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Eric Margolis
University of British Columbia
  1.  29
    The Small Number System.Eric Margolis - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    I argue that the human mind includes an innate domain-specific system for representing precise small numerical quantities. This theory contrasts with object-tracking theories and with domain-general theories that only make use of mental models. I argue that there is a good amount of evidence for innate representations of small numerical quantities and that such a domain-specific system has explanatory advantages when infants’ poor working memory is taken into account. I also show that the mental models approach requires previously unnoticed domain-specific (...)
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  2. Abstraction and the Origin of General Ideas.Stephen Laurence & Eric Margolis - 2012 - Philosophers' Imprint 12:1-22.
    Philosophers have often claimed that general ideas or representations have their origin in abstraction, but it remains unclear exactly what abstraction as a psychological process consists in. We argue that the Lockean aspiration of using abstraction to explain the origins of all general representations cannot work and that at least some general representations have to be innate. We then offer an explicit framework for understanding abstraction, one that treats abstraction as a computational process that operates over an innate quality space (...)
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  3.  85
    Infants, Animals, and the Origins of Number.Eric Margolis - 2017 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40.
    Where do human numerical abilities come from? This article is a commentary on Leibovich et al.’s “From 'sense of number' to 'sense of magnitude' —The role of continuous magnitudes in numerical cognition”. Leibovich et al. argue against nativist views of numerical development by noting limitations in newborns’ vision and limitations regarding newborns’ ability to individuate objects. I argue that these considerations do not undermine competing nativist views and that Leibovich et al.'s model itself presupposes that infant learners have numerical representations.
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