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Innateness, canalization, and 'biologicizing the mind'

Griffiths, PE and MacHery, E (2008) Innateness, canalization, and 'biologicizing the mind'. Philosophical Psychology, 21 (3). 397 - 414. ISSN 0951-5089

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This article examines and rejects the claim that 'innateness is canalization'. Waddington's concept of canalization is distinguished from the narrower concept of environmental canalization with which it is often confused. Evidence is presented that the concept of environmental canalization is not an accurate analysis of the existing concept of innateness. The strategy of 'biologicizing the mind' by treating psychological or behavioral traits as if they were environmentally canalized physiological traits is criticized using data from developmental psychobiology. It is concluded that identifying innateness with environmental canalization can only result in adding unhelpful associations from 'folkbiology' to the relatively precise idea of canalization.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Griffiths, PE
MacHery, Emachery@pitt.eduMACHERY
Date: 1 June 2008
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophical Psychology
Volume: 21
Number: 3
Page Range: 397 - 414
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1080/09515080802201146
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0951-5089
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2013 19:18
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 15:59


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