Innate concepts

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Chapter 13 endnote 10, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

...the human brain has few preset mental concepts, such as perhaps pleasantness and unpleasantness (valence), agitation and calmness (arousal), loudness and softness, brightness and darkness, and other properties of consciousness. [...] And perhaps a few other concepts as well.

There is on ongoing debate about whether certain concepts are innate or are learned from experience. In the last several decades, the psychologists Liz Spelke and Susan Carey have studied several psychological domains where innate concepts might exist, such as objects, numbers, animacy, agency, causal relations.[1][2][3] The psychologists Paul Bloom and Karen Wynn study whether infants are born with certain moral and social concepts.[4] For other distinctions, the interested reader can see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innatism.


Notes on the Notes

  1. Carey, Susan. 2009. The Origin of Concepts. New York: Oxford University Press.
  2. Spelke, Elizabeth S., and Katherine D. Kinzler. 2007. "Core knowledge." Developmental Science 10 (1): 89-96.
  3. Spelke, Elizabeth S. 2016. "Core Knowledge and Conceptual Change: A Perspective on Social Cognition." In Core Knowledge and Conceptual Change, edited by David Barner and Andrew Scott Baron, 279-300. New York: Oxford University Press.
  4. Wynn, Karen. 2008. "Some innate foundations of social and moral cognition." In The Innate Mind, Volume 3, Foundations and the Future, edited by Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Steven Stich, 330-347. Oxford: Oxford University Press.