What Nativism Is (I)

Fiona Cowie

in What's Within?

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780195159783
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849529 | DOI:

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

What Nativism Is (I)

Show Summary Details


The internalist construal of nativism appears to explain how nativism may be related to rationalism in epistemology, since nativism may be able to explain the link between an a priori belief and what such a belief may justify. According to Plato, a priori beliefs are justified by a benevolent God, since such beliefs are pre-set in our minds. Also, this interpretation, in a way, clarifies ideas regarding certain nonepistemological aspects of the debate regarding empiricist-rationalist ideals. As nativism is believed to entail the denial of empiricist psychology or at least part of it, there are two aspects of empiricism that nativists may consider. However, while empiricists look into the generality of our mechanisms for innate learning, nativists would assert the poverty of the stimulus notion that the mind should have, aside from those allowed by empiricism, certain task-specific mechanisms. This chapter examines one of nativism's major features: the hypothesis of special faculties.

Keywords: internalist construal; nativism; Plato; benevolent God; empiricist psychology; learning mechanisms; task-specific mechanisms; hypothesis; special faculties; stimulus

Chapter.  11161 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.