Each year of the project concluded with a major international conference held in Sheffield. All four-day conferences were open to the public and each resulted in a volume, largely based on the talks at the conference.
About the volumes
The three volumes based on the project form a series published as The Innate Mind. Together, the volumes in the series contain nearly 60 new papers on nativist themes from top philosophers, psychologists, and other cognitive scientists, which present a comprehensive overview of contemporary nativist thought and provide the definitive reference point for future nativist enquiry.
Volume 1 in the series, The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents was published in 2005 by Oxford University Press.
Volume 2 in the series, The Innate Mind: Culture and Cognition was published in 2006 by Oxford University Press.
Volume 3 in the series, The Innate Mind: Foundations and the Future was published in 2007 by Oxford University Press.
"There is no more central topic in philosophy and the human sciences than the question of innateness. The innateness project and the books it has produced represent an unparalleled effort to grapple with it."
John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, Co-directors, UCSB Center for Evolutionary Psychology
The Innate Mind: Foundations and the Future
Edited by Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich (Oxford University Press, 2007).
This is the third and final volume in a set of volumes on the subject of innateness. The extent to which the mind is innate is one of the central questions in the human sciences, with important implications for many surrounding debates. By bringing together the top nativist scholars in philosophy, psychology, and allied disciplines these volumes provide a comprehensive assessment of nativist thought and a definitive reference point for future nativist inquiry.
The Innate Mind: Foundations and the Future addresses such questions as:
What is innateness?
Is it a confused notion?
What is at stake in debates between nativists and empiricists?
What is the relationship between genes and innateness?
How do innate structures and learned information interact to produce adult forms of cognition, for example about number, and how does such learning take place?
What innate abilities underlie the creative aspect of language use, and of creative cognition generally?
What are the innate foundations of human motivation, and of human moral cognition?
The editors have provided an introduction giving some of the background to the debates about innateness and introducing each of the subsequent essays, as well as a consolidated bibliography that will be a valuable reference resource for all those interested in this area. The volume will be of great importance to anyone interested in the interplay between culture and the innate mind.
Table of contents
Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich. Introduction.
Richard Samuels. Is innateness a confused concept?
Matteo Mameli. Genes, environments, and concepts of biological inheritance.
Peter Godfrey-Smith. Innateness and genetic information.
Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr. Genes and human psychological traits.
Gabriel Segal. Poverty of the stimulus arguments concerning language and folk psychology.
Alan M. Leslie, C. R. Gallistel, and Rochel Gelman. Where integers come from.
Stephen Laurence and Eric Margolis. Linguistic determinism and the innate basis of number.
György Gergely. Learning 'about' versus learning 'from' other minds: Natural pedagogy and its implications.
Fei Xu. Rational statistical inference and cognitive development.
Luca Bonatti. Of pigeons, humans, language, and the mind.
Mark Baker. The creative aspect of language use and nonbiological nativism.
Peter Carruthers. The creative action theory of creativity .
Anna Papafragou. Space and the language-cognition interface.
Laurie Santos and Venkat Lakshminarayanan. Innate constraints on judgment and decision-making? Insights from children and nonhuman primates.
Chandra Sekhar Sripada. Adaptationism, culture, and the malleability of human nature.
Karen Wynn. Some innate foundations of social and moral cognition.
Daniel Kelly and Stephen Stich. Two theories about the cognitive architecture underlying morality.
Jonathan Haidt and Craig Joseph. The moral mind: How five sets of innate moral intuitions guide the development of many culture-specific virtues, and perhaps even modules.
"A set of penetrating investigations of a key issue in the understanding of the mind, one that is often embraced or denounced but seldom analyzed. This collection is a valuable contribution to philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience."
Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University
"This is a strikingly good collection, a real delight to read. I don't know how Carruthers, Laurence, and Stich did it, but they commissioned some of the smartest scientists and philosophers around to contribute their best work on several of the most exciting and cutting-edge topics.
The result is a series of clearly written and fiercely argued papers on everything from the nature of creativity, the relationship between language and number, social cognition in babies, and the origins of morality."
Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology, Yale University
"Volume 3 is both a fitting conclusion to an enormously important project pitting nativist and empiricst theories of mind and an exciting opening to the future of this central debate on the character of mental life. It will be read by anyone who is seriously concerned with the question of what is innate and what must be learned."
Richard E. Nisbett, Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor and Research Professor, Institute for Social Research
"This book collects and synthesizes some of the finest contemporary work on human nature and mind. Its contributors address some fo the diciest and most enduring questions concerning the origins of knowledge, the invariant and variable aspects of human nature, and the uniquely human propensity for creating cultures and new systems of knowledge.
A wide range of perspectives is represented in these chapters, each with something to offer students of human nature. The three-volume series that this book concludes should be required reading for all current and aspiring cognitive scientists."
Elizabeth Spelke, Marshall L. Berkman Professor of Psychology, Harvard University
The Innate Mind: Culture and Cognition
Edited by Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich (Oxford University Press, 2006).
This is the second volume of a projected three-volume set on the subject of innateness.
