Finished reading: http://www.amazon.com/Rethinking-Innateness-Connectionist-Perspective-Connectionism/dp/026255030X
I didn’t find any surprises which surprised me. The book was compiled in 1996, 20 years ago but I think, had I read it then, I wouldn’t have been surprised by any of it either.
I think the reason is: In 1990, in Hampshire College, I was already fascinated with emergence, neural networking and chaos theories. It made intuitive sense to me even then, 25 years ago.
Also, I remember reading Pinker’s “Language Instinct” cover to cover in 1994/5, when it was a new book in the Cranford Public Library. [it wasn’t my local library but it was bigger]
I remember thoroughly enjoying his writing style and yet, parts of it bothered me even then. I was never comfortable with Chomsky nor with the idea of a “human uniqueness” with regards to language, for animals clearly have language (which presumably has its own grammatical structures)… and I’d already known that the “Eskimo 21 words for snow” thing was bunk. It didn’t take away from enjoying the book, but I still had misgivings.
So, this book I just read is from 1996 and they do take aim at Pinker at several points and I found myself nodding my head in agreement.
I read this book with an eye for time comparison, as well as filling any gaps in my knowledge on Connectivism.
Thinking of what I’ve learned in the period since this book had come out (the last 20 years), I’m starting to realize that my opinions about how humans learn formulated way back when I was 18 years old haven’t changed. In 25 years, it hasn’t changed.
This surprises me: I’ve learned a lot about theories that I’ve rejected through the years and have not so much “returned to” this model but it appears I’ve never left it.
450+ pages, read carefully, attempting to poke holes in it, and I simply couldn’t. I couldn’t!
I find that weird but I just have to accept it.