Linguistic Determinism and the Innate Basis of Number

In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York, US: Oxford University Press on Demand (2005)
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Abstract

Strong nativist views about numerical concepts claim that human beings have at least some innate precise numerical representations. Weak nativist views claim only that humans, like other animals, possess an innate system for representing approximate numerical quantity. We present a new strong nativist model of the origins of numerical concepts and defend the strong nativist approach against recent cross-cultural studies that have been interpreted to show that precise numerical concepts are dependent on language and that they are restricted to speakers of languages with the right kind of structure.

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Author Profiles

Eric Margolis
University of British Columbia
Stephen Laurence
University of Sheffield