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The Making of Human Concepts$
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Denis Mareschal, Paul C. Quinn, and Stephen E.G. Lea

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199549221

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549221.001.0001

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Darwin and development: Why ontogeny does not recapitulate phylogeny for human concepts

Darwin and development: Why ontogeny does not recapitulate phylogeny for human concepts

Chapter:
(p.317) Chapter 15 Darwin and development: Why ontogeny does not recapitulate phylogeny for human concepts
Source:
The Making of Human Concepts
Author(s):

Frank C. Keil

George E. Newman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549221.003.015

This chapter argues that human cognitive development tells us a great deal about what makes human thinking qualitatively unique, but it does so in the same way that current evolutionary biologists explain how organisms are particularly well adapted to niches; that is, the way in which human concepts are specialized, rather than the product of a linear increase in complexity. The chapter outlines a few key developmental transitions that are commonly assumed in human cognitive development and then demonstrates how these ontogenetic distinctions fail to contribute to our understanding of cross-species differences.

Keywords:   cognition, cognitive development, conceptual development, ontogeny, phylogeny, evolution

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