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Encyclopedia of Human Development

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Encyclopedia of Human Development

Neil J. Salkind

Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412952484 | Print ISBN: 9781412904759 | Online ISBN: 9781412952484 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.

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Tabula Rasa

David Moshman

English philosopher John Locke proposed that the mind of the newborn infant is a tabula rasa, or blank slate, on which experience writes. Locke was an empiricist. Development, in the empiricist view, is the product of an active environment operating on a passive mind. One alternative to empiricism is nativism. Nativists propose that the human genetic heritage includes knowledge accumulated over the course of evolution. Thus the mind of the newborn, far from being a blank slate, represents the knowledge of generations. Development, in the nativist view, is a maturational process directed by the genes. It is genes, not environments, that account for developmental change. An alternative to both empiricism and nativism is constructivism. Constructivists propose that the mind is an ...

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