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Genetic Representation Explains the Cluster of Innateness‐Related Properties

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The concept of innateness is used to make inferences between various better‐understood properties, like developmental canalization, evolutionary adaptation, heritability, species‐typicality, and so on (‘innateness‐related properties’). This article uses a recently‐developed account of the representational content carried by inheritance systems like the genome to explain why innateness‐related properties cluster together, especially in non‐human organisms. Although inferences between innateness‐related properties are deductively invalid, and lead to false conclusions in many actual cases, where some aspect of a phenotypic trait develops in reliance on a genetic representation it will tend, better than chance, to have many of the innateness‐related properties. The account also shows why inferences between innateness‐related properties sometimes fail and argues that such inferences are especially misleading when applied to human psychology and behaviour because human psychological development is especially reliant on non‐genetic inherited representations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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