First of Dr.Sander's lecture notes

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Published on 20 May 2011
Identity and Difference
Genetic essentialism
Identity and difference
Ways of knowing truths
Practical effects of knowledge
What's the point?
Seeking answers to what it means to be human... What is identity and what is
difference? What is it that makes us alike as people? And what is it that makes us
Genetic essentialism - Western belief that everything can be reduced to and explained
by genes
Things that we consider natural are not necessarily natural at all in an absolute sense,
but are the products of social and cultural categorizations (they are not natural, but
social and cultural)
Biology equally explains all human behaviour - the answer of what it means to be who
we are is within ourselves (biological essentialism/reductionism)
Essence refers to the fact that we believe there to be something in us that dictates
who we are
Idea in much of western society - we look at human nature
Human genome project - genes and behaviours are identifiable
Gene splicing
Sex change operations
Hormonal changes
Tells us about our own cultural beliefs
There is nothing that we actually do naturally - humans are rather social and cultural
creatures and it is through society that we act in different ways
All of us as humans share many things amongst us
Not all identical
All differ in many ways
Within and between cultures, social classes, plans, genders, ethnic groups, nations,
What are the forces that produce these similarities and differences among and
between humans? What are their origins?
Nature vs. Nurture
Nature suggests that we are who we are due to our natural constitutions - we are just
born that way, can't do anything about it
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