How the mind grows: A developmental perspective on the biology of cognition

Synthese 122 (1-2):29-51 (2000)
Abstract
  The `developmental systems'' perspective in biology is intended to replace the idea of a genetic program. This new perspective is strongly convergent with recent work in psychology on situated/embodied cognition and on the role of external `scaffolding'' in cognitive development. Cognitive processes, including those which can be explained in evolutionary terms, are not `inherited'' or produced in accordance with an inherited program. Instead, they are constructed in each generation through the interaction of a range of developmental resources. The attractors which emerge during development and explain robust and/or widespread outcomes are themselves constructed during the process. At no stage is there an explanatory stopping point where some resources control or program the rest of the developmental cascade. `Human nature'' is a description of how things generally turn out, not an explanation of why they turn out that way. Finally, we suggest that what is distinctive about human development is its degree of reliance on external scaffolding
Keywords Biology  Cognition  Development  Metaphysics  Mind
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Karola Stotz (2010). Human Nature and Cognitive–Developmental Niche Construction. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):483-501.

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