The Moral Arc : How Science Makes Us Better People Essay

757 Words Apr 21st, 2016 4 Pages
In Michael Shermer’s book The Moral Arc: How Science Makes Us better people, one of the first topics that is introduced to the reader is the one of the oldest arguments in history, Nature vs Nurture. In his book, Shermer proposes the theory that we are all born into this world with some sort of moral compass. Therefore, we all have basic knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. However, the degree to how wrong or right someone views something to be can be shaped by how they are nurtured. Shermer states that the levels of guilt that we feel for violating certain social obligations can and will vary depending on the environment that we are raised in. In this case nature is defined as those characteristics and personality traits that we acquire genetically (eye color, height, etc.) and nurture is defined as the characteristics, personality, or behavioral traits that we develop from our surrounding environment or how a person is raised by their family. Going off of Shermer’s original statement in regards to the nature vs nurture debate he would be considered an empiricist also known as an environmentalist. Those that took a hereditary position in the debate remained strongly convinced that we owed all of our behavior to biological and genetic factors. (McLeod, 1) Those who agreed with this view were called nativists. Empiricists believed the human mind is a blank slate at birth also known as tabula Rosa. (McLeod, 1)The blank slate theory stated that we are born knowing…

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