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Why We Disagree About Human Nature$
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Elizabeth Hannon and Tim Lewens

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198823650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198823650.001.0001

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Human Nature, Natural Pedagogy, and Evolutionary Causal Essentialism

Human Nature, Natural Pedagogy, and Evolutionary Causal Essentialism

(p.76) 4 Human Nature, Natural Pedagogy, and Evolutionary Causal Essentialism
Why We Disagree About Human Nature

Cecilia Heyes

Oxford University Press

The theory of natural pedagogy suggests that human infants genetically inherit a package of psychological adaptations that make them receptive to teaching. This chapter evaluates the theory of natural pedagogy, and makes it a test case for two recent theories of human nature: the nomological account and causal essentialism. However, neither of these theories captures firmly the explanatory project of which natural pedagogy is part. Instead, I offer a hybrid of the nomological account and causal essentialism, ‘evolutionary causal essentialism’. This captures both the evolutionary and the causal–explanatory characteristics of contemporary evolutionary psychology, broadly construed, and allows that natural pedagogy could be part of human nature even if, as this chapter argues, receptivity to teaching is culturally inherited.

Keywords:   natural pedagogy, cultural inheritance, evolutionary causal essentialism, nomological account of human nature, causal essentialism

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