Fiona Cowie:
WHAT'S WITHIN (Oxford Univ Press, 1998)

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Fiona Cowie offers a vigorous attack against Chomsky's nativism but ultimately almost proves the opposite. Her arguments (badly written) are so weak (and mostly so old) that one can't help thinking "if this is all that can be argued against nativism, then nativism is likely to be valid". Besides the fact that it is difficult to follow her reasoning and disappointing to find that so much of hear reasoning is merely rehashing old objections, the biggest drawback in the book is to have neglected data from the people who study what is native: biologists. Not only Cowie ignores whatever biologists have learned of the genetic determination of behavior, but she also ignores the fundametnals of the theory of evolution, according to which a lot of what is essential to survival is part of our innate behavior otherwise we wouldn't have survived. Any attack on nativism should first explain why the theory of evolution is wrong, and should interpret the genetic data.

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