Authors
Jonathan Birch
London School of Economics
Abstract
The hunt for a biologically respectable definition for the folk concept of innateness is still on. I defend Ariew’s Canalization account of innateness against the criticisms of Griffiths and Machery, but highlight the remaining flaws in this proposal. I develop a new analysis based on the notion of environmental induction. A trait is innate, I argue, iff it is not environmentally induced. I augment this definition with a novel analysis of environmental induction that draws on the contrastive nature of causal explanation. Whether a trait is environmentally induced, I argue, depends on a context sensitive contrast class. I argue that a “Noninduction” analysis of innateness allows the concept an explanatory role in biology. I show how my proposal co-opts the successes of the Canalization account whilst avoiding its pitfalls, and I account for why biologists associate a range of disparate properties with innateness.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2009.09.007
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References found in this work BETA

Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S342-S353.
Philosophical Papers Vol. II.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
What is a Mechanism? A Counterfactual Account.Jim Woodward - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S366-S377.

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Citations of this work BETA

Innate Mind Need Not Be Within.Riin Kõiv - 2020 - Acta Analytica:1-21.
The Conceptual Critique of Innateness.Stefan Linquist - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (5):e12492.
Conceived This Way: Innateness Defended.Northcott Robert - forthcoming - Philosophers Imprint.

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