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Can Science Resolve the Nature / Nurture Debate?

Can Science Resolve the Nature / Nurture Debate?

by Gisli Palsson and Margaret M. Lock
Publication Date: 06/05/2016
RRP  $20.95 $19.95
Following centuries of debate about "nature and nurture" the discovery of DNA established the idea that nature (genes) determines who we are, relegating nurture (environment) to icing on the cake.

Since the 1950s, the new science of epigenetics has demonstrated how cellular environments and certain experiences and behaviors influence gene expression at the molecular level, with significant implications for health and wellbeing. To the amazement of scientists, mapping the human genome indirectly supported these insights. Anthropologists Margaret Lock and Gisli Palsson outline vituperative arguments from Classical times about the relationship between nature and nurture, furthered today by epigenetic findings and the demonstration of a "reactive genome." The nature/nurture debate, they show, can never be put to rest, because these concepts are in constant flux in response to the new insights science continually offers.
Publication Date:
Polity Press
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):
Gisli Palsson

Gisli Palsson is professor semi-emeritus of anthropology at the University of Iceland. He has had academic affiliations in Norway, England, and the United States and has conducted research in Iceland, the Canadian Arctic, the Republic of Cape Verde, and the Caribbean. He is widely recognized as a scholar and writer, often focusing on environmental issues and human rights. His previous books include The Man Who Stole Himself: The Slave Odyssey of Hans Jonathan; Ma maison au pied du volcan; Nature, Culture, and Society: Anthropological Perspectives on Life; Can Science Resolve the Nature/Nurture Debate? (with Margaret Lock); and Nature and Society: Anthropological Perspectives (co-edited with Philip Descola).

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