The importance of the nativist-empiricist debate: Thinking about primitives without primitive thinking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

J. P. Spencer et al. (2009) are intent on dismantling the nativist-empiricist debate and they offer three main supporting arguments. It is argued here that these arguments are simply orthogonal to the authors' main goal. More importantly, it is argued that even the most radical empiricist must embrace some set of primitives as the basis for learning; in some cases, rich primitives may actually be the learning mechanism. The nativist-empiricist debate is crucial to a healthy dialogue that allows us to think about how learning and development occur, and is therefore vital to our scientific progress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-90
Number of pages3
JournalChild Development Perspectives
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 3 2009

Keywords

  • Dead reckoning
  • Empiricism
  • Language
  • Nativism
  • Navigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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