Culture and biology

Ronald Kephart (rkephart@OSPREY.UNF.EDU)
Mon, 22 Jul 1996 11:12:14 -0400

I wish I had more time to respond to this, because it's really interesting, but
the 104 students in my intro class are calling...

Dwight Read notes that I wrote "With language, there are, clearly, things which
cannot be explained biologically" and sees a contradiction between this and my
earlier statement that culture and biology should not be considered separate

OK, I admit, I was writing fast and sloppy. What I SHOULD have said was "There
are, clearly, aspects of language that are not genetically predetermined." One
such aspect would be obligatory vs. optional subject. Another such would be the
particular phoneme inventory for a particular language, which differs from
language to language but within genetically provided limits (e.g. no language
has ONLY voiced obstruents).

I guess I see a problem here only if one continues to assume, I believe
incorrectly, that the western philosophical tradition's nature-culture dichotomy
is a valid one. I do not.

Ron Kephart