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Concept Nativism and Neural Plasticity

In Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (eds.), The Conceptual Mind: New Directions in the Study of Concepts. MIT Press. pp. 117-147 (2015)

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  1. Neural Reuse and the Modularity of Mind: Where to Next for Modularity?John Zerilli - 2019 - Biological Theory 14 (1):1-20.
    The leading hypothesis concerning the “reuse” or “recycling” of neural circuits builds on the assumption that evolution might prefer the redeployment of established circuits over the development of new ones. What conception of cognitive architecture can survive the evidence for this hypothesis? In particular, what sorts of “modules” are compatible with this evidence? I argue that the only likely candidates will, in effect, be the columns which Vernon Mountcastle originally hypothesized some 60 years ago, and which form part of the (...)
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  • Cognitive Instincts Versus Cognitive Gadgets: A Fallacy.Aida Roige & Peter Carruthers - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (4):540-550.
    The main thesis of Heyes' book is that all of the domain-specific learning mechanisms that make the human mind so different from the minds of other animals are culturally created and culturally acquired gadgets. The only innate differences are some motivational tweaks, enhanced capacities for associative learning, and enhanced executive function abilities. But Heyes' argument depends on contrasting cognitive gadgets with cognitive instincts, which are said to be innately specified. This ignores what has for some years been the mainstream nativist/anti-empiricist (...)
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  • Neural Plasticity and Concepts Ontogeny.Alessio Plebe & Marco Mazzone - 2016 - Synthese 193 (12):3889-3929.
    Neural plasticity has been invoked as a powerful argument against nativism. However, there is a line of argument, which is well exemplified by Pinker and more recently by Laurence and Margolis The conceptual mind: new directions in the study of concepts, MIT, Cambridge, 2015) with respect to concept nativism, according to which even extreme cases of plasticity show important innate constraints, so that one should rather speak of “constrained plasticity”. According to this view, cortical areas are not really equipotential, they (...)
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  • Empiricism Without Magic: Transformational Abstraction in Deep Convolutional Neural Networks.Cameron Buckner - 2018 - Synthese (12):1-34.
    In artificial intelligence, recent research has demonstrated the remarkable potential of Deep Convolutional Neural Networks (DCNNs), which seem to exceed state-of-the-art performance in new domains weekly, especially on the sorts of very difficult perceptual discrimination tasks that skeptics thought would remain beyond the reach of artificial intelligence. However, it has proven difficult to explain why DCNNs perform so well. In philosophy of mind, empiricists have long suggested that complex cognition is based on information derived from sensory experience, often appealing to (...)
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  • Deep Learning: A Philosophical Introduction.Cameron Buckner - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (10).
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  • Foundational Questions About Concepts: Context‐Sensitivity and Embodiment.Corinne L. Bloch-Mullins - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (12):940-952.
    This review discusses recent work on foundational questions about concepts. The first of these questions is whether concepts are context-independent bodies of knowledge, or context-dependent constructs, created on the fly. The second question is whether concepts are abstract, amodal representations, or whether they are embedded within the sensory-motor system. I discuss these two questions in light of empirical data from psychology and neuroscience, as well as theoretical considerations, and examine their implications for theories of concepts.
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