The Mythical Threat of Genetic Determinism

Daniel C. Dennett, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Jan 30, 2003
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I am an empiricist, which means, in essence, that I believe that knowledge comes from experience. This places me in close company with those who agree that, to use the old expression, our character is determined by nurture, not nature. Genius is produced by exceptional circumstances, not exceptional genertics. Not only is what we learn shaped by education, so is our capacity to learn. That is why I am impatient with commentators who assert as a universal truth that people need this or that support system in order to learn. It's not so. We will see evidence of this soon enough, I think, as children today are being placed in a richer and more diverse informational ecology than any in history.
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