Biology and Philosophy 21 (2):155-188 (2006)
|Abstract||The concept of innateness is a part of folk wisdom but is also used by biologists and cognitive scientists. This concept has a legitimate role to play in science only if the colloquial usage relates to a coherent body of evidence. We examine many diﬀerent candidates for the post of scientiﬁc successor of the folk concept of innateness. We argue that none of these candidates is entirely satisfactory. Some of the candidates are more interesting and useful than others, but the interesting candidates are not equivalent to each other and the empirical and evidential relations between them are far from clear. Researchers have treated the various scientiﬁc notions that capture some aspect of the folk concept of innateness as equivalent to each other or at least as tracking properties that are strongly correlated with each other. But whether these correlations exist is an empirical issue. This empirical issue has not been thoroughly investigated because in the attempt to create a bridge between the folk view and their theories, researchers have often assumed that the properties must somehow cluster. Rather than making further attempts to import the folk concept of innateness into the sciences, eﬀorts should now be made to focus on the empirical questions raised by the debates and pave the way to a better way of studying the development of living organisms. Such empirical questions must be answered before it can be decided whether a good scientiﬁc successor – in the form of a concept that refers to a collection of biologically signiﬁcant properties that tend to co-occur – can be identiﬁed or whether the concept of innateness deserves no place in science.|
|Keywords||Adaptation Biology Evolution Gene Innateness Natural Selection Science|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Steven Gross & Georges Rey (forthcoming). Innateness. In Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels & Stephen Stich (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press.
Jonathan M. Weinberg & Ron Mallon (2008). Living with Innateness (and Environmental Dependence Too). Philosophical Psychology 21 (3):415 – 424.
Jonathan Birch (2009). Irretrievably Confused? Innateness in Explanatory Context. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 40 (4):296-301.
Muhammad Ali Khalidi (2009). Should We Eliminate the Innate? Reply to Griffiths and Machery. Philosophical Psychology 22 (4):505 – 519.
Nicholas Shea (2012). Genetic Representation Explains the Cluster of Innateness-Related Properties. Mind and Language 27 (4):466-493.
David Wendler (1996). Innateness as an Explanatory Concept. Biology and Philosophy 11 (1):89-116.
Paul Griffiths, Edouard Machery & Stefan Linquist (2009). The Vernacular Concept of Innateness. Mind and Language 24 (5):605-630.
Paul Griffiths (2002). What is Innateness? The Monist 85 (1):70-85.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads83 ( #11,181 of 722,700 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #20,264 of 722,700 )
How can I increase my downloads?