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Necessary Knowledge$
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Henry Plotkin

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198568285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198568285.001.0001

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Developmental empiricism: old wine in new bottles

Developmental empiricism: old wine in new bottles

(p.153) Chapter 5 Developmental empiricism: old wine in new bottles
Necessary Knowledge

Henry Plotkin

Oxford University Press

The book Rethinking Innateness: A Connectionist Perspective on Development by Elman et al. (1996) is a significant work because of its broad authorship and its explicit and repeated denials of the existence of innate representational knowledge. It is a modern classic of the developmental empiricist position. This chapter begins by examining some of the key concepts of the book specifically, as well as its precursors and some recent developments amongst empiricist–constructivist developmental theorists. The constructivist position will then be considered within the wider perspective of the complexity of development and its place within developmental theories of evolution (so-called developmental systems theory and evo–devo). Finally, the relationship between development and learning is considered within the specific context of the contrasting constructivist and new rationalist positions.

Keywords:   Rethinking Innateness, rationalism, constructivism, development, learning

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