The Innate Mind: Culture and Cognition concerns the interaction of culture and the innate mind, addressing such questions as:
What extent are mature cognitive capacities a reflection of particular cultures and to what extent are they a product of innate elements?
How do innate elements interact with culture to achieve mature cognitive capacities?
How do minds generate and shape cultures?
How are cultures processed by minds?
Table of contents
Tom Simpson, Stephen Stich, Peter Carruthers, and Stephen Laurence. Introduction
Robert Boyd and Peter Richerson. Culture, adaptation, and innateness.
Paul Rozin. About 17 (+/– 2) potential principles about links between the innate mind and culture: Preadaptation, predispositions, preferences, pathways, and domains.
Daniel Fessler. Steps toward an evolutionary psychology of a culture dependent species.
David Sloan Wilson. Human groups as adaptive units: Toward a permanent consensus.
Paul Griffiths. The Baldwin effect and genetic assimilation: Contrasting explanatory foci and gene concepts in two approaches to an evolutionary process.
David Papineau. The Baldwin effect and genetic assimilation: Reply to Griffiths.
Marcus Giaquinto. Mental number lines.
Michael Siegal and Luca Surian. Modularity in language and theory of mind: What is the evidence?
Dan Sperber and Lawrence Hirschfeld. Culture and modularity.
Peter M. Todd and Annerieke Heuvelink. Shaping social environments with simple recognition heuristics.
Peter Carruthers. Simple heuristics meet massive modularity.
H. Clark Barrett. Modularity and design reincarnation.
Kim Sterelny. Cognitive load and human decision, or, three ways of rolling the rock uphill.
Susan Dwyer. How good is the linguistic analogy?
Richard Joyce. Is human morality innate?
Chandra Sekhar Sripada and Stephen Stich. A framework for the psychology of norms.
Scott Atran. Religion's innate origins and evolutionary background.
"This is a fantastic volume. It beautifully answers the tired complaint that we need to get beyond the simple nature/nurture dichotomy. This collection of essays represents a striking advance in our understanding of both nativism and culture. It also provides the basis for a bright future in charting how innate and cultural components interact. Together with the other Innate Mind volumes assembled by this team, this volume represents a real landmark in the development of nativism."
Shaun Nichols, University of Arizona, and author of Sentimental Rules and co-author of Mindreading.
The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents
Edited by Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich (Oxford University Press, 2005).
This is the first volume of a projected three-volume set on the subject of innateness.
The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents concerns the fundamental architecture of the mind, addressing such questions as:
What capacities, processes, representations, biases, and connections are innate?
How do these innate elements feed into a story about the development of our mature cognitive capacities, and which of them are shared with other members of the animal kingdom?
The editors have provided an introduction giving some of the background to the debates about innateness and introducing each of the subsequent essays, as well as a consolidated bibliography that will be a valuable reference resource for all those interested in this area. The volume will be of great importance to all researchers and students interested in the fundamental nature and powers of the human mind.
Table of contents
Tom Simpson, Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich. Introduction: Nativism past and present.
Gary F. Marcus. What developmental biology can tell us about innateness.
Brian J. Scholl. Innateness and (Bayesian) visual perception: Reconciling nativism and development.
Dan Sperber. Modularity and relevance: How can a massively modular mind be flexible and context-sensitive?
Peter Carruthers. Distinctively human thinking: Modular precursors and components.
Anna Shusterman and Elizabeth Spelke. Language and the development of spatial reasoning.
Richard Samuels. The complexity of cognition: Tractability arguments for massive modularity.
Tom Simpson. Toward a reasonable nativism.
Scott Atran. Strong versus weak adaptationism in cognition and language.
Mark C. Baker. The innate endowment for language: Underspecified or overspecified?
Stephen Crain, Andrea Gualmini, and Paul Pietroski. Brass tacks in linguistic theory: Innate grammatical principles.
Susan A. Gelman. Two insights about naming in the preschool child.
Stephen Laurence and Eric Margolis. Number and natural language.
Daniel J. Povinelli, Christopher G. Prince, and Todd M. Preuss. Parent-offspring conflict and the development of social understanding.
Susan C. Johnson. Reasoning about intentionality in preverbal infants.
Helen Tager-Flusberg. What neurodevelopmental disorders can reveal about cognitive architecture: The example of theory of mind.
Joshua D. Duntley and David M. Buss. The plausibility of adaptations for homicide.
John Tooby, Leda Cosmides, and H. Clark Barrett. Resolving the debate on innate ideas: Learnability constraints and the evolved interpenetration of motivational and conceptual functions.
Joshua Greene. Cognitive neuroscience and the structure of the moral mind.
Shaun Nichols. Innateness and moral psychology.
"This is a terrific collection. It's not just a survey of the terrain, though it is that; it also contains a number of papers that push the boundaries and make major new contributions to several hot debates in cognitive science… I predict that the book will become a must-have collection, not just for all participants in these fields, but also for those not working in these areas and desiring a comprehensive and accessible guide to the issues."
Fiona Cowie, California Institute of Technology, and author of What's Within: Nativism Reconsidered.