Testing cognitive gadgets

Mind and Language 34 (4):551-559 (2019)
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Cognitive Gadgets is a book about the cultural evolution of distinctively human cognitive mechanisms. Responding to commentators with different and broader interests, I argue that intelligent design has been more important in the formation of grist (technologies, practices and ideas) than of mills (cognitive mechanisms), and that embracing genetic accommodation would leave research on the origins of human cognition empirically unconstrained. I also underline the need to assess empirical methods; query the value of theories that merely accommodate existing data; and ask whether acquiring literacy is more laborious than learning to imitate, to talk and to read minds.



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