Innateness and domain-specificity

Philosophical Studies 105 (2):191-210 (2001)
Abstract
There is a widespread assumption in cognitive science that there is anintrinsic link between the phenomena of innateness and domainspecificity. Many authors seem to hold that given the properties ofthese two phenomena, it follows that innate mental states aredomain-specific, or that domain-specific states are innate. My aim inthis paper is to argue that there are no convincing grounds forasserting either claim. After introducing the notions of innateness anddomain specificity, I consider some possible arguments for theconclusion that innate cognitive states are domain-specific, or viceversa. Having shown that these arguments do not succeed, I attempt toexplicate what I take to be the connection between innateness and domainspecificity. I argue that it is simply easier to determine whether andto what extent domain-specific cognitive capacities are innate. That is,the relation between innateness and domain specificity is evidential orepistemic, rather than intrinsic.
Keywords Cognitive Science  Domain  Innateness  Metaphysics  Mind
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