Essay on Cognative Development: Therories of Locke and Descartes

2329 Words Jan 8th, 2006 10 Pages
When it comes to cognitive development, several theories have been put forth by many different philosophers, psychologists, and other scientists. The two most significant theories, which were first explored by the Greeks, were later debated between John Locke, and Rene Descartes. John Locke, a seventeenth-century English philosopher, argued against the belief that human beings are born with certain ideas already in their minds. He claimed that, on the contrary, the mind is a tabula rasa (in Latin, a "blank slate") until experience begins to "write" on it. He was quoted in saying: "the human mind begins as a white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas." (The Blank Slate, n.d.)

However, according to René Descartes, a
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As far as the "nature" argument is concerned, there are some reasons for an individual to be convinced that genetics play a large part in a person's cognizance. When considering the biology of heredity, it is obvious that genes provide humans with their own physical equipment (their genotype being their given genial structure, and their phenotype being the physical traits of their genes) which, in essenc,e is their basis. Genes and chromosomes are passed on from each generation to the next. Therefore, without heredity, humans would have nothing to hand down biologically to their descendants, and the idea of genetics being purposeless is clearly incorrect.

An excellent type of exemplary study for this hypothesis is a twin study. Twin studies are rendered on sets of twins, and have included both identical twins and fraternal twins. They are conducted to determine the comparative influence of heritability and environment. Aided by publicity in magazine and newspaper stories, psychologist Thomas Bouchard and his colleagues have located and studied more than 70 pairs of identical twins reared apart.

They continue to find similarities not only of tastes and physical attributes, but also of personality, abilities, attitudes, interests, even fears. (Segal, 1999)

In Sweden, which has a national registry of 70,000 twin pairs, Nancy Oedersen and her co-workers (1988) identified 99 separated identical twin pairs and

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