Innate ideas essay

See comments below the essay for advice and tips.

Innate ideas essay

Concepts as mental representations The first of these views maintains that concepts are psychological entities, taking as its starting point the representational theory of the mind RTM.

According to RTM, thinking occurs in an internal system of representation. Beliefs and desires and other propositional attitudes enter into mental processes as internal symbols.

For example, Sue might believe that Dave is taller than Cathy, and also believe that Cathy is taller than Ben, and together these may cause Sue to believe that Dave is taller than Ben. Her beliefs would be constituted by mental representations that are about Dave, Cathy and Ben and their relative heights.

What makes these beliefs, as opposed to desires or other psychological states, is that the symbols have the characteristic causal-functional role of beliefs. RTM is usually presented as taking beliefs and other propositional attitudes to be relations between an agent and a mental representation e.

But given that the relation in question is a matter of having a representation with a particular type of functional role tokened in one's mind, it is simpler to say that occurrent beliefs just are mental representations with a characteristic type of functional role. Many advocates of RTM take the mental representations involved in beliefs and other propositional attitudes to have internal structure.

Accordingly, the representations that figure in Sue's beliefs would be composed of more basic representations. For theorists who adopt the mental representation view of concepts, concepts are identified with these Innate ideas essay basic representations. Early advocates of RTM e.

But modern versions of RTM assume that much thought is not grounded in mental images. The classic contemporary treatment maintains, instead, that the internal system of representation has a language-like syntax and a compositional semantics.

According to this view, much of thought is grounded in word-like mental representations. This view is often referred to as the language of thought hypothesis Fodor However, the analogy with language isn't perfect; obviously, the internal symbol system must lack many of the properties associated with a natural language.

In addition, the content of a complex symbol is supposed to be a function of its syntactic structure and the contents of its constituents. The mental representation view of concepts is the default position in cognitive science Pinker and enjoys widespread support in the philosophy of mind, particularly among philosophers who view their work as being aligned with research in cognitive science e.

They maintain that concepts and structured mental representations play a crucial role in accounting for the productivity of thought i.

Critics of this view argue that it is possible to have propositional attitudes without having the relevant mental representations tokened in one's head. Daniel Dennettfor example, argues that most people believe zebras don't wear overcoats in the wild—and a million other similar facts—even though they have never stopped to consider such matters.

Dennett also notes that computing systems can lack representations corresponding to the explanations we cite in characterizing and predicting their behavior. For example, it may make perfect sense to say of a chess-playing computer that it thinks that it is good to get one's queen out early, even though we know from how the computer is programmed that it has no representation with that very content see Dennettfor these and related criticisms and Fodor for a response.

Rather, concepts are abilities that are peculiar to cognitive agents e. The concept CAT, for example, might amount to the ability to discriminate cats from non-cats and to draw certain inferences about cats.

One of the most influential arguments along these lines claims that mental representations are explanatorily idle because they reintroduce the very sorts of problems they are supposed to explain. For example, Michael Dummett cautions against trying to explain knowledge of a first language on the model of knowledge of a second language.

In the case of a second language, it is reasonable to suppose that understanding the language involves translating its words and sentences into words and sentences of one's first language. But according to Dummett, one can't go on to translate words and sentences of one's first language into a prior mental language.

In other words, the mental representation itself is just another item whose significance bears explaining.

Innate ideas essay

Either we are involved in a vicious regress, having to invoke yet another layer of representation and so on indefinitely or we might as well stop with the external language and explain its significance directly.

Not surprisingly, critics of the abilities view argue in the other direction. They note difficulties that the abilities view inherits by its rejection of mental representations. One is that the view is ill-equipped to explain the productivity of thought; another is that it can say little about mental processes.

And if proponents of the abilities view remain neutral about the existence of mental representations, they open themselves to the criticism that explication of these abilities is best given in terms of underlying mental representations and processes see Fodor and Chomsky for general discussion of the anti-intellectualist tradition in the philosophy of mind.Locke’s argument against innate ideas.

In Locke’s ‘An Essay Concerning Human Understanding’, he argues for his view of empiricism, concerning the origin of ideas. A conflicting position for this subject is rationalism. According to rationalists, ideas are innate.

However, Locke was an. For the purpose of this essay I would like to look at and discus the argument put forth by both Locke and Descartes on the topic of innate ideas.

This topic, above all the rest, was one that I found to be the most thought provoking. If I had to describe where my position stands I would have to say. Locke "Innate Ideas" Essay Threet EN Latchaw 4 February An Analysis of Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Primarily published by John Locke in late , Essay Concerning Human Understanding is a significant, influential piece of work that will forever be cherished.

Concepts are the constituents of thoughts.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

Consequently, they are crucial to such psychological processes as categorization, inference, memory, learning, and decision-making. Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel in that it contains characters and objects that directly represent the novel’s themes and ideas.

Golding’s central point in the novel is that a conflict between the impulse toward civilization and the impulse toward savagery rages within each human individual.

incommensurability. Incapable of being measured against a common standard. The presumed incommensurability of individual human pleasures is sometimes raised as an objection against hedonistic versions of utilitarianism. Feyerabend and Kuhn suppose that rival scientific theories are incommensurable if neither can be fully stated in the vocabulary of the other.

SparkNotes: Essay Concerning Human Understanding