Semantic innateness

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Various objections have been raised against the thesis of semantic innateness - the view that all (or most) of our concepts are innate - and the arguments in its favor. Its main contemporary advocate, Jerry Fodor, no longer adheres to this radical view. Yet the issue is still alive. The objections have not been very persuasive, and Fodor's own response to his argument is both controversial and involves a high price. This paper first explicates this view, exposes its radical nature, and presents Fodor's argument in its favor. Some aspects of the view of syntactic innateness are also discussed, mainly in order to highlight some features of semantic innateness. Then new objections against both the view and the argument are presented. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)13-32
JournalAnalysis and Metaphysics
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Accession Number: 45586140; Jacobson-Horowitz, Hilla 1; Affiliations: 1: Conf. univ., Ben-Gurion University; Issue Info: 2009, Vol. 10, p24; Thesaurus Term: Semantics; Thesaurus Term: Language & logic; Thesaurus Term: Syntax (Grammar); Thesaurus Term: Grammar; Thesaurus Term: Information theory; Subject Term: Innate ideas (Philosophy); Subject Term: Philosophers; Subject Term: Philosophy of mind; Author-Supplied Keyword: nativism; Author-Supplied Keyword: primitive concepts; Author-Supplied Keyword: process of learning; Author-Supplied Keyword: semantic innateness; Author-Supplied Keyword: syntactic innateness; Author-Supplied Keyword: truth; People: Fodor, Jerry; Number of Pages: 10p; Document Type: Article


  • Semantics
  • Language & logic
  • Syntax (Grammar)
  • Grammar
  • Information theory
  • Innate ideas (Philosophy)
  • Philosophers
  • Philosophy of mind
  • nativism
  • primitive concepts
  • process of learning
  • semantic innateness
  • syntactic innateness
  • truth
  • Fodor, Jerry


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