Nature-Nurture Debate  

The nature-nurture debate is another example of  determinism.  A nature-nurture debate is concerned with what causes something to develop.  On one side, nativists see development as arising from innate factors - from inherited characteristics.  On the other side, empiricists see development occurring because of experience and learning.

Nativism ties in closely with reductionism as a form of argument because extreme nativist or empiricist arguments are by definition reductionist.  By saying that some aspect of development is caused by nothing but genes, or nothing but experience, any further explanation is precluded: there isn't anything else to say.  The explanation focuses on one level of explanation and simply ignores the rest.  There are many nature-nurture debates in psychological theory, a number of which are discussed during this course.  For the most part, however, these debates tend to be historical rather than current.  Nowadays, most psychologists see development differently: they see biological predispositions as guiding development in certain directions, but experience as influencing how that development manifests itself.  The two sources are seen as interconnected, not as opposing alternatives, and it is the way that they interact which is the focus of interest.