Evolutionary and developmental foundations of human knowledge
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Michael S. Gazzaniga (ed.), The Cognitive Neurosciences Iii. MIT Press (2004)
What are the brain and cognitive systems that allow humans to play baseball, compute square roots, cook soufflés, or navigate the Tokyo subways? It may seem that studies of human infants and of non-human animals will tell us little about these abilities, because only educated, enculturated human adults engage in organized games, formal mathematics, gourmet cooking, or map-reading. In this chapter, we argue against this seemingly sensible conclusion. When human adults exhibit complex, uniquely human, culture-specific skills, they draw on a set of psychological and neural mechanisms with two distinctive properties: they evolved before humanity and thus are shared with other animals, and they emerge early in human development and thus are common to infants, children, and adults. These core knowledge systems form the building blocks for uniquely human skills. Without them we wouldn’t be able to learn about different kinds of games, mathematics, cooking, or maps. To understand what is special about human intelligence, therefore, we must study both the core knowledge systems on which it rests and the mechanisms by which these systems are orchestrated to permit new kinds of concepts and cognitive processes. What is core knowledge? A wealth of research on non-human primates and on human infants suggests that a system of core knowledge is characterized by four properties (Hauser, 2000; Spelke, 2000). First, it is domain-specific: each system functions to represent particular kinds of entities such as conspecific agents, manipulable objects, places in the environmental layout, and numerosities. Second, it is task-specific: each system uses its representations to address specific questions about the world, such as “who is this?” [face recognition], “what does this do?” [categorization of artifacts], “where am I?” [spatial orientation], and “how many are here?” [enumeration]. Third, it is relatively encapsulated: each uses only a subset of the information delivered by an animal’s input systems and sends information only to a subset of the animal’s output systems
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Mathieu Le Corre & Susan Carey (2007). One, Two, Three, Four, Nothing More: An Investigation of the Conceptual Sources of the Verbal Counting Principles. Cognition 105 (2):395-438.
Guy Dove (2009). Beyond Perceptual Symbols: A Call for Representational Pluralism. Cognition 110 (3):412-431.
Edouard Machery (2006). Concept Empiricism: A Methodological Critique. Cognition 104 (1):19-46.
Jessica F. Cantlon, Michael L. Platt & Elizabeth M. Brannon (2009). Beyond the Number Domain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 13 (2):83-91.
Matthew Katz (2008). Analog and Digital Representation. Minds and Machines 18 (3):403-408.
Similar books and articles
Kristin Andrews (2011). Beyond Anthropomorphism: Attributing Psychological Properties to Animals. In Tom L. Beauchamp R. G. Frey (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics. Oxford University Press 469--494.
Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt (2010). The Innateness Hypothesis and Mathematical Concepts. Topoi 29 (1):3-13.
M. Tomasello (1999). The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition. Harvard University Press.
Susan Carey & Elizabeth Spelke (1996). Science and Core Knowledge. Philosophy of Science 63 (4):515 - 533.
Elizabeth Spelke, Sang Ah Lee & Véronique Izard (2010). Beyond Core Knowledge: Natural Geometry. Cognitive Science 34 (5):863-884.
Stanislas Dehaene, Elizabeth Spelke & Lisa Feigenson (2004). Core Systems of Number. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (7):307-314.
Elizabeth S. Spelke (2011). Natural Number and Natural Geometry. In Stanislas Dehaene & Elizabeth Brannon (eds.), Space, Time and Number in the Brain. Oxford University Press 287--317.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads96 ( #42,767 of 1,907,219 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #276,350 of 1,907,219 )
How can I increase my downloads?