Summary Of David Hull's On Human Nature Refutation

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“On Human Nature” Refutation

David Hull’s “On Human Nature” is an article written to oppose human nature.
Specifically, it challenges human evolution as the cause of universality/commonality of human traits. The case made in the article utilizes the logic behind Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection: evolutionary changes come via the generation of variation in each generation and differential survival of individuals with different combinations of these varying traits. The central thesis of “On Human Nature” is that any common set of traits that people share is due to chance as opposed to the inner workings of evolution.
Evolutionary biology and human nature are thereby rendered incompatible. In order to fully grasp Hull’s central
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These intangible traits are not subjected to the process of natural selection. In summary, while
Hull’s views do invalidate some notions of human nature (notably the essentialist notion), some ideas concerning human nature still allow for its compatibility with evolutionary biology. Another reading that counters Hull is Paul Griffiths’ “Our Plastic Nature.” This enlightening read suggests that the environment plays a significant role in the creation of human nature. Specifically, the argument is human nature results from the whole organism-environment system that supports human development, not from one part of the system (Griffiths, 319). This point implies that human nature is not a result, but an action.
The cumulative effects of internal and external actions develop people into who they are, and who they will become. Another point Griffiths makes is humans are plastic. That is, humans are metaphorically shaped differently due to differential inputs they receive throughout the course of their lives. However, Griffiths argues that there are patterns to these differences, and they thusly fall into the category of human nature. To put it

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