively debunks or re-interprets the talking points of those seeking a model of human traits anchored in evolutionary theory.
Sergio  Mori
Dec 27, 2015 rated it liked it
To be honest, I found it interesting (I wholeheartedly agree with the premise), but rather repetitive and a tad dire. Even the bit about language was just more of the same and slightly boring... and I am a linguist!
I enjoyed the bit about gender, though.
I am very interested in this subject, but not enough to slog through this repetitive book. There's just too much information, and too much nature vs. nurture talk. I don't need convincing, I already agree with the premise.
Dec 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Phew! That was a slog.

Don't get me wrong, it was an interesting read, but I was expecting something a bit lighter than this apologist's textbook for the Nuturist's crowd...

Angela Powell
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
A well written book on a very interesting premise. Insightful and educative.
Ryan Carmody
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Feb 01, 2015
Pranil Vaidya
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Feb 07, 2013
Sarah Hanney
rated it it was amazing
Mar 02, 2015
Rob Brooks
rated it it was ok
May 08, 2012
Rosa Ventura
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Jan 31, 2018
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Mar 25, 2017
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Katharine Holden
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Jesse J. Prinz is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and director of the Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies at the City University of New York, Graduate Center. He lives in New York.
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