David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 22 (4):529-546 (2007)
Evolutionary psychologists argue that selective pressures in our ancestral environment yield a highly specialized set of modular cognitive capacities. However, recent papers in developmental psychology and neuroscience claim that evolutionary accounts of modularity are incompatible with the flexibility and plasticity of the developing brain. Instead, they propose cortical and neuronal brain structures are fixed through interactions with our developmental environment. Buller and Gray Hardcastle contend that evolutionary accounts of cognitive development are unacceptably rigid in light of evidence of cortical plasticity. The developing structure of the brain is both too random and too sensitive to external stimuli to be the product of a fixed genetic mechanism. They also claim that the complexity of the human brain cannot be explained in terms of our meager genetic endowment. There simply are not enough genes to program the intricate neuronal structures that are essential to cognition. I argue that neither of these arguments are persuasive. Small numbers of genes can function to determine diverse phenotypical outcomes through evolutionarily selected developmental systems. Similarly, theories of modularity do not rule out the possibility that innate cognitive systems exploit environmental regularities to guide the developing structure of the brain. Consequently, the anti-adaptionist consequences of these positions should be rejected
|Keywords||Philosophy Evolutionary Biology Philosophy of Biology|
|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
Kathryn S. Plaisance, Thomas A. C. Reydon & Mehmet Elgin (2012). Why the (Gene) Counting Argument Fails in the Massive Modularity Debate: The Need for Understanding Gene Concepts and Genotype-Phenotype Relationships. Philosophical Psychology 25 (6):873-892.
Similar books and articles
Denise D. Cummins & Robert C. Cummins (1999). Biological Preparedness and Evolutionary Explanation. Cognition 73 (3):B37-B53.
Richard Samuels (1998). Evolutionary Psychology and the Massive Modularity Hypothesis. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (4):575-602.
David J. Buller & Valerie Gray Hardcastle (2000). Evolutionary Psychology, Meet Developmental Neurobiology: Against Promiscuous Modularity. [REVIEW] Brain and Mind 1 (3):307-25.
Philip Gerrans (2002). The Theory of Mind Module in Evolutionary Psychology. Biology and Philosophy 17 (3):305-21.
Claudia Lorena García (2007). Cognitive Modularity, Biological Modularity and Evolvability. Biological Theory: Integrating Development, Evolution and Cognition (KLI) 2 (1):62-73.
Yonata Levy (2002). Structural Abnormality May Not Equal Functional Oddity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (6):760-761.
Steven Quartz & Terrence Sejnowski (2000). Constraining Constructivism: Cortical and Sub-Cortical Constraints on Learning in Development. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (5):785-791.
Simon M. Reader (2006). Evo-Devo, Modularity, and Evolvability: Insights for Cultural Evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):361-362.
Gary F. Marcus (2002). What Can Developmental Disorders Tell Us About Modularity? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (6):762-763.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads46 ( #67,939 of 1,707,798 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #266,402 of 1,707,798 )
How can I increase my downloads?