What's Within?: Nativism Reconsidered (Hardcover)

Author: Cowie, Fiona

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Product 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.

Specifications

Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
Mfg Part# 9780195123845
SKU 30366600
Format Hardcover
ISBN10 0195123840
Release Date 4/10/2007
Physical
Dimensions (in Inches) 9.75H x 6.75L x 1.25T
Praise
"Although most of her criticisms, particularly of Chomsky, fall pretty wide of the mark, Cowie's writing is so unusually clear that novices could well acquire a good appreciation of many of the major issues involved?.Cowie's book is a good read. Its efforts at iconoclasm cast the issues in a vivid light, even if they also make one appreciate with just how much wisdom many of the icons were originally conceived."
From the Publisher
Editors Note 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.
Product Attributes
Book Format Hardcover
Number of Pages 0352
Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
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