• Arnold Schroder

#10: Nature-nurture death spiral pt. 3: Foucault ruins your meeting

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

(08/26/2020) In this episode, we trace the journey of 20th century social sciences through innumerable versions of the nature vs. nurture debate, talk about how the denial of human nature led scientists to torture baby monkeys, and do a blow-by-blow analysis of Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault's famous 1971 dialogue on innateness, describing how the reasoning Foucault employs is the precursor to many of the frustrating and ineffective aspects of contemporary political movements.

Bibliography for episode #10:


Breland, K., & Breland, M. (1961) The misbehavior of organisms. American Psychologist 16(11):681–684. DOI: 10.1037/h0040090


Brown, D. E. (1991) Human Universals. McGraw-Hill.


Chomsky, N. & Foucault, M. (1971) Transcript of debate on human nature: Justice versus power. https://chomsky.info/1971xxxx/


Edgerton, R. B. (1992) Sick Societies: Challenging the Myth of Primitive Harmony. The Free Press.


Graber, D. (2004) Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology. Prickly Paradigm Press.


Harlow, H.F., Dodsworth, R.O. & Harlow, M.K. (196) Total social isolation in monkeys. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 54:90-97.


Kim, M., Yi, S. & Lee, D. (2019) Between living and nonliving: Young children’s animacy judgments and reasoning about humanoid robots. PLoS ONE 14(6): e0216869.


Mahon, B. Z., Anzellotti, S., Schwarzbach, J., Zampini, M., & Caramazza, A. (2009) Category-Specific Organization in the Human Brain Does Not Require Visual Experience. Neuron 63:397-405.


Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (1992) The Psychological Foundations of Culture. In: Barkow, J., Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J., eds. The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture. Oxford University Press.




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