Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Atran: Folk biology

Innateness, universality, and domain-specificity

Gregg E. A. Solomon a1
a1 Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139


There are problems with Atran's argument for an innate cognitive module for folk biology. He has been too quick to assume innate origins for what might plausibly be learned. Furthermore, in his characterization he includes aspects – essentialist reasoning and inductions from classes – that are not domain-specific. Finally, his characterization compromises his argument that the module is pretheoretical.