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New thinking, innateness and inherited representation

By Nicholas Shea

Abstract

<p>The New Thinking contained in this volume rejects an Evolutionary Psychology that is committed to innate domain-specific psychological mechanisms: gene-based adaptations that are unlearnt, developmentally fixed and culturally universal. But the New Thinking does not simply deny the importance of innate psychological traits. The problem runs deeper: the concept of innateness is not suited to distinguishing between the New Thinking and Evolutionary Psychology. That points to a more serious problem with the concept of innateness as it is applied to human psycho- logical phenotypes. This paper argues that the features of recent human evolution highlighted by the New Thinking imply that the concept of <em>inherited representation</em>, set out here, is a better tool for theorizing about human cognitive evolution.</p

Topics: Philosophy, Philosophy of mind, evolutionary psychology, innateness, inherited representation, genetic information, cognitive evolution, cultural inheritance
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0125
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