Philosophy: Culture Versus Natural Behavior

Written By: Damien Knight

“Is the Explanation of Human Behavior a Radically Different Enterprise From the Explanation of Natural Occurrences?”

When we think about nature versus culture we get to the crux of this question. Is human culture natural occurrence? Some would say culture is not natural because human action is done based on intelligence and reason and nature is done on instinct and not learned knowledge.

While I understand this prevailing view point I think culture and human behavior is natural. Humans have been acting in similar behavior since ancient times and these behaviors are seen in nature. We are born and we raise our young, we build our homes, we preen and do mating dances. We are sexual and social in much a similar way as the bonobo are. We use language something other animals in nature are capable of if taught. Even our intelligence and reasoning are not limited to just ourselves. Dolphins, bonobo and chimps all can reason and show intelligence. It has been shown that gorillas can and have learned American sign language. In short the human species is not as special as we let ourselves believe we are another extension of what naturally occurs.

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