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ERIC Number: EJ1087509
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Nov
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0309-8249
Innatism, Concept Formation, Concept Mastery and Formal Education
Winch, Christopher
Journal of Philosophy of Education, v49 n4 p539-556 Nov 2015
This article will consider the claim that the possession of concepts is innate rather than learned. Innatism about concept learning is explained through consideration of the work of Fodor and Chomsky. First, an account of concept formation is developed. Second the argument against the claim that concepts are learned through the construction of a learning paradox developed by Fodor is considered. It is argued that, despite initial plausibility, the learning paradox is not, in fact, a paradox at all as it rests on eliding the distinction between recognising something and recognising it as a something. The plausibility of eliding this distinction rests, in turn, on begging the question as to whether concept possession is a necessary condition for recognition of objects, events, properties etc. Fodor's positive arguments for innatism, as set out in LOT2 are considered and parallels with his account of stereotype formation and associationist accounts of concept formation are considered. The explanatory persuasiveness of this revised account of concept activation through the generation of stereotypes is weak. The article then examines the distinction between concept possession and concept mastery in greater detail, arguing that innatists have difficulty in accounting for the phenomenon of concept mastery, including within the contexts of formal and professional education.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A