Chapter

Innateness and Ontology, Part I: The Standard Argument<sup>1</sup>

Jerry A. Fodor

in Concepts

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780198236368
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597404 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198236360.003.0006

Series: Oxford Cognitive Science Series

Innateness and Ontology, Part I: The Standard Argument1

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The `standard’ argument against conceptual atomism: primitive concepts must be innate (i.e. common ground between empiricists and rationalists). So, if conceptual atomism is true, concept nativism must be true. Is this a reduction? The main objection to a pervasive concept nativism is that typical concepts are acquired from experience with their instances. This is explicable on the assumption that such concepts are learned. An alternative explanation is proposed, which turns on the suggestion that typical concepts express mind dependent properties.

Keywords: concepts; conceptual atomism; innateness; nativism; primitive concepts; similarity

Chapter.  11671 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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