Representations of Cause
This chapter considers the question of whether all innate representations with conceptual content are embedded within core cognition systems, or alternatively, whether there are also innate central representations. It begins by laying out Albert Michotte's proposal that human causal representations are part of core cognition of objects and of object motion. It then turns to the evidence that young infants represent Michottian contact causality, considering leaner interpretations for the phenomena that have been taken as evidence for infants' causal perception in Michottian events. The data strongly suggest that by six months of age infants have rich causal representations of Michottian launching, entraining, and expulsion events. Nevertheless, these same data undermine Michotte's hypothesis concerning the domain-specific and modular source of these causal representations. The data reveal a role for representations of human agency in infants' interpretations of physical causality. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the current status of rationalist versus constructivist theories of the source of causal representations, and with some speculations concerning the existence and nature of innate central conceptual representations.
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