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The Vernacular Concept of Innateness

Griffiths, Paul Edmund and Machery, Edouard and Linquist, Stefan (2007) The Vernacular Concept of Innateness. [Preprint]

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The proposal that the concept of innateness expresses a ‘folk biological’ theory of the ‘inner natures’ of organisms was tested by examining the response of biologically naive subjects to a series of realistic scenarios concerning the development of birdsong. Our results explain the intuitive appeal of many of the existing philosophical analyses of the innateness concept. They simultaneously explain why all such analyses are subject to compelling counterexamples. We conclude that philosophers need to think more clearly about what they are trying to achieve when ‘analysing’ the concept of innateness.

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Item Type: Preprint
Griffiths, Paul Edmund
Machery, Edouard
Linquist, Stefan
Keywords: innate innateness nativism developmental canalization folk biology naive biology essentialism experimental philosophy
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Psychology/Psychiatry
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Psychology
Depositing User: Professor Paul Edmund Griffiths
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2007
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:15
Item ID: 3384

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