Nature and nurture in cognition

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (2):251-272 (2002)
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Abstract

This paper advocates a dispositional account of innate cognitive capacities, which has an illustrious history from Plato to Chomsky. The "triggering model" of innateness, first made explicit by Stich ([1975]), explicates the notion in terms of the relative informational content of the stimulus (input) and the competence (output). The advantage of this model of innateness is that it does not make a problematic reference to normal conditions and avoids relativizing innate traits to specific populations, as biological models of innateness are forced to do. Relativization can be avoided in the case of cognitive capacities precisely because informational content is involved. Even though one cannot measure output relative to input in a precise way, there are indirect and approximate ways of assessing the degree of innateness of a specific cognitive capacity.

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Muhammad Ali Khalidi
CUNY Graduate Center

Citations of this work

Innateness and the sciences.Matteo Mameli & Patrick Bateson - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (2):155-188.
Innateness in cognitive science.Richard Samuels - 2004 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (3):136-141.
Innate cognitive capacities.Muhammad ali KhAlidi - 2007 - Mind and Language 22 (1):92-115.

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References found in this work

The Ways of Paradox, and Other Essays.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1966 - New York, NY, USA: Harvard University Press.
The Ways of Paradox.W. V. O. Quine - 1966 - New York: Random.
The analysis of variance and the analysis of causes.Richard C. Lewontin - 1974 - American Journal of Human Genetics 26 (3):400-11.
The Ways of Paradox and Other Essays.Yehoshua Bar-Hillel - 1967 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 28 (4):596-600.

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