Tag Archives: culture

Paul Bloom

[O]ne of the strongest examples of essentialism concerns the difference between the sexes. Before ever learning about physiology, genetics, evolutionary theory, or any other science, children think that there is something internal and invisible that distinguishes boys from girls. This essentialism can be explicit, as when one girl explained why a boy will go fishing rather than put on makeup: “’Cause that’s they boy instinct.” And seven-year-olds tend to endorse statements such as “Boys have different things in their innards than girls” and “Because God made them that way” (a biological essence and a spiritual essence). Only later in development do children accept cultural explanations, such as “Because it is the way we have been brought up.” You need to be socialized to think about socialization.

Paul Bloom, How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like, New York, 2010, p. 17

Peter Richerson & Robert Boyd

Some scholars, including most economists, many psychologists, and many social scientists influenced by evolutionary biology, place little emphasis on culture as a cause of human behavior. Others, especially anthropologists, sociologists, and historians, stress the importance of culture and institutions in shaping human affairs, but usually fail to consider their connection to biology. The success of all these disciplines suggests that many questions can be answered by ignoring culture or its connection to biology. However, the most fundamental questions of how human came to be the kind of animal we are can only be answered by a theory in which culture has its proper role and in which it is intimately intertwined with other aspects of human biology.

Peter Richerson & Robert Boyd, Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution, Chicago, 2005, p. 4

Norman Finkelstein

Once upon a time, dissenting intellectuals deployed robust political categories such as “power” and “interests,” on the one hand, and “ideology,” on the other. Today, all that remains is the bland, depoliticized language of “concerns” and “memory”.

Norman Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, London, 2000, p. 5

Ray Carney

We live in a culture of mass-production and one of the products we manufacture the best is synthetic emotions and experiences. The Hollywood studios are brilliant at mass-producing stock feelings. They have perfected the art of canning them.

Ray Carney, ‘A Chilly View of Hollywood’, MovieMaker, vol. 13 (June, 1995)