Compare And Contrast Descartes And Locke

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Researchers like René Descartes and John Locke came to populate that modern research landscape by continuing to postulate their own philosophies about human nature and nurture, to observably different outcomes. Descartes posited that some ideas, such as God and infinity, are innate and perfect and since Descartes claims himself as imperfect, he realises that he alone could not have authored these perfect ideas (Descartes, 1637/1956). These ideas were not part of his personal accounts, and therefore, the ideas had to be placed inside his mind by an existence more perfect than he was, which was God (Descartes, 1637/1956). In addition, Descartes does claim that since God would not deceive us, our sensory perception can be trusted to acquire physical …show more content…
Thus, Locke may posit that ideas are not innate but the mental operations are, hinting at a partly nativist view. Both René Descartes and John Locke, like Plato and Aristotle respectively, both have their own positions on whether we are biologically shaped or environmentally shaped. However, Descartes and Locke do have certain concepts of the ideas that crossover. Descartes suggest a nativist view of innate ideas (nature) but yet also says that sensory perception can be trusted to receive information in order to be scrutinized (nurture), while Locke says that we are a ‘blank slate’ and we receive all information through sensation (nurture) but the mental operations rearranging the sensory information are innate (nature). This shows that although philosophers like Descartes and Locke clearly have their own extreme positions on the debate, there is no denying the admittance that nature and nurture are both factors in human ideas and traits. Both sides of the debate have described too many “facts” that renders the “one factor is king” stand essentially …show more content…
This question was outlined by Sir Francis Galton in the late 19th century, who conceptualised the ‘nature vs nurture’ debate as we know it. Galton was more a nativist, suggesting that empiricism is inherited and suggested heredity dominance in human trait and intelligence formation. Galton assumes, like Aristotle, that people know the world through sensory perception, so the more accurate the sensory perception, the more intelligent the person is supposed to be. Yet, Galton reasoned that since sensory perception is a natural skill, intelligence is thus inherited, which is more along the lines of Plato’s teaching (Hergenhahn, 2005). This thought bled into Galton’s eugenics research whereby if intelligence is truly inherited and if more intelligent people were encouraged to breed with each other and less intelligent people were discouraged to breed, a more intelligent population can be produced (Galton, 1869). Galton’s nativist ideals generated a sort of positive and negative eugenics system where natural superiority produces “geniuses”. However, when Galton, for his book English Men of Science: Their Nature and Nurture (1874), conducted a survey (also the first use of the questionnaire in psychology!) on 200 of his fellow scientists on their “scientific”

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