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Nativism: Noam Chomsky. Nativism Main question: what is the cognitive code? Infant is born with complete world knowledge Infants count Infants have a.

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Presentation on theme: "Nativism: Noam Chomsky. Nativism Main question: what is the cognitive code? Infant is born with complete world knowledge Infants count Infants have a."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nativism: Noam Chomsky

2 Nativism Main question: what is the cognitive code? Infant is born with complete world knowledge Infants count Infants have a concept of objects Infants have physics concepts Infants have language

3 Nativism Evidence for the claim of complete world knowledge Youngsters learn an extremely complex system (language) effortlessly Youngsters learn an extremely complex system (language) in a short amount of time Youngsters do not need instruction to learn their mother tongue

4 Nativism Do youngsters who are born deaf can learn an impoverished language at a level that is higher than the level they hear? Youngsters develop Creole from pidgin Infants do not hear grammar; they hear a string of words and infer the syntactic rules language (impoverishment of the stimulus) Infants often hear ungrammatical sentences, yet they learn the grammar

5 Nativism: Learning Paradox Fodor ’ s learning paradox: one learns something only if one knows it in advance To learn a language you have to know that language in advance What you know is at a higher level than what you learn

6 Nativism In the case of language, infants are born with: a universal grammar (UG) - a data base of grammar language acquisition device (LAD) - hypothesis tester

7 Nativism If the child is born with a LAD and no UG, he doesn ’ t have anything to hypothesize on If the child is born with a UG and no LAD, he cannot hypothesize about the language

8 Nativism The UG is the cognitive code. Unique to humans Universal for humans If one can describe it, one has cracked the cognitive code.

9 Nativism Relations between learning and development Only learning (deductive) No development Similar to classical behaviorism

10 Nativism: Language Acquisition Device hypothesize the grammar in the language you are exposed to see if the hypothesis fits the grammar if yes, continue with the hypothesis if no, make a new hypothesis

11 Nativism If that is how children learn language, it is impossible, in principle, to develop to a higher level How can you hypothesize something that is not already there? Nativists say you cannot

12 Nativism As a consequence, it is best to build the most powerful system so that it is there in infancy

13 Argument between Piaget and Chomsky CHOMSKY ’ S POINT: Chomsky: One cannot construct more powerful structures because hypothesis testing cannot take place at a level that is higher than one ’ s highest level e.g., conservation: a child cannot hypothesize conservation if he is at the intuitive stage

14 Argument between Piaget and Chomsky Chomsky: One cannot construct more powerful structures because hypothesis testing cannot take place at a level that is higher than one ’ s highest level Fodor ’ s learning paradox e.g., conservation: a child cannot hypothesize conservation if he is at the intuitive stage

15 Piaget Rebuttal Piaget: I don ’ t have to accept hypothesis testing as the mechanism for learning I believe children learn and develop through disequilibrium

16 Piaget Rebuttal I can describe learning and development in Child development (ontogeny) History of disciplines (Piaget & Garcia; Kuhn) My system allows me to describe two disparate developments: ontogeny and historical development

17 Piaget Rebuttal You, the nativists cannot describe the development of disciplines in history in terms of innate modules within humans Bottom line: I can describe two developments and you can describe one I don ’ t believe the description you give to language acquisition

18 Nativism: Modularity 1. Encapsulation - it is impossible to interfere with the inner workings of a module. 2. Unconscious - it is difficult or impossible to reflect on the operations of module. 3. Speed - modules are very fast. 4. Shallow outputs - modules provide limited output, without information about the intervening steps that led to that output.

19 Nativism: Modularity 5. Obligatory firing - modules operate reflexively, providing predetermined outputs for predetermined inputs regardless of the context. 6. Ontogenetic universals - modules develop in a characteristic sequence. 7. Localization - modules are mediated by dedicated neural systems.

20 Nativism: Modularity 8. Pathological universals - modules breakdown in characteristic fashion following insult to the system. 9. Domain specificity - as discussed above.


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