Reflecting the focus of a Jean Piaget Symposium entitled Biology and Knowledge: Structural Constraints on Development, this volume presents many of the emergent themes discussed.
Among these themes are:
- Structural constraints on cognitive development and learning come in many shapes and forms and involve appeal to more than one level of analysis.
- To postulate innate knowledge is not to deny that humans can acquire new concepts.
- It is unlikely that there is only one learning mechanism, even if one prefers to work with general as opposed to domain-specific mechanisms.
- The problems of induction with respect to concept acquisition are even harder than originally thought.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface. Part I: Biological Contributions to Cognition. C.R. Gallistel, A.L. Brown, S. Carey, R. Gelman, F.C. Keil, Lessons From Animal Learning for the Study of Cognitive Development. P. Marler, The Instinct to Learn. A. Diamond, Neuropsychological Insights into the Meaning of Object Concept Development. E.L. Newport, Contrasting Concepts of the Critical Period for Language. Part II: Innate Knowledge and Beyond. E.S. Spelke, Physical Knowledge in Infancy: Reflections on Piaget's Theory. A. Karmiloff-Smith, Beyond Modularity: Innate Constraints and Developmental Change. K.W. Fischer, T. Bidell, Constraining Nativist Inferences About Cognitive Capacities. F.C. Keil, The Emergence of Theoretical Beliefs as Constraints on Concepts. S. Carey, Knowledge Acquisition: Enrichment or Conceptual Change? R. Gelman, Epigenetic Foundations of Knowledge Structures: Initial and Transcendent Constructions.
"....this edited volume represents some important progress in closing the gap in our understanding of the relative contributions of biological and experiential factors to the origins and development of knowledge. The chapters are well written, provocative, and stand as a challenge to researchers studying infant cognition....it is strongly recommended to all those who are truly interested in the origins of knowledge."
—American Journal of Psychology
"...a very important contribution to the literature; one which should prove to be a rich mine of researchable ideas for developmental and educational psychologists alike, be they students or professors or both."
—Child Development Abstracts & Bibliography
"...provides an excellent source of current research by leaders in the field of cognitive development, and it is therefore valuable from this perspective alone....provides an opportunity both to read about some of the best work in the field and to face the challenge of developing theories about the biological basis of cognition."
"...the chapters...capture the vitality and diversity embodied in the new constructivism....the book provides a readable introduction to the new constructivism....a handy summary of the views of many of its primary proponents."