edited by Lawrence A. Hirschfeld, Susan A. Gelman
What is the nature of human thought? A long dominant view holds that the mind is a general problem-solving device that approaches all questions in much the same way. Chomsky's theory of language, which revolutionised linguistics, challenged this claim, contending that children are primed to acquire some skills, like language, in a manner largely independent of their ability to solve other sorts of apparently similar mental problems. In recent years researchers in anthropology, psychology, linguistic and neuroscience have examined whether other mental skills are similarly independent. Many have concluded that much of human thought is 'domain-specific'. Thus, the mind is better viewed as a collection of cognitive abilities specialised to handle specific tasks than a general problem solver. This volume introduces a general audience to a domain-specificity perspective, by compiling a collection of essays exploring how several of these cognitive abilities are organised.