
05774106
j
2010e.00321
De Cruz, Helen
De Smedt, Johan
The innateness hypothesis and mathematical concepts.
Topoi 29, No. 1, 313 (2010).
2010
Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht
EN
E20
C30
innate knowledge
nativism
mathematical knowledge
developmental psychology
arithmetic
doi:10.1007/s1124500990618
Summary: In historical claims for nativism, mathematics is a paradigmatic example of innate knowledge. Claims by contemporary developmental psychologists of elementary mathematical skills in human infants are a legacy of this. However, the connection between these skills and more formal mathematical concepts and methods remains unclear. This paper assesses the current debates surrounding nativism and mathematical knowledge by teasing them apart into two distinct claims. First, in what way does the experimental evidence from infants, nonhuman animals and neuropsychology support the nativist hypothesis? Second, granting that infants have some elementary mathematical skills, does this mean that such skills play an important role in the development of mathematical knowledge?