His nature, her nurture-or what good are conceptual critiques for tackling practical concerns about the development of gendered individuals?

This [draft] article identifies five conceptually distinct nature-nurture sciences, which address: variation among varieties and locations in an observable trait; variation in trait in relation to measurable factors; differences between group averages; changeability of individual development; and adaptiveness of trait. I articulate the gaps between them and tease out the difficulties in bridging between them.

Key considerations, which have relevance beyond discussions of gender, are the heterogeneity of factors underneath patterns in observed data and the relevance of such patterns to questions of modifiability and of changeability of development. My conceptual critique does not directly address practical concerns about the development of gendered individuals but makes its indirect contribution by countering a persistent essentialism about gender and clearing space for focusing on the complexity of the dynamics of development of gendered individuals.

(See also video described in an earlier post.)


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