Thinking about biology. Modular constraints on categorization and reasoning in the everyday life of Americans, Maya, and scientists
Mind and Society 3 (2):31-63 (2002)
|Abstract||This essay explores the universal cognitive bases of biological taxonomy and taxonomic inference using cross-cultural experimental work with urbanized Americans and forest-dwelling Maya Indians. A universal, essentialist appreciation of generic species appears as the causal foundation for the taxonomic arrangement of biodiversity, and for inference about the distribution of causally-related properties that underlie biodiversity. Universal folkbiological taxonomy is domain-specific: its structure does not spontaneously or invariably arise in other cognitive domains, like substances, artifacts or persons. It is plausibly an innately-determined evolutionary adaptation to relevant and recurrent aspects of ancestral hominid environments, such as the need to recognize, locate, react to, and profit from many ambient species. Folkbiological concepts are special players in cultural evolution, whose native stability attaches to more variable and difficult-to-learn representational forms, thus enhancing the latter's prospects for regularity and recurrence in transmission within and across cultures. This includes knowledge that cumulatively enriches (folk expertise), overrides (religious belief) or otherwise transcends (science) the commonsense ontology prescribed by folkbiology. Finally, the studies summarized here indicate that results gathered from standard populations in regard to biological categorization and reasoning more often than not fail to generalize in straightforward ways to humanity at large. This suggests the need for much more serious attention to cross-cultural research on basic cognitive processes|
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||No categories specified (fix it)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Philip Gerrans (2002). The Theory of Mind Module in Evolutionary Psychology. Biology and Philosophy 17 (3):305-21.
Jonathan Eric Adler & Lance J. Rips (eds.) (2008). Reasoning: Studies of Human Inference and its Foundations. Cambridge University Press.
Brian Huss (2004). Cultural Differences and the Law of Noncontradiction: Some Criteria for Further Research. Philosophical Psychology 17 (3):375 – 389.
Claudia Lorena García (2007). Cognitive Modularity, Biological Modularity and Evolvability. Biological Theory: Integrating Development, Evolution and Cognition (KLI) 2 (1):62-73.
Christian D. Schunn & Alonso H. Vera (2004). Cross-Cultural Similarities in Category Structure. Thinking and Reasoning 10 (3):273 – 287.
Don Dedrick (1998). Introduction. In [Book Chapter].
Emma Cohen, Emily Burdett, Nicola Knight & Justin Barrett (2011). Cross-Cultural Similarities and Differences in Person-Body Reasoning: Experimental Evidence From the United Kingdom and Brazilian Amazon. Cognitive Science 35 (7):1282-1304.
Giyoo Hatano (1998). Informal Biology is a Core Domain, but its Construction Needs Experience. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (4):575-575.
Robert E. MacLaury (1998). Domain-Specificity in Folk Biology and Color Categorization: Modularity Versus Global Process. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (4):582-583.
Scott Atran (1998). Taxonomic Ranks, Generic Species, and Core Memes. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (4):593-604.
Added to index2010-08-10
Total downloads3 ( #201,730 of 548,984 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?