What is Cognitive Science
The Real Challenge of Locke's Critique of Nativism
Dr. Raffaella De Rosa
Thursday, December 09, 2010, 12:00pm - 07:00pm
Rutgers University, Department of Philosophy
This paper offers a new interpretation of Locke's challenge to the doctrine of innateness. I disagree with recent claims that Locke's arguments undermine nativism. But I also argue that this conclusion does not diminish their lasting contribution to the old and new debate over concept acquisition. Their lasting contribution consists in raising awareness-- among among nativists of all times -- of the necessity to be clear about the nature of the hidden structure of thought. More precisely, why is this hidden structure specified in intentional as opposed to non-intentional terms? And what are the motivations underlying each specification? This is the real challenge of Locke's critique of nativism. I reach these conclusions by first laying out the varieties of dispositional nativism that Locke was attacking; by discussing the basic structure of Locke's arguments and, finally, by assessing their strengths and weaknesses.
"What is Cognitive Science?"
This lunchtime talks series is designed to introduce the University community to issues in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science is one the the few fields where modern developments in computer science and artificial intelligence promise to shed light on classical problems in psychology and the philosophy of the mind. Ancient questions of how we see the world, understand language, and reason, and questions such as 'how a material system can know about the outside world', are being explored with the powerful new conceptual prosthetics of computer modeling.
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