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Lecture 8

PSYCH 211 - Core knowledge theory & knowledge of the physical world (Lecture 8 & 9)

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University of Waterloo
Mathieu Le Corre

THLecture 8FEB42013Seems that we must have experience of the world to have knowledge of the worldPlato thoughtthat our senses are so weak that our knowledge of the world does not come from our sensesPlato thought that when we learn something were just remembering something from before knowledge is innateWhat is nobility Noble behaviourAn old philosophical questionIs experience always necessary to have knowledgeNoVarious philosophersoPlato all knowledge is innateoLeibnizDescartesKant acquire knowledge of logic and math independently of perceptual experienceoChomsky have knowledge of language independently of experienceYesoBritish empiricist Locke Hume MillPiaget we start with no knowledgeoSequence is driven by assimilation and accommodation of experience CORE KNOWLEDGE THEORYHypothesishuman beings seem to have knowledge about many important matters that is automatic that is based on little if any evidence that they can articulate that does not seem to depend on any culturally distinctive supportRobert McCauleyoWe have knowledge that is independent of experienceoAll humans have it universalModel core knowledge system The indigo bunting ObjectivesShow you that buntings have innate learning mechanism that identifies stars in the sky and that computes NORTH from center of rotationShow you how bunting navigation learning mechanism is a model for core knowledgeBunting migration paths up to 3000 kmTravel at nightHow do they know where to go How do the babies learn where to go Just follow eldersoIn Northern hemisphere the center of rotation of stars in night sky indicates NorthWhen the earth rotates the stars aligned with the north pole dont moveoCan buntings infer North from pattern of rotation of starsHow baby buntings learn where to fly toParticipants 410 day old buntingsFrom August to September reared in planetarium where Emlen can control appearance of night skyControlling the babies experienceThree rearing conditions 3 groups of baby buntingsoExposure to sky rotating around North StaroExposure to sky rotating around other star BetelgeuseoNo exposure to any skyTest Where do buntings fly to when time for southern migration comesAll babies are shown normal north sky ie North star is center of rotationPredictionsoIf babies have learning mechanism that allows them to infer North from pattern of rotation of starsoThen
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