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WOLF CHILDREN AND THE PROBLEM OF HUMAN NATURE There exists today a being which unlike everything else in the world does not appear at birth as a prefabricated system but which has still to be constructed and has everything to learn The natural in man is due to inborn heredity the cultural to his acquired heritage Even in the purely organic sphere it is difficult to draw the line between what is natural and what is cultural The size and weight of a child for instance depend upon heredity factors as well as favourable living conditions which in turn depend upon the way of life and on the level of civilisation If food light and warmth - not to mention affection - are missing then the proper pattern of growth will be seriously disturbed In the domain of psychology it becomes frankly impossible to make any distinction between nature and culture Nevertheless it is clear that the conditions for the existence and development of biological life are physical and external whereas the forces which shape mans psychological life are social ones Once the notion of the hereditary determination of mental characteristics either by the individual or by the species was exposed to rigorous and objective examination it lost any suggestion of truth and joined other pre-concepts in the museum of legend and myth Current evidence points towards our own conclusion that the search for human nature among wild children has always proved fruitless precisely because human nature can appear only when human existence has entered the social context Extract from Malson 1972 10 - 12 Wolf Children a What does Malson mean when he says that human beings do not appear at birth as a prefabricated system but still have to be constructed 5 marks Malson refers to human beings at birth as not appearing to be prefabricated This suggests that Malson believes
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