Document Type

Occasional Paper

Publication Date

9-3-2015

Keywords

causality, controversy, genetics, health, heritability, interaction, intervention, mechanism, philosophy, statistics

Disciplines

Philosophy of Science

Abstract

Beyond versus makes its contribution to the thriving industry of books that clarify or recast nature-nurture issues through seven conceptual moves. The first is to posit a divide between sociological and philosophical inquiry. As Tabery depicts them, commentators on the science invoked in nature-nurture debates often focus on the racist or other political views of disputants or on their flawed understanding of scientific concepts. Tabery, in contrast, as a philosopher of science, explains past and present disagreements as stemming from “a disagreement concerning how explanation works in science.” (The other moves include explanatory and terminological divides, connecting associations to mechanisms, rank-change versus divergence-only interaction, a single category for nature-nurture.) This review essay, while operating for the most part on the philosophical side of the divide, does promote more careful understanding of the science of data analysis. This leads me to present alternatives to each of Tabery’s moves, including, eventually, the sociological-philosophical divide.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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