Thursday, June 19, 2008
PUB: Samet, Jerry. "The Historical Controversies Surrounding Innateness." STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY June 19, 2008.
We are as we are and we live as we do because of the interplay of our inherent natures and the world around us. This much is uncontroversial. But it is natural to wonder about the extent of the contributions of the two broad factors and about the nature of the interactions. This is where the innateness controversy begins. In the history of philosophy, the focus of the innateness debate has been on our intellectual lives: does our inherent nature include any ideas, concepts, categories, knowledge, principles, etc, or do we start out with blank cognitive slates (tabula rasa) and get all our information and knowledge from perception. Nativists defend some variant of the first option, while Empiricists lean towards the second. . . . Read the rest here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/innateness-history/.