David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 2 (2):187-217 (1993)
Fodor has argued that, because concept acquisition relies on the use of concepts already possessed by the learner, all concepts that cannot be definitionally reduced are innate. Since very few reductive definitions are available, it appears that most concepts are innate. After noting the reasons why we find such radical concept nativism implausible, I explicate Fodor's argument, showing that anyone who is committed to mentalistic explanation should take it seriously. Three attempts at avoiding the conclusion are examined and found to be unsuccessful. I then present an alternative way around Fodor's nativism; I maintain that concepts at a given level of explanation can be semantically primitive, yet at least partially acquired if some of the conditions at a lower level of explanation that are responsible for the concept's presence are themselves acquired.
|Keywords||Cognition Innateness Language Semantics|
|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
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Christopher D. Viger (2005). Learning to Think: A Response to the Language of Thought Argument for Innateness. Mind and Language 20 (3):313-25.
Jerry A. Fodor (1981). The Present Status of the Innateness Controversy. In Jerry Fodor (ed.), Representations. MIT Press.
M. J. Cain (2004). The Return of the Nativist. Philosophical Explorations 7 (1):1-20.
Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (2011). Learning Matters: The Role of Learning in Concept Acquisition. Mind and Language 26 (5):507-539.
Steven Gross & Georges Rey (forthcoming). Innateness. In Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels & Stephen Stich (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press.
John Sarnecki (2006). Retracing Our Steps: Fodor's New Old Way with Concept Acquisition. [REVIEW] Acta Analytica 21 (40):41-73.
Stephen Laurence & Eric Margolis (2003). Radical Concept Nativism. Cognition 86 (1):25-55.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads72 ( #19,529 of 1,101,679 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #59,534 of 1,101,679 )
How can I increase my downloads?