Encountering Naturalism, Tom Clark, p 2-3:
By understanding the causal factors that shape us and our lives -- factors such as genetic endowment, upbringing and social environments -- naturalism draws attention to what works in getting what we want. This increases individual self-efficacy and supports effective social policies in areas such as criminal and social justice, behavioral health and the environment. Further, since we understand we aren't the ultimate originators of ourselves or our behavior, we can't take ultimate credit or blame for who we are and what we do. This reduces unwarranted feelings of moral superiority, pride, shame and guilt, while encouraging self-acceptance. And since we see others as fully caused, for instance substance abusers, criminal offenders, the destitute and homeless, we might become less blaming, less punitive, and more empathetic and understanding. People don't create themselves, so responsibility for their character and behavior isn't ultimately theirs, but is distributed over the many factors that shaped them. Were we given their environmental and genetic lot in life, we would have become who they are and acted as they did: there but for circumstances go I. This challenges head-on the radical individualism of Western culture that imagines we are literally self-made. It also grounds a naturalistic ethics of compassion that guides personal behavior and motivates progressive social policy. This is an unapologetically humanistic naturalism.