Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Quartz & Sejnowski: Cognitive development

Constructivism, nativism, and explanatory adequacy

Derek Bickerton a1
a1 Department of Linguistics, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822


Constructivism is the most recent in a long line of failed attempts to discredit nativism. It seeks support from true (but irrelevant) facts, wastes its energy on straw men, and jumps logical gaps; but its greatest weakness lies in its failure to match nativism's explanation of a wide range of disparate phenomena, particularly in language acquisition.