Genetic Representation Explains the Cluster of Innateness-Related Properties

Mind and Language 27 (4):466-493 (2012)
Abstract
The concept of innateness is used to make inferences between various better-understood properties, like developmental canalization, evolutionary adaptation, heritability, species-typicality, and so on (‘innateness-related properties’). This article uses a recently-developed account of the representational content carried by inheritance systems like the genome to explain why innateness-related properties cluster together, especially in non-human organisms. Although inferences between innateness-related properties are deductively invalid, and lead to false conclusions in many actual cases, where some aspect of a phenotypic trait develops in reliance on a genetic representation it will tend, better than chance, to have many of the innateness-related properties. The account also shows why inferences between innateness-related properties sometimes fail and argues that such inferences are especially misleading when applied to human psychology and behaviour because human psychological development is especially reliant on non-genetic inherited representations
Keywords innateness  genetic information  genetic representation  inherited information  evolution  development  developmental systems theory  Lorenz  Lehrman  psychobiology
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Nicholas Shea (2012). Inherited Representations Are Read in Development. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):1-31.
Nicholas Shea (2012). New Thinking, Innateness and Inherited Representation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 367:2234-2244.
Jonathan Birch (2009). Irretrievably Confused? Innateness in Explanatory Context. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 40 (4):296-301.
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