Modularity and Constraints in Language and Cognition

By Megan R. Gunnar; Michael Maratsos | Go to book overview

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.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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


REFERENCES

Atran S. ( 1990). Cognitive foundations of natural history: Towards an anthropology of science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bruner J. S., Oliver R. R., & Greenfield P. M., et al. ( 1966). Studies in cognitive growth. New York: Wiley.

Canon W. B. ( 1912). The wisdom of the body. New York: Norton.

Carey S. ( 1985). Conceptual change in childhood. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Carey S. ( 1988). "Conceptual differences between children and aduls". Mind and Language, 3, 167-181.

Chi M. T. H., Feltovich P. J., & Glaser R. (( 1981). "Categorization and representations of physics problems by experts and novices". Cognitive Science, 5, 121-152.

Dawkins R. ( 1986). The blind watchmaker. New York: Norton.

Dennett D. C. ( 1987). The intentional stance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Fodor J. A. ( 1975). The language of thought. New York: Crowell.

Fodor J. A. ( 1981). Representations: Philosophical essays on the foundations of cognitivescience

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Modularity and Constraints in Language and Cognition
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Constraints, Modules, and Domain Specificity: An Introduction 1
  • References 23
  • 2 - Modularity and Constraints in Early Lexical Acquisition: Evidence from Children's Early Language and Gesture 25
  • References 55
  • 3 - Constraints on Word Learning: Speculations About Their Nature, Origins, and Domain Specificity 59
  • Acknowledgments 95
  • References 96
  • 4 - The Origins of an Autonomous Biology 103
  • Acknowledgments 135
  • Acknowledgments 135
  • 5 - Language, Affect, and Social Order 139
  • Appendix 172
  • Acknowledgments 176
  • References 176
  • 6 - The Logical and Extrinsic Sources of Modularity 179
  • References 209
  • 7 - Beyond Modules 213
  • 8 - What Do Developmental Psychologists Really Want? 221
  • References 231
  • Author Index 233
  • Subject Index 239
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