AuthorAriew, Andre, 1968-
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAscriptions of innateness are ubiquitous in the cognitive, behavioral and biological sciences. For example, some linguists think that humans possess an "innate" language aquisition device. Some ethologists think that a great number of animal behaviors are "innate". Implicit in these ascriptions is the belief that innateness is a well-understood biological phenomenon. The question I would like to address in this dissertation is, what makes a morphological, physiological or behavioral feature "innate"? According to some nay-sayers, innateness is not well-defined in biology and the practice of ascribing innateness to various biological traits should be dropped from respectable science. Proponents of this view think that the notion of innateness rests on a dichotomous conception of development that has been, through decades of powerful criticism, proven to be mistaken. Accordingly the burden of proof rests on those who employ the innateness concept to demonstrate that despite the criticisms there really is a biological phenomenon underlying the concept. In this dissertation I will attempt to shoulder this burden.
Degree ProgramGraduate College