Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Tabula Rasa- Debunking the Blank Slate

Analogous to a canvas devoid of paints and dyes, a blackboard destitute of scribbles and doodles or even a papyrus missing the touches of the ancient past. It remains a figment of philosophical inquiry, a blunder of the intellectual process, the very distortion of the scope of the mind. From its arrest of innateness to its propagation of an empiricist and a posteriori paradigms; it presents an unparalleled instance of proof by contradiction and a demeaning conception of nature and nurture. The blank slate proves to be conjecture worthy of both a critique and a debunking, the conception of an initially vacuous, empty and 'blank' self and a subsequently experiencing, feeling and sensing mind paints the portrait of a promising epistemic theory. Having a preference for the nurture end of the spectrum of the nature-nurture conflict and an exclusive inclusion of experience as the sole source of both erudition and enlightenment, its proponents from the likes of Aristotle to Locke to Howe and others remain compromised as the contemporary developments rule out a tabula rasa as a viable philosophical let alone psychological model. For we are not merely blank slates, rather hardwired in almost every facet of our cognitive, linguistic and behavioural tendencies. Such a 'schema' of the mind's predispositions leads to theories regarding this so called hard-wiring, the endowment that granted such an inbred and instinctive mind in contrast to a blank and vacuous slate. Among such theories remain the likes of evolutionary psychology, proposing the protocol of natural selection as a means to expound this cognitive, behavioural and linguistic instinct. And alongside such a premise is the panoply of implications indicated by the blank slate, for if the blank slate were truly the paradigm by which the mind is centred upon, it becomes quite conspicuous the ability to craft and model a flawless psyche; the ability to merely scrape the slate and generate perfection. Moreover, the emergence of a highly troublesome and flawed mind becomes the guilt of the environment and guardianship that it was exposed to. It remains this psychological foundation that gives both leverage and basis to the hard-wired mind stance, one where the theory of a blank slate holds ramifications that are anything but conducive to it. But what about the capacity, the dexterity and the prowess for language; the notion of a blank slate comes under the guillotine in regards to this linguistic instinct, one where the reality of spoken language is not subject to rigorous training or indoctrination and is instead reliant on the interplay between the hard-wired mind and the flux of the environment. The blank slate further indicates a series of rather non sequitur anxieties, dismay and distress as to the prospect of nihilism and the inequities of society. And so in turn, it becomes rather obvious the sheer irrelevancies the blank slate presents the modern intellect, a continuum of undesirable ramifications and unsound postulations with respect to the human mind that debunks it! 

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