The roots of scientific reasoning: infancy, modularity, and the art of tracking

Carruthers, Peter (2002) The roots of scientific reasoning: infancy, modularity, and the art of tracking. [Book Chapter]

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This chapter examines the extent to which there are continuities between the cognitive processes and epistemic practices engaged in by human hunter-gatherers, on the one hand, and those which are distinctive of science, on the other. It deploys anthropological evidence against any form of 'no-continuity' view, drawing especially on the cognitive skills involved in the art of tracking. It also argues against the 'child-as-scientist' accounts put forward by some developmental psychologists, which imply that scientific thinking is present in early infancy and universal amongst humans who have sufficient time and resources to devote to it. In contrast, a modularist kind of 'continuity' account is proposed, according to which the innately channelled architecture of human cognition provides all the materials necessary for basic forms of scientific reasoning in older children and adults, needing only the appropriate sorts of external support, social context, and background beliefs and skills in order for science to begin its advance.

Item Type:Book Chapter
Keywords:scientific reasoning child as scientist science as social
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Psychology > Developmental Psychology
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
ID Code:2236
Deposited By:Carruthers, Peter
Deposited On:07 Jun 2002
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

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