Flashcards in Innate Concepts Deck (28)
Meaning 'blank slate', it was a wax slate used by children to draw and write on. It is an image used to represent the mind at birth, blank and without concepts.
The view that all of the concepts we have were acquired through experiences.
The view that at least some of the concepts we have were implanted in our brains before birth, and are innate.
The abstract ingredients of thought
What is the difference between an impression and an idea?
According to Hume, and impression is a more forceful and lively perception than an idea.
What is the difference between sensation and reflection?
According to Locke, sensation is the source of most of our ideas, depending wholly upon our senses (outside the mind). Reflection is experience of the mind achieved through introspection (inside the mind).
Hume's copy principle
Ideas are copies of principles.
What is Descartes's argument that God is an innate concept?
1) The concept GOD is either innate, was derived from experience, or was imagined
2) The concept GOD was neither derived from experience nor imagined
3) The concept GOD is innate
What is the reasoning behind thinking that the concept GOD is innate?
Due to the causal adequacy principle, a man could not imagine the concept GOD. Furthermore, we do not come across God in real life, so we cannot know of him through experience. Therefore God must have given us the concept GOD innately, like the stamp of a craftsman on his work.
Features that do not exist by themselves in the world, but occur in particulars. For example, the universal common to post-boxes and chilli peppers is 'redness'.
What is the reasoning behind thinking that the concept UNIVERSALS is innate?
As universals do not exist by themselves in real life, we could not have gained the concept of them through experience. Therefore the concept must be innate.
What is the reasoning behind thinking that the concept INFINITY is innate?
Infinity is an abstract concept that does not occur in real life. At no point have we experienced infinity, therefore the concept must be innate.
What is the reasoning behind thinking that the concept CAUSATION is innate?
Kant claims that you need to have the concept of causation to have experiences at all. Therefore having the concept must come before having experiences i.e. before birth. The concept must be innate.
What is the reasoning behind thinking that the concept NUMBERS is innate?
There have been studies on young children which suggest that they can tell the difference between a large number of things and a small number of things. This suggests that they have an innate concept of numbers.
What is the reasoning behind thinking that the concept GOD is not innate?
Hume claims that we do get the concept from experience. We experience a human being and imagine away the limitations, to get an infinite being. Locke also points out that not everyone has a concept of God, meaning that it can't be innate.
What is the reasoning behind thinking that the concept UNIVERSALS is not innate?
Our concept of universals are abstractions from the particulars we encounter them in in the real world. We imagine away the individual features of the particulars, leaving the common feature - the universal.
What is the reasoning behind thinking that the concept INFINITY is not innate?
We get our concept of infinity from negating our experiences on finite things. We experience something finite and imagine away the boundaries.
What is the reasoning behind thinking that the concept CAUSATION is not innate?
We get our concept of causation through experience; forming an intention and seeing a body execute it i.e. seeing a cause and a effect.
What is the reasoning behind thinking that the concept NUMBERS is not innate?
The children in the study may well have experienced numbers before they reached the experiment. Also, the results of the experiment may just show a preference for novelty rather than a concept of numbers.
What is 'no such concepts'?
You could simply claim that numbers, infinity etc are not concepts. If they are not concepts, they certainly cant be innate concepts. However, do we not have to have the concept in order to comprehend the concept at all?
A concept that is not acquired and is part of our rational nature.
Briefly, what are Locke's five attacks on concept innatism?`
1) Some allegedly innate concepts are not found in everyone, meaning they can't be innate
2) Many grown men do not possess concept central to the law of non contradiction, meaning that it cannot be innate
3) We can observe children acquiring concepts through experience
4) Innatists may claim a concept is innate if the capacity to acquire it is innate. If this were true, all of our concepts would be innate.
5) Some allegedly innate concepts cannot be recovered by children
Everything that exists is natural and can be studied through observation
There are at least some things which are not natural, do not exist physically, and cannot be observed
What is the connection between non-naturalism and innatism?
Some of the concepts rationalists claim to be innate are non-natural, e.g. infinity, God
What problem is there with non-naturalism?
If something is unobservable, then how can we know about it?
Damning by association
Casting doubt on the credibility of a concept by associating it with another faulty concept