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Young Geoffrey

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Is There a Social Constructionist In the House? [Aug. 1st, 2008|06:38 pm]
Young Geoffrey
I'm re-reading Steven Pinker's book, The Blank Slate and would like to hear from the other side.

Can any of you suggest a good over-view of social constructionist theory?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: miyyu
2008-08-01 11:20 pm (UTC)
In my undergraduate days, I could have, but it's been a while... In any case, Steven Pinker's an interesting guy and a solid writer. The Blank Slate is well worth reading.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2008-08-01 11:27 pm (UTC)

Oh Yes!

I've actually read it before and it mostly stroked my own preconceived notions. I want to lend it to someone, but decided to re-read it first, so it would be fresh in my mind when (as I half expect) she attacks it.

I suppose I could just take the most likely looking items from his bibliography or footnotes, but there's no guarantee that he's cited the strongest examples of the theory he disdains (though I believe that he has!).
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[User Picture]From: miyyu
2008-08-02 11:36 am (UTC)

Re: Oh Yes!

I think actually Pinker's bibliography is pretty safe to judge. He's well respected as a scholar and he wouldn't be if he didn't use seminal works. I just don't remember who the biggest proponents of the theory are.

The short version, if I remember right, is the nature vs. nurture thing, as I'm sure you've gleaned from the book already.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2008-08-02 03:32 pm (UTC)

Re: Oh Yes!

It probably is safe to use it, I agree. I just want to be as fair as possible, on the (unlikely) chance Pinker's left out some powerful thinker and is, in effect, attacking straw men.

Basically, I have always "known" that people nature makes a difference - or at least since I watched my younger brother see a piano at the age of 6 or 7 and start picking out music by ear. (Funnily enough, when he picked up music as a teenager, he quickly became a very good musician.)
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[User Picture]From: shara
2008-08-02 12:58 am (UTC)
Social Construction of What? by Ian Hacking is a good overview... though he himself isn't a converted social constructist per se.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2008-08-02 01:08 am (UTC)

Doesn't Quite Sound Like What I'm Looking For

I want to understand social constructionism from a believer's point of view, not a critic's. I'm almost certain (as in 99% certain) that they're dead wrong, but almost all of my information on them has come from the likes of Pinker, Diamond and Dawkins - which might be kind of like asking a Jihadist about the finer points of Hinduism.
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[User Picture]From: shara
2008-08-02 01:39 am (UTC)

Re: Doesn't Quite Sound Like What I'm Looking For

Well, Hacking considers himself an agnostic on the issue. It's not really a criticism of any one side specifically.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2008-08-02 03:35 pm (UTC)

Re: Doesn't Quite Sound Like What I'm Looking For

That's what I inferred from your initial reply. But what I want is the (up-to-date) equivalent of E.O. Wilson or Dawkins, but from the opposing side. The unmediated version, in other words.
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[User Picture]From: colinmarshall
2008-08-02 01:31 am (UTC)
Just say the words "evolutionary psychology" to any humanities grad student. When they catch their breath after exhausting themselves with damning exhortations and, they'll re-iterate their point of view more slowly and clearly.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2008-08-02 03:43 pm (UTC)

"Bait the Humanities Student!"

I can see that becoming a cruel but entertaining sport for intellectual sadists. "If you believe that homosexuality is innate, how can you deny that verbal intelligence also is?" Etcetera.
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[User Picture]From: jade_noir
2008-08-02 04:06 am (UTC)

don't know any books but...

Why are you now putting the 14 or older filter on all of your entries? I don't think this is going to hurt any young minds, mind included.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2008-08-02 03:45 pm (UTC)

Re: don't know any books but...

When I started my smut-filter, I decided to be a good boy and follow LJ's rules. I hesitated, but finally decided that anyone under 14 who might actually be interested in reading me would probably be clever enough to light about their age.
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[User Picture]From: thebigthreekill
2008-08-02 06:01 pm (UTC)

GROSS

....
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2008-08-04 01:45 am (UTC)

Re: GROSS

Something's going over my head.

Are you saying "Gross" to the question, to social constructionism, or to Dawkins/Pinker? (Or something else entirely? In which case I really missed the point.)
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[User Picture]From: casualsexcapade
2008-08-04 05:09 pm (UTC)
durrrr

I can blow bubbles with my spit.

:D
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2008-08-05 05:41 pm (UTC)

Now I Understand!

Why brewers so seldom get elected to high office.

Ahem.
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