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The distinction between innate and acquired characteristics

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2010)

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  1. Rethinking Incest Avoidance: Beyond the Disciplinary Groove of Culture-First Views.Robert A. Wilson - 2021 - Biological Theory 16 (3):162-175.
    The Westermarck Effect posits that intimate association during childhood promotes human incest avoidance. In previous work, I articulated and defended a version of the Westermarck Effect by developing a phylogenetic argument that has purchase within primatology but that has had more limited appeal for cultural anthropologists due to their commitment to conventionalist or culture-first accounts of incest avoidance. Here I look to advance the discussion of incest and incest avoidance beyond culture-first accounts in two ways. First, I shall dig deeper (...)
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  • Inherited representations are read in development.Nicholas Shea - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):1-31.
    Recent theoretical work has identified a tightly-constrained sense in which genes carry representational content. Representational properties of the genome are founded in the transmission of DNA over phylogenetic time and its role in natural selection. However, genetic representation is not just relevant to questions of selection and evolution. This paper goes beyond existing treatments and argues for the heterodox view that information generated by a process of selection over phylogenetic time can be read in ontogenetic time, in the course of (...)
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  • Relativizing innateness: innateness as the insensitivity of the appearance of a trait with respect to specified environmental variation.Elizabeth O’Neill - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (2):211-225.
    I object to eliminativism about innateness and André Ariew’s identification of innateness with canalization, and I propose a new treatment of innateness. I first argue that the concept of innateness is serving a valuable function in a diverse set of research contexts, and in these contexts, claims about innateness are best understood as claims about the insensitivity of the appearance of a trait to certain variations in the environment. I then argue that innateness claims, like claims about canalization, should be (...)
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  • The social brain meets the reactive genome: neuroscience, epigenetics and the new social biology.Maurizio Meloni - 2014 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
    The rise of molecular epigenetics over the last few years promises to bring the discourse about the sociality and susceptibility to environmental influences of the brain to an entirely new level. Epigenetics deals with molecular mechanisms such as gene expression, which may embed in the organism “memories” of social experiences and environmental exposures. These changes in gene expression may be transmitted across generations without changes in the DNA sequence. Epigenetics is the most advanced example of the new postgenomic and context-dependent (...)
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  • Moralizing biology: The appeal and limits of the new compassionate view of nature.Maurizio Meloni - 2013 - History of the Human Sciences 26 (3):82-106.
    In recent years, a proliferation of books about empathy, cooperation and pro-social behaviours (Brooks, 2011a) has significantly influenced the discourse of the life-sciences and reversed consolidated views of nature as a place only for competition and aggression. In this article I describe the recent contribution of three disciplines – moral psychology (Jonathan Haidt), primatology (Frans de Waal) and the neuroscience of morality – to the present transformation of biology and evolution into direct sources of moral phenomena, a process here named (...)
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  • Thinking like a scientist: Innateness as a case study.Joshua Knobe & Richard Samuels - 2013 - Cognition 126 (1):72-86.
    The concept of innateness appears in systematic research within cognitive science, but it also appears in less systematic modes of thought that long predate the scientific study of the mind. The present studies therefore explore the relationship between the properly scientific uses of this concept and its role in ordinary folk understanding. Studies 1-4 examined the judgments of people with no specific training in cognitive science. Results showed (a) that judgments about whether a trait was innate were not affected by (...)
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  • Maps, languages, and manguages: Rival cognitive architectures?Kent Johnson - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (6):815-836.
    Provided we agree about the thing, it is needless to dispute about the terms. —David Hume, A treatise of human nature, Book 1, section VIIMap-like representations are frequently invoked as an alternative type of representational vehicle to a language of thought. This view presupposes that map-systems and languages form legitimate natural kinds of cognitive representational systems. I argue that they do not, because the collections of features that might be taken as characteristic of maps or languages do not themselves provide (...)
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  • Equidynamics and reliable reasoning about frequencies: Michael Strevens: Tychomancy: Inferring probability from causal structure. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 265pp, $39.95 HB.Marshall Abrams, Frederick Eberhardt & Michael Strevens - 2015 - Metascience 24 (2):173-188.
    A symposium on Michael Strevens' book "Tychomancy", concerning the psychological roots and historical significance of physical intuition about probability in physics, biology, and elsewhere.
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  • Innateness.Steven Gross & Georges Rey - forthcoming - In Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels & Stephen Stich (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press.
    A survey of innateness in cognitive science, focusing on (1) what innateness might be, and (2) whether concepts might be innate.
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  • How to Be a Naturalist and a Social Constructivist about Diseases.Brandon A. Conley & Shane N. Glackin - 2021 - Philosophy of Medicine 2 (1).
    Debates about the concept of disease have traditionally been framed as a competition between two conflicting approaches: naturalism, on the one hand, and normativism or social constructivism, on the other. In this article, we lay the groundwork for a naturalistic form of social constructivism by dissociating the presumed link between value-free conceptions of disease and a broadly naturalistic approach; offering a naturalistic argument for a form of social constructivism; and suggesting avenues that strike us as especially promising for filling in (...)
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  • Perceptual Learning.Connolly Kevin - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1:1-35.
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  • Conceived this way: innateness defended.Northcott Robert - forthcoming - Philosophers Imprint.
    We propose a novel account of the distinction between innate and acquired biological traits: biological traits are innate to the degree that they are caused by factors intrinsic to the organism at the time of its origin; they are acquired to the degree that they are caused by factors extrinsic to the organism. This account borrows from recent work on causation in order to make rigorous the notion of quantitative contributions to traits by different factors in development. We avoid the (...)
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  • Culture or Biology? If this sounds interesting, you might be confused.Sebastian Watzl - 2019 - In Jaan Valsinger (ed.), Social Philosophy of Science for the Social Sciences. Cham: Springer. pp. 45-71.
    Culture or Biology? The question can seem deep and important. Yet, I argue in this chapter, if you are enthralled by questions about our biological differences, then you are probably confused. My goal is to diagnose the confusion. In debates about the role of biology in the social world it is easy to ask the wrong questions, and it is easy to misinterpret the scientific research. We are intuitively attracted to what is called psychological essentialism, and therefore interpret what is (...)
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  • Philosophy, Drama and Literature.Rick Benitez - 2010 - In Graham Oppy & Steve Gardner (eds.), A Companion to Philosophy in Australia & New Zealand. Melbourne, Australia: Monash University Press. pp. 371-372.
    Philosophy and Literature is an internationally renowned refereed journal founded by Denis Dutton at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch. It is now published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. Since its inception in 1976, Philosophy and Literature has been concerned with the relation between literary and philosophical studies, publishing articles on the philosophical interpretation of literature as well as the literary treatment of philosophy. Philosophy and Literature has sometimes been regarded as iconoclastic, in the sense that it repudiates academic pretensions, (...)
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