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The Innate Mind Volume 2: Culture and Cognition$
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Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195310139

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195310139.001.0001

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Modularity and Design Reincarnatio n

Modularity and Design Reincarnatio n

(p.199) 13 Modularity and Design Reincarnation
The Innate Mind

H. Clark Barrett

Oxford University Press

Critics of cognitive modularity typically attack a biologically implausible concept of modules as rigidly innate, invariant from individual to individual, and immune to individual developmental context. Virtually all biological structures are modular at some level, and developmental variation and flexibility are common features of modular development, not at odds with it. This chapter suggests that a plausible account of cognitive modularity should view modules as phenotypic structures shaped by developmental programs that can use locally contingent information in adaptive ways in building those structures. Evolved developmental systems construct unique tokens of evolved module types anew in every individual, each generation. A framework is presented for conceptualizing the functional properties of these developmental systems.

Keywords:   evolution, innateness, developmental systems, individual differences, evolutionary psychology

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