The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture
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About the Author
Evelyn Fox Keller is Emerita Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of numerous books, including Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines; The Century of the Gene; Reflections on Gender and Science; and A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock. She has been awarded many academic and professional honors, including a Blaise Pascal Research Chair by the Préfecture de la Région D'Ile-de-France for 2005-07, membership in the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a MacArthur Fellowship.
"I know of no other publication that offers so concise and cogent an account of what 'nature versus nurture' refers to. Evelyn Fox Keller is at her best dissecting the assumptions and histories that have come to shape a particular version of biology, genes, and life."--Sarah Franklin, author of Dolly Mixtures: The Remaking of Genealogy
"In the finest fashion of philosophical essays, this deeply thought, passionate, generous, and transdisciplinary monograph offers a clear-headed and constructive guide to the nature-nurture wars."--Sarah S. Richardson "Signs "
"Perhaps a hundred years from now people will look back on the debate as being as distant and unimportant as we today consider debates about the importance of empire or the plausibility of spiritualism. If so, Evelyn Fox Keller's excellent little book will deserve credit for its role in making this mind-change."--Michael Ruse "British Journal for the History of Science "
"For its careful analysis of the causes of the confusion that continues to keep the nature/nurture debate alive long after it has become clear that the questions motivating the debate have been ill-formed, Fox Keller's book can be highly recommended for classroom teachers or teacher educators. Although the book itself would be difficult for many students, Fox Keller's message is an extremely important one, one that educators really should understand before discussing the nature/nurture debate with their classes."--David S. Moore "Science and Education "
"Keller is one of the most sophisticated and intelligent analysts of the social and psychological forces that operate in intellectual life and, in particular, of the relation of gender in our society both to the creation and acceptance of scientific ideas."--Richard C. Lewontin "New York Review of Books "
"Keller's little essay is an excellent teaching resource--and an excellent resource for reminding ourselves about the pitfalls of the current way of thinking. Anyone with an interest in the nature-nurture problem--which is to say, almost everyone--should read this book."--Daniel W. McShea "American Scientist "
"The ideas developed in this book will lead us to see the universality in humanity, a shift from the individual to the collective, a dissolution of artificial boundaries, and hope for the future of science and humanity."--Bindu Anubha Bambah"Resonance" (03/01/2017)
"[Keller] isn't out to mine history; she wants to examine how and why the simple act of placing the word 'versus' between concepts of nature and nurture perpetuates the debate about the science of what shapes us. . . . [H]er arguments, as academic as they are, relate to us all, and get at the essence of our differences. In the end, Keller is hopeful that 'the new science of genetics' will offer a way out of the debate, and possibly eliminate the debate altogether. "--Publishers Weekly
"Keller's book is valuable because it provides a crisp and articulate statement of the many confusions that pervade our talk of genetics,
particularly human genetics. It could be used in both undergraduate and graduate classes that touch on these issues. Moreover, because Keller's focus is on the problems of the language of genetics itself rather than on their instantiation in a particular controversy it brings clearly into focus the underlying problem that cuts across a number of controversies. The book should be taken as a summary of the issues and an agenda for how we proceed from here."--John P. Jackson Jr. "Journal of the History of Biology "
"Not long ago, I read a beautiful book by Evelyn Fox Keller called The Mirage of a Space Between Nature and Nurture. She's a philosopher of science at MIT. She's one of the most brilliant philosophers of science there is. She writes short but brilliant books, and she's great."--Siri Hustvedt, novelist "Miami Herald "