1. What does "That’s nature for you." mean? Does it mean "That is the nature of your behavior" or "nature behaves the same as you behave"?

  2. And, is this quote a part of evolutionary psychologists report or a part of cultural relativists reply?


But there is immediately a problem to my suggestion if you look at my list of heroes. They are all men. ‘Of course they are!’ the evolutionary psychologists would retort. ‘That’s nature for you.’ ‘Of course they are!’ reply the cultural relativists. ‘That’s how you choose to interpret nature!’ Even Tomb Raider’s post-feminist Lara Croft encapsulates male values.

  • You are being offered two explanations for the same situation: the psychologists say it is caused by nature (men evolved to be heroes), the sociologists say society promotes men to be seen as heroes. – Hugh Aug 9 '15 at 14:51
  • "That's nature for you" is spoken by the evolutionist. The relativists could have replied "No, that's nature for you". – TRomano Aug 11 '15 at 12:05

The pattern:

"That's __________ for you"

is conversational, and it means, "what we have just been speaking about" [the referent for "that"] "goes to show that ______________ can be expected to behave the way ___________ always behaves".

In other words, "That's just __________ being who|what _____________ is".

Bill came in late to the meeting, with a big coffee spill down the front of his shirt, his report under his armpit and a sloshing paper cup of coffee without a lid held precariously in that hand, a powdered donut in the other, with some cream from the donut smeared on his cheek.
--That's Bill for you.

Your second question is unclear.


'That's nature for you'

This is equivalent to 'That is how nature is.' Similarly, 'Creative and intelligent. That's Devika for you.' This is equivalent to 'Devika is creative and intelligent.'

As far as the second question is concerned, here is my take.

‘Of course they are!’ the evolutionary psychologists would retort.

‘That’s nature for you.’

‘Of course they are!’ reply the cultural relativists. ‘That’s how you choose to interpret nature!’

There are three parties here. The first one (who has the list of heroes) is being talked to. The other two parties are agreeing on one point and each party is voicing their thoughts.

As the last two quotes are attributed to the activists, where the 'Of course they are!' is a reply, i presume that the previous line, ‘That’s nature for you.’ has been said by the psychologists.

Moreover, the psychologists retorted the first sentence and then said the next just like the activists replied with their first sentence and carried the conversation forward with the next.

  • Thank you for your help. It was very clarifying and useful :) – user131336 Aug 9 '15 at 14:23
  • My pleasure! :) – Churamani Aug 9 '15 at 14:48

This covers a fairly massive subject and this site is probably not the place to discuss it (What is a hero? Are women not capable of being brave too??? don't get me started...)

But in terms of language, 'Nature' is referring to the animal qualities seen in the biological world.

"My cat kills lots of mice although he doesn't eat them and we give him/her plenty of food" - "That's nature for you". ie cats are innately programmed to hunt regardless of whether they need to feed.

So your quote is implying that it's in men's biological nature to fight, overcome hardship, go on quests, sacrifice themselves if need be, etc.

Whether you agree with that is a whole other thorny subject..... It might also depend on whether you're discussing the classical hero of myth, involving quests, trials and doomed love, or more realistic heroes eg people who are brave in traumatic situations.

I'm afraid I'm not sure what your second question means either, can you be more specific?

  • I am sure the author shares your view. She (Art and Science By Sîan Ede) is saying that the list is problematic because it contains only men. – Hugh Aug 9 '15 at 14:58

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