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  1. Theodore Bach (2014). A Unified Account of General Learning Mechanisms and Theory‐of‐Mind Development. Mind and Language 29 (3):351-381.
    Modularity theorists have challenged that there are, or could be, general learning mechanisms that explain theory-of-mind development. In response, supporters of the ‘scientific theory-theory’ account of theory-of-mind development have appealed to children's use of auxiliary hypotheses and probabilistic causal modeling. This article argues that these general learning mechanisms are not sufficient to meet the modularist's challenge. The article then explores an alternative domain-general learning mechanism by proposing that children grasp the concept belief through the progressive alignment of relational structure that (...)
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  2. Jacob Beck, Can Bootstrapping Explain Concept Learning?
    Susan Carey’s account of bootstrapping aims to explain how important new concepts are learned. After arguing that Carey’s own formulations of bootstrapping fail in this aim, I critically evaluate three reformulations of bootstrapping that may have a better chance at success.
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  3. Helen de Cruz & Johan de Smedt (2010). Paley's Ipod: The Cognitive Basis of the Design Argument Within Natural Theology. Zygon 45 (3):665-684.
    The argument from design stands as one of the most intuitively compelling arguments for the existence of a divine Creator. Yet, for many scientists and philosophers, Hume's critique and Darwin's theory of natural selection have definitely undermined the idea that we can draw any analogy from design in artifacts to design in nature. Here, we examine empirical studies from developmental and experimental psychology to investigate the cognitive basis of the design argument. From this it becomes clear that humans spontaneously discern (...)
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  4. Steven Gross & Georges Rey (forthcoming). Innateness. In Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels & Stephen Stich (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press.
    A survey of innateness in cognitive science, focusing on (1) what innateness might be, and (2) whether concepts might be innate.
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  5. Muhammad Ali Khalidi (2009). Should We Eliminate the Innate? Reply to Griffiths and Machery. Philosophical Psychology 22 (4):505 – 519.
    Griffiths and Machery (2008) have argued that innateness is a folk notion that obstructs inquiry and has no place in contemporary science. They support their view by criticizing the canalization account of innateness (Ariew, 1999, 2006). In response, I argue that the criticisms they raise for the canalization account can be avoided by another recent account of innateness, the triggering account, which provides an analysis of the concept as it applies to cognitive capacities (Khalidi, 2002, 2007; Stich, 1975). I also (...)
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  6. Muhammad Ali Khalidi (2007). Innate Cognitive Capacities. Mind and Language 22 (1):92-115.
    This paper attempts to articulate a dispositional account of innateness that applies to cognitive capacities. After criticizing an alternative account of innateness proposed by Cowie (1999) and Samuels (2002), the dispositional account of innateness is explicated and defended against a number of objections. The dispositional account states that an innate cognitive capacity (output) is one that has a tendency to be triggered as a result of impoverished environmental conditions (input). Hence, the challenge is to demonstrate how the input can be (...)
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  7. Stephen Laurence & Eric Margolis (2007). Linguistic Determinism and the Innate Basis of Number. In Peter Carruthers (ed.), The Innate Mind: Foundations and the Future.
    Strong nativist views about numerical concepts claim that human beings have at least some innate precise numerical representations. Weak nativist views claim only that humans, like other animals, possess an innate system for representing approximate numerical quantity. We present a new strong nativist model of the origins of numerical concepts and defend the strong nativist approach against recent cross-cultural studies that have been interpreted to show that precise numerical concepts are dependent on language and that they are restricted to speakers (...)
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  8. Rainer Mausfeld (2011). Intrinsic Multiperspectivity: Conceptual Forms and the Functional Architecture of the Perceptual System. In Welsch Wolfgang, Singer Wolf & Wunder Andre (eds.), Interdisciplinary Anthropology. Springer. 19--54.
    It is a characteristic feature of our mental make-up that the same perceptual input situation can simultaneously elicit conflicting mental perspectives. This ability pervades our perceptual and cognitive domains. Striking examples are the dual character of pictures in picture perception, pretend play, or the ability to employ metaphors and allegories. I argue that traditional approaches, beyond being inadequate on principle grounds, are theoretically ill equipped to deal with these achievements. I then outline a theoretical perspective that has emerged from a (...)
