From: Ian Wright (iwright@GMAIL.COM)
Date: Fri Feb 18 2005 - 12:20:08 EST
Hi Rakesh > Too innatist for me, I think. This fungibility and universality may > be a historico social result, not a given of human nature. In some > sense the potential for such pre-existed its actualization, but in > what sense? What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for the > actualization of these causal powers. If we took an infant from 17th century fedual France and deposited it with a family in northern California in 2005, would that infant be able to become an electrician, a nurse, a software engineer; or would it only be able to develop the skills necessary for peasant farming? Of course we can't perform this experiment, but I'd hazard a guess to the outcome! We know there is something quite complex that is innate and invariant (so far) over historical time periods, which is the genetic basic of humanity. It's an enormous amount of information and wisdom zipped up in our genes that enables and constrains our social development. This genetic basis enables the development of highly adaptable animals that may be socialised into an existing body of theory and practice. Our mental machinery or hardware must be such as to support the ability to run all different kinds of knowledge software, from theories about how to wire up buildings, to theories about the economy and the society etc. There's a lot of work been done on the kinds of mental machinery that separate us from the animals. But I'm afraid I haven't read any of the authors you mention on historical materialist views of human nature. There will be a point soon when we will begin to reprogram our genetic basis. That will raise very interesting questions about what human nature really is ... I think now that I have not answered your concerns, or not addressed them. What's wrong with innatism, anyhow? Some form of it cannot be denied. ATB, -Ian.
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