Should we eliminate the innate? Reply to Griffiths and Machery

Philosophical Psychology 22 (4):505 – 519 (2009)
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Griffiths and Machery (2008) have argued that innateness is a folk notion that obstructs inquiry and has no place in contemporary science. They support their view by criticizing the canalization account of innateness (Ariew, 1999, 2006). In response, I argue that the criticisms they raise for the canalization account can be avoided by another recent account of innateness, the triggering account, which provides an analysis of the concept as it applies to cognitive capacities (Khalidi, 2002, 2007; Stich, 1975). I also claim that they have not demonstrated that the folk notion of innateness is unsuitable for rehabilitation in a science of cognition. I conclude that they have not made the case that the notion of innateness ought to be eliminated from a scientific account of the mind

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Muhammad Ali Khalidi
CUNY Graduate Center


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