Synthese 95 (2):187-217 (1993)

Authors
Larry Kaye
University of Massachusetts, Boston
Abstract
Fodor has argued that, because concept acquisition relies on the use of concepts already possessed by the learner, all concepts that cannot be definitionally reduced are innate. Since very few reductive definitions are available, it appears that most concepts are innate. After noting the reasons why we find such radical concept nativism implausible, I explicate Fodor's argument, showing that anyone who is committed to mentalistic explanation should take it seriously. Three attempts at avoiding the conclusion are examined and found to be unsuccessful. I then present an alternative way around Fodor's nativism; I maintain that concepts at a given level of explanation can be semantically primitive, yet at least partially acquired if some of the conditions at a lower level of explanation that are responsible for the concept's presence are themselves acquired.
Keywords Cognition  Innateness  Language  Semantics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF01064588
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,199
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Language of Thought.Jerry A. Fodor - 1975 - Harvard University Press.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
Brainstorms.Daniel C. Dennett - 1978 - MIT Press.

View all 23 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Languages of Thought.Lawrence J. Kaye - 1995 - Philosophy of Science 62 (1):92-110.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
155 ( #76,549 of 2,518,090 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #408,577 of 2,518,090 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes