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:
Nativism: Noam Chomsky
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
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
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
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
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
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
Nativism The UG is the cognitive code. Unique to humans Universal for humans If one can describe it, one has cracked the cognitive code.
Nativism Relations between learning and development Only learning (deductive) No development Similar to classical behaviorism
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
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
Nativism As a consequence, it is best to build the most powerful system so that it is there in infancy
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
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
Piaget Rebuttal Piaget: I don ’ t have to accept hypothesis testing as the mechanism for learning I believe children learn and develop through disequilibrium
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
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
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.
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.
Nativism: Modularity 8. Pathological universals - modules breakdown in characteristic fashion following insult to the system. 9. Domain specificity - as discussed above.