- Capitalism and Alternatives -

General vs. Particular, Culture vs. Physiology

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on July 12, 1999 at 10:17:57:

In Reply to: and you really do? posted by Gee on July 08, 1999 at 10:42:27:

: : SDF: So, you've decided to join the NBA and play pro basketball, Gee?

: As one who likes to deny that mankind has a specific nature

SDF: It is one thing to say that "everyone has one, and only one, specific nature" (the "human nature" fallacy), and another, completely different thing, to say "it is my specific nature to be 5 feet 10 3/4 inches." You are confusing general with particular, culture with physiology. Humankind is not "naturally," 5 feet 10 3/4 inches, nor is humanity 5 feet 10 3/4 inches as a result of enculturation.

And another thing -- you appear to have completely missed the subtlety of my argument about "human nature," 'twas that I argued that ANY assumption about "human nature," regardless of its "truth," would appear to be trumped by the power of enculturation in forming the social attributes of human beings within society. If one has to be tall in order to play professional basketball within capitalist societies, this is because the capitalist societies that value professional basketball also value such basketball as played almost entirely by tall people (there are some exceptions -- Muggsy Bogues of the Golden State Warriors measures 5' 2," but there isn't really anyone else of his height in the NBA). In short, the NBA is ENCULTURATED toward the hiring and promotion of tall people. Whether tall people IN GENERAL (apart from specific tall individuals) are NATURALLY "basketball players" is neither here nor there, nor is it an important question to ask. Nobody is a "natural basketball player" apart from a society that plays basketball. Hakeem Olajuwon was a "natural soccer player" until he drifted into a society that played basketball.

: I can see why you might think a person could change their shape to suit their whim.

SDF: Only within the fantasies of those who equate "career choice" with some sort of absolute freedom supposedly possessed by (bourgeois) humanity under capitalism.

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