The notion of innate ideas has long been the subject of intense debate in the fields of philosophy and cognitive science. Over the past few decades, methodological advances have made it possible for developmental researchers to begin to examine what innate ideas—what innate concepts and principles—might contribute to infants ‘knowledge acquisition in various core domains. This article focuses on the domain of physical reasoning and on Spelke's (1988, 1994) proposal that principles of continuity and cohesion guide infants’ interpretation of physical events. The article reviews recent evidence that these two principles are in fact corollaries of a single and more powerful principle of persistence, which states that objects persist, as they are, in time and space.
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