Innateness, Learning, and Rationality
Abstract2014J. P. Spencer et al. (2009) ask readers to reject the nativist2013empiricist dialogue and adopt a new theoretical perspective on cognition, focusing on "developmental process." This commentary argues that the dialogue between nativism and empiricism is a rich source of insight into the nature and development of human knowledge. Indeed, the dialogue is entering a new and exciting phase, in which new methods of controlled rearing and of cognitive neuroscience, and new conceptual tools for understanding learning, allow exploration of how human concepts emerge through the interaction of innate cognitive structures shaped by natural selection, with statistical learning processes shaped by specific encounters with the world. This approach fosters new, interdisciplinary research that promises to increase dramatically understanding of human knowledge.