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What's Within? Nativism Reconsidered

by Fiona Cowie

  • ISBN: 9780195123845
  • ISBN10: 0195123840

What's Within? Nativism Reconsidered

by Fiona Cowie

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr on Demand
  • Publish date: 12/01/1998
  • ISBN: 9780195123845
  • ISBN10: 0195123840
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Description: 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. Marshaling recent empirical evidence from developmental psychology, psycholinguistics, computer science, and linguistics, she provides a crisp and timely critique of Chomsky's nativism and defends in its place a moderately nativist approach to language acquisition. She also takes on the view articulated by philosopher Jerry Fodor and other influential nativists that learning, particularly concept acquisition, is a mysterious 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.
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