Beyond Human Nature by Jesse J. Prinz
How Culture and Experience Shape the Human Mind

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Synopsis

In this provocative, revelatory tour de force, Jesse Prinz reveals how the cultures we live in - not biology - determine how we think and feel. He examines all aspects of our behaviour, looking at everything from our intellects and emotions, to love and sex, morality and even madness. This book seeks to go beyond traditional debates of nature and nurture. He is not interested in finding universal laws but, rather, in understanding, explaining and celebrating our differences.



Why do people raised in Western countries tend to see the trees before the forest, while people from East Asia see the forest before the trees? Why, in South East Asia, is there a common form of mental illness, unheard of in the West, in which people go into a trancelike state after being startled? Compared to Northerners, why are people in the American South more than twice as likely to kill someone over an argument? And, above all, just how malleable are we?



Prinz shows that the vast diversity of our behaviour is not engrained. He picks up where biological explanations leave off. He tells us the human story.

 

About Jesse J. Prinz

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Jesse J. Prinz is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and director of the Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies at the City University of New York, Graduate Center. He lives in New York.
 
Published January 26, 2012 by Penguin. 388 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Professional & Technical, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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Much as cognitive scientist Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate (2002) presented a sweeping naturist viewpoint, Prinz makes arguments in favor of “a fairly thoroughgoing nurturism.” He seeks to dismantle the widely held notion that language, personality traits, moral values and other complex aspects ...

Sep 02 2012 | Read Full Review of Beyond Human Nature: How Cult...

Kirkus Reviews

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Cognitive Science editorial board member Prinz (Philosophy/City Univ. of New York; The Emotional Construction of Morals, 2008, etc.) tackles an age-old debate, making an argument for "the primacy of nurture over nature."

Nov 05 2012 | Read Full Review of Beyond Human Nature: How Cult...

The Wall Street Journal

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Will our increased understanding of how our brains work allow us to transcend human nature?

Nov 16 2012 | Read Full Review of Beyond Human Nature: How Cult...

The Wall Street Journal

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Will our increased understanding of how our brains work allow us to transcend human nature?

Nov 16 2012 | Read Full Review of Beyond Human Nature: How Cult...

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