with all classes of phenomena. It is now clear that there are really four potential ways in which biological thought could emerge: First, it could arise out of completely domain-general learning procedures such as association, typicality tabulation, and induction. Second, it could arise out of another predetermined domain or mode of construal such as an intuitive psychology or mechanics. Third, it could arise out of a fortunate match of one or more modes of construal that, although limited in scope of application, are not exclusively tailored for biology. Finally, it could arise out of a predetermined mode of construal or combination of modes that is specifically tailored for biological phenomena. I have argued on both principled and empirical grounds that neither of the first two accounts have any support. It is still an open question, however, as to whether the modes of construal have evolved just because of a need to better understand biological things or whether they have more general purposes that just happen, especially in some combinations, to work particularly well with living things. Distinguishing between these two alternatives may be an exceedingly subtle problem, and may require a highly specific characterization of the biases at all points in development. Only then can we fully characterize the level of abstraction and domain specificity of such biases and the true manner in which biological thought emerges in the child.
Many thanks to Mike Maratsos for his comprehensive comments on an earlier version of this chapter. Much of the research reported on herein was supported by NIH grant R01-HD23922
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Publication information: Book title: Modularity and Constraints in Language and Cognition. Contributors: Megan R. Gunnar - Editor, Michael Maratsos - Editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Hillsdale, NJ. Publication year: 1992. Page number: 135.
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