Biology and Philosophy 32 (4):559-580 (2017)

Authors
Abstract
In 1965, Konrad Lorenz grounded the innate–acquired distinction in what he believed were the only two possible sources of information that can underlie adaptedness: phylogenetic and individual experience. Phylogenetic experience accumulates in the genome by the process of natural selection. Individual experience is acquired ontogenetically through interacting with the environment during the organism’s lifetime. According to Lorenz, the adaptive information underlying innate traits is stored in the genome. Lorenz erred in arguing that genetic adaptation is the only means of accumulating information in phylogenetic experience. Cultural adaptation also occurs over a phylogenetic time scale, and cultural tradition is a third source from which adaptive information can be extracted. This paper argues that genetic adaptation can be distinguished from individual and cultural adaptation in a species like Homo sapiens, in which even adaptations with a genetic component require cultural inputs and scaffolding to develop and be expressed. Examination of the way in which innateness is used in science suggests that scientists use the term, as Lorenz suggested, to designate genetic adaptations. The search for innate traits plays an essential role in generating hypotheses in ethology and psychology. In addition, designating a trait as innate establishes important facts that apply at the information-processing level of description.
Keywords innateness  innate–acquired distinction  genetic information  adaptation  Konrad Lorenz
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s10539-017-9576-0
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

View all 45 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Inherited Representations Are Read in Development.Nicholas Shea - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):1-31.
The Instinct Concept of the Early Konrad Lorenz.Ingo Brigandt - 2005 - Journal of the History of Biology 38 (3):571–608..
Behavior, Biology, and Information Theory.Dennis M. Senchuk - 1990 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:141 - 150.
New Thinking, Innateness and Inherited Representation.Nicholas Shea - 2012 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 367:2234-2244.
Genetic Traits and Causal Explanation.Robert Northcott - 2012 - In Kathryn Plaisance & Thomas Reydon (eds.), Philosophy of Behavioral Biology. Springer. pp. 65-82.
The Resurrection of Innateness.James Maclaurin - 2002 - The Monist 85 (1):105-130.
Phenogenotypes Break Up Under Countervailing Evolutionary Pressures.Robert Aunger - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):147-147.
Adaptation as Process: The Future of Darwinism and the Legacy of Theodosius Dobzhansky.David J. Depew - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (1):89-98.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-06-15

Total views
702 ( #10,826 of 2,506,499 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
40 ( #22,194 of 2,506,499 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes