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  1. Adaptationism for Human Cognition: Strong, Spurious, or Weak?Scott Atran - 2005 - Mind and Language 20 (1):39-67.
    Strong adaptationists explore complex organic design as taskspecific adaptations to ancestral environments. This strategy seems best when there is evidence of homology. Weak adaptationists don't assume that complex organic (including cognitive and linguistic) functioning necessarily or primarily represents taskspecific adaptation. This approach to cognition resembles physicists' attempts to deductively explain the most facts with fewest hypotheses. For certain domainspecific competencies (folkbiology) strong adaptationism is useful but not necessary to research. With grouplevel belief systems (religion) strong adaptationism degenerates into spurious notions (...)
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  • Why Essences Are Essential in the Psychology of Concepts.Woo-Kyoung Ahn, Charles Kalish, Susan A. Gelman, Douglas L. Medin, Christian Luhmann, Scott Atran, John D. Coley & Patrick Shafto - 2001 - Cognition 82 (1):59-69.
  • Meaning, Prototypes and the Future of Cognitive Science.Jaap van Brakel - 1991 - Minds and Machines 1 (3):233-57.
    In this paper I evaluate the soundness of the prototype paradigm, in particular its basic assumption that there are pan-human psychological essences or core meanings that refer to basic-level natural kinds, explaining why, on the whole, human communication and learning are successful. Instead I argue that there are no particular pan-human basic elements for thought, meaning and cognition, neither prototypes, nor otherwise. To illuminate my view I draw on examples from anthropology. More generally I argue that the prototype paradigm exemplifies (...)
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  • The Native Mind: Biological Categorization and Reasoning in Development and Across Cultures.Douglas L. Medin & Scott Atran - 2004 - Psychological Review 111 (4):960-983.
    . This paper describes a cross-cultural and developmental research project on naïve or folk biology, that is, the study of how people conceptualize nature. The combination of domain specificity and cross-cultural comparison brings a new perspective to theories of categorization and reasoning and undermines the tendency to focus on “standard populations.” From the standpoint of mainstream cognitive psychology, we find that results gathered from standard populations in industrialized societies often fail to generalize to humanity at large. For example, similarity-driven typicality (...)
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  • Basic Conceptual Domains.Scott Atran - 1989 - Mind and Language 4 (1-2):7-16.
  • Meaning, Prototypes and the Future of Cognitive Science.J. Brakel - 1991 - Minds and Machines 1 (3):233-257.
    In this paper I evaluate the soundness of the prototype paradigm, in particular its basic assumption that there are pan-human psychological essences or core meanings that refer to basic-level natural kinds, explaining why, on the whole, human communication and learning are successful. Instead I argue that there are no particular pan-human basic elements for thought, meaning and cognition, neither prototypes, nor otherwise. To illuminate my view I draw on examples from anthropology. More generally I argue that the prototype paradigm exemplifies (...)
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