Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 711–723 | Cite as

Making Sense of the Nature–Nurture Debate

Review of Neven Sesardic (2005), Making Sense of Heritability. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
  • James Tabery


Neven Sesardic’s Making Sense of Heritability ((2005), Cambridge University Press) is an acrid, bitterly antagonistic contribution to the nature–nurture debate. Philosophers of science are accused of deliberate misrepresentation: of “willfully misread[ing]” hereditarians (p. 178), of “exegetical miscarriages” (p. 95), and of not taking “the trouble to study the sources” (p. 46). But, Sesardic surmises, “deliberate misrepresentation in attacks on hereditarianism is less frequent than sheer ignorance.” (p. 135) And so philosophers of science are also accused of lacking “elementary knowledge in biology” (p. 57), of “egregiously fallacious reasoning” (p. 228), and of embracing “crude and ill founded” arguments (p. 142). Sesardic’s frustration with the “mindless cheerleaders” from philosophy of science is palpable throughout the volume (p. 192).

What is a reader (or reviewer) to make of such rhetoric? One response might be to dismiss it (and the entire volume that harbors it)...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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