The roots of the nature-nurture debate within psychology are briefly reviewed. Nature (that is, genetic influence) and nurture (social-environmental influence) offer two distinct perspectives on human personality and behavior. However, despite their differences, the two perspectives are philosophically identical in that both, when carried to the extreme, result in the disintegration of personal accountability and agency. The arguments for nature and for nurture imply an outward locus of control: either one’s genes or one’s history of social influences may be considered to adequately account for how a person behaves. Neither of these arguments gives an individual control over one’s course of action and behavior. The ramifications of this view are analyzed. I argue that the lack of moral agency and personal accountability implied by this view renders the United States’ legal system meaningless as far as it assumes that people can control their behavior. An alternative philosophical view is then recommended. Specifically, I propose that nature and nurture should be considered conjunctly with the noetic, the “spirit.” This proposed view provides a more comprehensive explanation of individual differences in personality and behavior.
"An Overview of the Nature–Nurture Debate and a Proposed New Paradigm,"
Intuition: The BYU Undergraduate Journal of Psychology: Vol. 7:
1, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/intuition/vol7/iss1/7