, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 41-73

Retracing our steps: Fodor’s new old way with concept acquisition

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Abstract

The acquisition of concepts has proven especially difficult for philosophers and psychologists to explain. In this paper, I examine Jerry Fodor’s most recent attempt to explain the acquisition of concepts relative to experiences of their referents. In reevaluating his earlier position, Fodor attempts to co-opt informational semantics into an account of concept acquisition that avoids the radical nativism of his earlier views. I argue that Fodor’s attempts ultimately fail to be persuasive. He must either accept his earlier nativism or adopt a rational causal model of concept acquisition. His animus towards the latter dictates, in my view, a return to the nativism with which he began.