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An Evaluation of the Concept of Innateness

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An Evaluation of the Concept of Innateness. / Mameli, Matteo; Bateson, Patrick.

In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 366, No. 1563, 12.02.2011, p. 436 - 443.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Harvard

Mameli, M & Bateson, P 2011, 'An Evaluation of the Concept of Innateness', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, vol. 366, no. 1563, pp. 436 - 443. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2010.0174

APA

Mameli, M., & Bateson, P. (2011). An Evaluation of the Concept of Innateness. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 366(1563), 436 - 443. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2010.0174

Vancouver

Mameli M, Bateson P. An Evaluation of the Concept of Innateness. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences. 2011 Feb 12;366(1563):436 - 443. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2010.0174

Author

Mameli, Matteo ; Bateson, Patrick. / An Evaluation of the Concept of Innateness. In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences. 2011 ; Vol. 366, No. 1563. pp. 436 - 443.

Bibtex Download

@article{99f1d73741294a3cb687920bbc896af9,
title = "An Evaluation of the Concept of Innateness",
abstract = "The concept of innateness is often used in explanations and classifications of biological and cognitive traits. But does this concept have a legitimate role to play in contemporary scientific discourse? Empirical studies and theoretical developments have revealed that simple and intuitively appealing ways of classifying traits (e. g. genetically specified versus owing to the environment) are inadequate. They have also revealed a variety of scientifically interesting ways of classifying traits each of which captures some aspect of the innate/non-innate distinction. These include things such as whether a trait is canalized, whether it has a history of natural selection, whether it developed without learning or without a specific set of environmental triggers, whether it is causally correlated with the action of certain specific genes, etc. We offer an analogy: the term 'jade' was once thought to refer to a single natural kind; it was then discovered that it refers to two different chemical compounds, jadeite and nephrite. In the same way, we argue, researchers should recognize that 'innateness' refers not to a single natural kind but to a set of (possibly related) natural kinds. When this happens, it will be easier to progress in the field of biological and cognitive sciences.",
author = "Matteo Mameli and Patrick Bateson",
year = "2011",
month = feb,
day = "12",
doi = "10.1098/rstb.2010.0174",
language = "English",
volume = "366",
pages = "436 -- 443",
journal = "Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences",
issn = "0962-8436",
publisher = "Royal Society of London",
number = "1563",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) Download

TY - JOUR

T1 - An Evaluation of the Concept of Innateness

AU - Mameli, Matteo

AU - Bateson, Patrick

PY - 2011/2/12

Y1 - 2011/2/12

N2 - The concept of innateness is often used in explanations and classifications of biological and cognitive traits. But does this concept have a legitimate role to play in contemporary scientific discourse? Empirical studies and theoretical developments have revealed that simple and intuitively appealing ways of classifying traits (e. g. genetically specified versus owing to the environment) are inadequate. They have also revealed a variety of scientifically interesting ways of classifying traits each of which captures some aspect of the innate/non-innate distinction. These include things such as whether a trait is canalized, whether it has a history of natural selection, whether it developed without learning or without a specific set of environmental triggers, whether it is causally correlated with the action of certain specific genes, etc. We offer an analogy: the term 'jade' was once thought to refer to a single natural kind; it was then discovered that it refers to two different chemical compounds, jadeite and nephrite. In the same way, we argue, researchers should recognize that 'innateness' refers not to a single natural kind but to a set of (possibly related) natural kinds. When this happens, it will be easier to progress in the field of biological and cognitive sciences.

AB - The concept of innateness is often used in explanations and classifications of biological and cognitive traits. But does this concept have a legitimate role to play in contemporary scientific discourse? Empirical studies and theoretical developments have revealed that simple and intuitively appealing ways of classifying traits (e. g. genetically specified versus owing to the environment) are inadequate. They have also revealed a variety of scientifically interesting ways of classifying traits each of which captures some aspect of the innate/non-innate distinction. These include things such as whether a trait is canalized, whether it has a history of natural selection, whether it developed without learning or without a specific set of environmental triggers, whether it is causally correlated with the action of certain specific genes, etc. We offer an analogy: the term 'jade' was once thought to refer to a single natural kind; it was then discovered that it refers to two different chemical compounds, jadeite and nephrite. In the same way, we argue, researchers should recognize that 'innateness' refers not to a single natural kind but to a set of (possibly related) natural kinds. When this happens, it will be easier to progress in the field of biological and cognitive sciences.

U2 - 10.1098/rstb.2010.0174

DO - 10.1098/rstb.2010.0174

M3 - Article

VL - 366

SP - 436

EP - 443

JO - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences

JF - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences

SN - 0962-8436

IS - 1563

ER -

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