The grain of domains: The evolutionary-psychological case against domain-general cognition

Mind and Language 19 (2):147-76 (2004)
  Prominent evolutionary psychologists have argued that our innate psychological endowment consists of numerous domainspecific cognitive resources, rather than a few domaingeneral ones. In the light of some conceptual clarification, we examine the central inprinciple arguments that evolutionary psychologists mount against domaingeneral cognition. We conclude (a) that the fundamental logic of Darwinism, as advanced within evolutionary psychology, does not entail that the innate mind consists exclusively, or even massively, of domainspecific features, and (b) that a mixed innate cognitive economy of domainspecific and domaingeneral resources remains a genuine conceptual possibility. However, an examination of evolutionary psychology's 'grain problem' reveals that there is no way of establishing a principled and robust distinction between domainspecific and domaingeneral features. Nevertheless, we show that evolutionary psychologists can and do live with this grain problem without their whole enterprise being undermined
Keywords Cognition  Domain  Evolution  Psychology  Science
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0017.2004.00252.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,411
External links
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

View all 47 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Richard Samuels (1998). Evolutionary Psychology and the Massive Modularity Hypothesis. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (4):575-602.
Matthew Ratcliffe (2005). An Epistemological Problem for Evolutionary Psychology. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (1):47-63.
Derek Browne (1996). Cognitive Versatility. Minds and Machines 6 (4):507-23.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

60 ( #81,283 of 1,924,749 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #308,315 of 1,924,749 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.