poverty of the stimulus

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In general, the psychological fact that our reactions to the stimuli provided by experience outrun and go beyond anything that is neutrally ‘given’ by the stimulus. In particular, in the polemic of Chomsky against empiricist and behaviourist theories of language learning, the argument that the enormous linguistic repertoire the human language learner acquires cannot be explained in terms of the meagre input of cues bringing it about.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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