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  1. Hardwiring: Innateness in the Age of the Brain.Giordana Grossi - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1047-1082.
    “Hardwired” is a term commonly used to describe the properties of certain behaviors or brain regions. As its usage has increased exponentially in the past 50 years, both in popular media and the scholarly literature, the concept appears to have gained a cloak of respectability in scientific discourse. However, its specific meaning is difficult to pinpoint. In this paper, I examine how “hardwired” has been used in the psychological and neuroscientific literature. The analysis reveals two major themes: one centers on (...)
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  • The Distinction Between Innate and Acquired Characteristics.Paul Griffiths - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The idea that some characteristics of an organism are explained by the organism's intrinsic nature, whilst others reflect the influence of the environment is an ancient one. It has even been argued that this distinction is itself part of the evolved psychology of the human species. The distinction played an important role in the history of philosophy as the locus of the dispute between Rationalism and Empiricism discussed in another entry in this encyclopedia. This entry, however, focuses on twentieth-century accounts (...)
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  • Relativizing Innateness: Innateness as the Insensitivity of the Appearance of a Trait with Respect to Specified Environmental Variation.Elizabeth O’Neill - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (2):211-225.
    I object to eliminativism about innateness and André Ariew’s identification of innateness with canalization, and I propose a new treatment of innateness. I first argue that the concept of innateness is serving a valuable function in a diverse set of research contexts, and in these contexts, claims about innateness are best understood as claims about the insensitivity of the appearance of a trait to certain variations in the environment. I then argue that innateness claims, like claims about canalization, should be (...)
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  • Sources of Racialism.Ron Mallon - 2010 - Journal of Social Philosophy 41 (3):272-292.
  • Beyond the Search for the Subject: An Anti-Essentialist Ontology for Liberal Democracy.Samuel Bagg - 2021 - European Journal of Political Theory 20 (2):208-231.
    Reading Foucault’s work on power and subjectivity alongside “developmentalist” approaches to evolutionary biology, this article endorses poststructuralist critiques of political ideals grounded in the value of subjective agency. Many political theorists embrace such critiques, of course, but those who do are often skeptical of liberal democracy, and even of normative theory itself. By contrast, those who are left to theorize liberal democracy tend to reject or ignore poststructuralist insights, and have continued to employ dubious ontological assumptions regarding human agents. Against (...)
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  • What’s Wrong with the Minimal Conception of Innateness in Cognitive Science?J. Brendan Ritchie - 2020 - Synthese 199 (Suppl 1):159-176.
    One of the classic debates in cognitive science is between nativism and empiricism about the development of psychological capacities. In principle, the debate is empirical. However, in practice nativist hypotheses have also been challenged for relying on an ill-defined, or even unscientific, notion of innateness as that which is “not learned”. Here this minimal conception of innateness is defended on four fronts. First, it is argued that the minimal conception is crucial to understanding the nativism-empiricism debate, when properly construed; Second, (...)
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  • Innateness as a Natural Cognitive Kind.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (3):319-333.
    Innate cognitive capacities are widely posited in cognitive science, yet both philosophers and scientists have criticized the concept of innateness as being hopelessly confused. Despite a number of recent attempts to define or characterize innateness, critics have charged that it is associated with a diverse set of properties and encourages unwarranted inferences among properties that are frequently unrelated. This criticism can be countered by showing that the properties associated with innateness cluster together in reliable ways, at least in the context (...)
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