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  9. Robert D. Rupert (2001). Coining Terms In The Language of Thought. Journal of Philosophy 98 (10):499-530.
    Robert Cummins argues that any causal theory of mental content (CT) founders on an established fact of human psychology: that theory mediates sensory detection. He concludes,.
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  10. Dan Ryder, Concept Acquisition: How to Get Something From Nothing.
    First I should clarify my thesis. When I say the mind starts off as a blank slate, I’m saying that it’s devoid of substantive concepts or ideas, that is non-logical concepts or ideas. Some examples of substantive concepts are: the concept of a cat, the concept of a quark, the concept of being square, and the concept of heaviness.
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  11. Richard Samuels (2007). Is Innateness a Confused Notion? In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Foundations and the Future. Oxford University Press.
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  12. Bongrae Seok (2008). Mencius's Vertical Faculties and Moral Nativism. Asian Philosophy 18 (1):51 – 68.
    This paper compares and contrasts Mencius's moral philosophy with recent development in cognitive science regarding mental capacity to understand moral rules and principles. Several cognitive scientists argue that the human mind has innate cognitive and emotive foundations of morality. In this paper, Mencius's moral theory is interpreted from the perspective of faculty psychology and cognitive modularity, a theoretical hypothesis in cognitive science in which the mind is understood as a system of specialized mental components. Specifically, Mencius's Four Beginnings (the basic (...)
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  13. Nicholas Shea (forthcoming). Representational Development Need Not Be Explicable-by-Content. In Vincent C. Mueller (ed.), Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence. Springer: Sythese Library.
    Fodor’s radical concept nativism flowed from his view that hypothesis testing is the only route to concept acquisition. Many have successfully objected to the overly-narrow restriction to learning by hypothesis testing. Existing representations can be connected to a new representational vehicle so as to constitute a sustaining mechanism for a new representation, without the new representation thereby being constituted by or structured out of the old. This paper argues that there is also a deeper objection. Connectionism shows that a more (...)
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  14. Nicholas Shea (2012). Inherited Representations Are Read in Development. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):1-31.
    Recent theoretical work has identified a tightly-constrained sense in which genes carry representational content. Representational properties of the genome are founded in the transmission of DNA over phylogenetic time and its role in natural selection. However, genetic representation is not just relevant to questions of selection and evolution. This paper goes beyond existing treatments and argues for the heterodox view that information generated by a process of selection over phylogenetic time can be read in ontogenetic time, in the course of (...)
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  15. Nicholas Shea (2012). New Thinking, Innateness and Inherited Representation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 367:2234-2244.
    The New Thinking contained in this volume rejects an Evolutionary Psychology that is committed to innate domain-specific psychological mechanisms: gene-based adaptations that are unlearnt, developmentally fixed and culturally universal. But the New Thinking does not simply deny the importance of innate psychological traits. The problem runs deeper: the concept of innateness is not suited to distinguishing between the two positions. That points to a more serious problem with the concept of innateness as it is applied to human psychological phenotypes. This (...)
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  16. Nicholas Shea (2012). Genetic Representation Explains the Cluster of Innateness-Related Properties. Mind and Language 27 (4):466-493.
    The concept of innateness is used to make inferences between various better-understood properties, like developmental canalization, evolutionary adaptation, heritability, species-typicality, and so on (‘innateness-related properties’). This article uses a recently-developed account of the representational content carried by inheritance systems like the genome to explain why innateness-related properties cluster together, especially in non-human organisms. Although inferences between innateness-related properties are deductively invalid, and lead to false conclusions in many actual cases, where some aspect of a phenotypic trait develops in reliance on (...)
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  17. Nicholas Shea (2011). Acquiring a New Concept is Not Explicable-by-Content. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):148 - 149.
    BBS Commentary on: Susan Carey: The Origin of Concepts. Carey’s book describes many cases where children develop new concepts with expressive power that could not be constructed out of their input. How does she side-step Fodor’s paradox of radical concept nativism? I suggest it is by rejecting the tacit assumption that psychology can only explain concept acquisition when it occurs by rational inference or other transitions that are explicable-by-content.
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