Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Final Project Draft Plan- “Humans And The Environment"

Human behavior is shaped largely if not totally by the environment around them

Possible Counterarguments:
Human behavior is shaped by the individual and has no  relationship to the environment.

Argument Description/Origin:
My first proposal was gibberish when I tried to say it, so this idea is more basic and narrow. I had this idea in my head while writing the first proposal but thought I had insubstantial evidence to support it. That was a dumb idea, there is plenty of material from the course and from psych to support this. I will use Abbey's environmental descriptions (the desert, yadda yadda), the humans aboard the Oankali ship environment, and natural earth in general (not just specifically the desert like Abbey) as outlined by Darwin as my environments.

My argument says very basically, humanity can only behave in certain ways in certain places. The environment plays a role in this behavior and shapes it majorly.

Previous Draft Use:
Although most of this essay will be newly written work not from previous drafts, I plan to use small parts of my second revision on the Oankali and humans to make up some of my argument on landscape or biology. Because this second revision has a lot to do with Oankali versus human differences, I will make use of small parts of its ideas within a larger work. I may also use ideas or small pieces of my first revision as it talked a lot about abbey and the desert, which is one of my landscapes which determines human behavior. This essay will be written mostly anew though.

Rough Introduction:
       The sense of self, the reflexes, the reaction to stimuli, perception, behavior, shared fears; all these mechanisms arise out of the environment around a human. The environment of time and space humanity exists in currently is finite, and that determines more than most think about. Many psychologists have fully  or at least in part, devoted their work and time to explaining the environmental effect that humans experience, and many others have called this theory false. Environmental psychology, or thee theory that human behavior is a direct product of their environment, has been proven, through both novels and major psychologists and their works to be true in explaining human behavior all the time.

Possible Sources And Why I Might Choose Them:

Immanuel Kant
Why: He uses the environment as the way humans are able to set up a sense of self. He also has useful material on perception. He also works well with Abbey because Abbey mentions him directly, and although Abbey claims to be Anti-Kantian, he truly is, which can be proven.

Christian von Ehrenfels, David Hume, and others who developed Gestalt theory:
Why: Gestalt theory is that humanity has a tendency to organize the world into parts and to see them all together making up a whole. Because the world is existing, humans must then break its stimuli into parts and categories, which is another way humanity is influenced by the environment.

Why: This metaphysical philosopher had a ton to do with the environment and the two famous questions of metaphysics "is there something there?" and "what is it like?" This naturally had a lot to do with the world and environment that humans live in. The mere act of questioning our environment leads to the assumption that our environment has some influence upon us.

Abbey, Edward. Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc., 1990. Paperback Edition.
Why: Abbey and the environment have a lot of interaction which I would use in this work. My first revision has some relevant parts that use this work as well because it talks a lot about the desert and what the desert makes Abbey believe about the world and himself.

Why: His whole theory of natural selection and evolution was based upon human and animal behavior in the environment and how favorable traits give organisms the upper hand in certain environments.

Butler, O. (1997). Family. In Dawn (2nd ed., Vol. 1, p. 85). New York: Aspect/Warner Books.

Why: The alien landscape and behavior of the humans within it is useful in showing how a normal environment leads to normal behavior while a different environment totally flips the script.


  1. My group (and Prof. Johns) basically said that my old proposal was crap, which it was, so I wrote a new one. I saw a theme of the specific environment of each novel we read affecting human behavior in certain distinct and robust ways, and this can bee supported by environmental psychology. However, there is a counterargument that humanity does what it does in any environment because of the things within itself, not the things around it. So that is my revised (totally new) proposal and argument now.

  2. Pretty good. The nature or nurture argument is meaningful (as it carries major implications for humanity, if true), and it has a clear counterargument to argue against. Then again, that's also somewhat of a problem to be addressed. There's tons of evidence and support for the counterargument, and so finding ways to counter their points should be important. Also, I suggest you look into twin studies in psychology where identical twins are raised in different environments, because they can provide a lot of evidence for (or against) your argument.

  3. "Human behavior is shaped largely if not totally by the environment around it" -- this is an argument so big that you could literally fill a library trying to make it. That does *not* mean that you shouldn't try to make your own little corner of it - it just means that you need to be clever and focused picking your approach.

    "My argument says very basically, humanity can only behave in certain ways in certain places. The environment plays a role in this behavior and shapes it majorly." -- this is a somewhat more focused version. If you could make it concrete (e.g., humans can only behave certain ways in freshman composition classrooms, humans can behave only certain ways in rattlesnake-infested deserts *and* we can draw general implications from that fact), then it could work.

    While I don't know anything about environmental psychology, it sounds applicable. I think the central difficulty here is breadth - so you need to make this about a particular environment or small group of environments, then to make a specific argument about that/those environment(s), with any general conclusions to be based on specific conclusions.


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