Instincts and bioprograms

Jesse S. Cook III (jcook@AWOD.COM)
Thu, 22 Aug 1996 11:34:55 -0400

On 19 August 1996, Ronald Kephart replied to my question: "Second, what
makes you (or Bickerton, for that matter) think that instincts 'require no
such triggers'? It seems to me that the word 'trigger' is more
appropriately applied with reference to instincts than it is with reference
to language acquisition."

He said: "The distinction is that an instinctive behavior does not [re]quire
a trigger for ACQUISITION." (Emphasis in original.)

True, but irrelevant.

"Of course, a specific instinctive response is usually triggered by

I'm glad you agree.

"...but it's there, fully formed, waiting for the first stimulus to bring it

Again, true but irrelevant as far as triggering is concerned.

"If language were like that..."

But isn't it? The innate "mechanism" is "there, fully formed, waiting for
the first stimulus to bring it out". It just takes awhile (several years)
rather than being a near-instantaneous response.

Furthermore, once acquired, language acts like an instinct sitting "there,
fully formed, waiting for the [right] stimulus to bring it out". These
e-mail exchanges are ample evidence of that.

But, getting back to his posting, I asked: "Fourth, what 'elements' of
culture 'appear to be innate and yet...require a social context for
acquisition' besides language?"

And he replied: "Culture in general requires a social context for
acquisition, doesn't it?"

True, but that doesn't answer the question.

Jesse S. Cook III E-Mail:
Post Office Box 40984 or
Charleston, SC 29485 USA

"Our attitude toward others is not determined by who *they* are;
it is determined by who *we* are."