What's Within?: Nativism Reconsidered / Edition 1

What's Within?: Nativism Reconsidered / Edition 1

by Fiona Cowie
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195159780

ISBN-13: 9780195159783

Pub. Date: 01/28/2003

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

This powerfully iconoclastic book reconsiders the influential nativist position toward the mind. Nativists assert that some concepts, beliefs, or capacities are innate or inborn: "native" to the mind rather than acquired. Fiona Cowie argues that this view is mistaken, demonstrating that nativism is an unstable amalgam of two quite different—and

Overview

This powerfully iconoclastic book reconsiders the influential nativist position toward the mind. Nativists assert that some concepts, beliefs, or capacities are innate or inborn: "native" to the mind rather than acquired. Fiona Cowie argues that this view is mistaken, demonstrating that nativism is an unstable amalgam of two quite different—and probably inconsistent—theses about the mind.

Unlike empiricists, who postulate domain-neutral learning strategies, nativists insist that some learning tasks require special kinds of skills, and that these skills are hard-wired into our brains at birth. This "faculties hypothesis" finds its modern expression in the views of Noam Chomsky. Cowie, marshaling recent empirical evidence from developmental psychology, psycholinguistics, computer science, and linguistics, provides a crisp and timely critique of Chomsky's nativism and defends in its place a moderately nativist approach to language acquisition.

Also in contrast to empiricists, who view the mind as simply another natural phenomenon susceptible of scientific explanation, nativists suspect that the mental is inelectably mysterious. Cowie addresses this second strand in nativist thought, taking on the view articulated by Jerry Fodor and other nativists that learning, particularly concept acquisition, is a fundamentally inexplicable process. Cowie challenges this explanatory pessimism, and argues convincingly that concept acquisition is psychologically explicable. What's Within? is a clear and provocative achievement in the study of the human mind.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195159783
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
01/28/2003
Series:
Philosophy of Mind Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Part I: The Historical Debate 3(66)
1. What Nativism Is Not
3(24)
1.1 What Is Nativism? Preliminary Spleen
3(3)
1.2 The Oblique Approach
6(1)
1.3 Two Problems
7(1)
1.4 Nativism and Epistemology: Foundations for Rationalism
8(8)
1.5 Nativism and Psychology: The Genetic Question
16(9)
1.6 What Nativism Is Not: More Spleen
25(2)
2. What Nativism Is: I. The Hypothesis of Special Faculties
27(22)
2.1 Empiricism and Nativism: An Overview of the Dispute
28(3)
2.2 The Argument from the Poverty of the Stimulus
31(7)
2.3 A Trilemma
38(1)
2.4 The Nativist Response to the Gap: Domain-Specific Faculties
39(4)
2.5 Architecture versus Development: The Genetic Question Revisited
43(4)
2.6 Reprise: The Case for Special-Purpose Faculties
47(2)
3. What Nativism Is: II. The Mystery Hypothesis
49(20)
3.1 The Impossibility Argument of Leibniz
50(2)
3.2 The Impossibility Argument of Descartes
52(4)
3.3 "Everything Is Innate" Is Not an Acquistion Theory
56(4)
3.4 Non-naturalism
60(4)
3.5 Nativism as Non-naturalism
64(3)
3.6 What Nativism Is
67(2)
Part II: Concept Acquisition: Problem or Mystery? 69(82)
4. The Case Against Empiricism
69(22)
4.1 Fodor's Argument
72(4)
4.2 Alternative Accounts of Conceptual Structure
76(4)
4.3 Radical Concept Nativism
80(3)
4.4 Protoconcepts
83(3)
4.5 'Brute-Causal' Mechanisms
86(3)
4.6 Concept Acquisition, Fodor-Style
89(2)
5. The Constitution Hypothesis
91(21)
5.1 The Doorknob/DOORKNOB Problem
92(1)
5.2 The Constitution Hypotheses
93(6)
5.3 Ontology, Acquisition, and Innateness
99(3)
5.4 The 'Standard Argument' and the Dialectical Role of the Constitution Hypothesis
102(3)
5.5 Is Fodor a Nativist?
105(5)
5.6 How Low Can You Go?
110(2)
6. Prospects for a Psychology of Concept Acquisition
112(39)
6.1 The Sterelny-Loar Objections
114(7)
6.2 Ostension
121(5)
6.3 Nonostensive Acquisition
126(5)
6.4 Concept Acquisition Is Psychologically Mediated
131(8)
6.5 Objections
139(12)
Part III: The Fate of the Faculties Hypothesis 151(158)
7. Language-Learning: From Behaviorism to Nativism
151(25)
7.1 Chomskyan Nativism: The Core Claims
151(8)
7.2 Chomsky's Review of Skinner: The Case for Representationalism
159(4)
7.3 Generative Grammar: A New Approach to the Psychology of Language
163(9)
7.4 The Poverty of the Stimulus: From Hypothesis-Testing to Nativism
172(2)
7.5 Linguistics as Psychology: From Weak Nativism to Chomskyan Nativism
174(2)
8. The Poverty of the Stimulus
176(28)
8.1 The A Posteriori Argument from the Poverty of the Stimulus
178(1)
8.2 The Case for Domain Specificity: The APS versus Putnamian Empiricism
179(3)
8.3 The Case for Weak Nativism: The APS versus Enlightened Empiricism
182(2)
8.4 Children's Errors and the Primary Data
184(4)
8.5 The Predictions of Empiricism
188(8)
8.6 Other versions of the APS
196(8)
9. The Logical Problem of Language Acquisition
204(34)
9.1 The Logical Problem
207(4)
9.2 Guaranteeing Learnability
211(2)
9.3 The Case for (DS)--and the Case Against (I)
213(4)
9.4 Some Morals for Language Learners
217(5)
9.5 Substitutes for Negative Data
222(12)
9.6 The Dialectical Role of the Logical Problem
234(4)
10. The Role of Universal Grammar in Language-Learning
238(38)
10.1 The Argument from the Poverty of the Stimulus Reiterated
239(1)
10.2 Chomsky's (U): True by Stipulation?
240(2)
10.3 What Is Linguistics About?
242(6)
10.4 Chomsky's (U): An Inference to the Best Explanation?
248(2)
10.5 Hypothesis-Testing and Parameter-Setting
250(7)
10.6 Some Problems with Parameters
257(7)
10.7 Hypothesis-Testing
264(6)
10.8 The 'Iterated' APS Defused
270(2)
10.9 Polemics and Concluding Truculence
272(4)
11. Will the Evidence for Linguistic Nativisim Please Stand Up?
276(33)
11.1 Linguistic Universals
276(6)
11.2 The Distinctiveness of Language
282(15)
11.3 Critical Period Effects on Language Acquisition
297(5)
11.4 Pidgins and Creolization
302(3)
11.5 Conclusory Moralizing
305(4)
Conclusion 309(4)
Bibliography 313(18)
Index 331

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