Beyond Versus

The Struggle to Understand the Interaction of Nature and Nurture

If everyone now agrees that human traits arise not from nature or nurture but from the interaction of nature and nurture, why does the “nature versus nurture” debate persist? In Beyond Versus, James Tabery argues that the persistence stems from a century-long struggle to understand the interaction of nature and nurture—a struggle to define what the interaction of nature and nurture is, how it should be investigated, and what counts as evidence for it.

Tabery examines past episodes in the nature versus nurture debates, offers a contemporary philosophical perspective on them, and considers the future of research on the interaction of nature and nurture. From the eugenics controversy of the 1930s and the race and IQ controversy of the 1970s to the twenty-first-century debate over the causes of depression, Tabery argues, the polarization in these discussions can be attributed to what he calls an “explanatory divide”—a disagreement over how explanation works in science, which in turn has created two very different concepts of interaction. Drawing on recent developments in the philosophy of science, Tabery offers a way to bridge this explanatory divide and these different concepts integratively. Looking to the future, Tabery evaluates the ethical issues that surround genetic testing for genes implicated in interactions of nature and nurture, pointing to what the future does (and does not) hold for a science that continues to make headlines and raise controversy.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. 1. Introduction
  3. I. The Interaction Debate
  4. 2. The Origin(s) of Interaction: Interaction in the Eugenics Controversy
  5. 3. Race, Genetics, and IQ: Interaction in the IQ Controversy
  6. 4. Its Rise, Its Fall, Its Rise? Interaction in the Twenty-First Century
  7. II. Bridging the Explanatory Divide
  8. 5. Population Thinking about Mechanisms: An Integrative Relationship
  9. 6. The Interaction of Nature and Nurture: An Integrated Concept
  10. III. Genetic Testing for Interaction
  11. 7. Disarming the "Genetic Predisposition to Violence": The Dangers of Mischaracterizing Interaction
  12. 8. Of Dogs, Daycare, and Discipline: A "Genetic Guide to Parenting"?
  13. Notes
  14. References
  15. Index