Chances are, Steven Pinker would not use the metaphysical, "meditations" in describing his best attempt at listing the cognitive faculties and the core intuitions on which they are based. They are as follows...
- An intuitive physics, which we use to keep track of how objects fall, bounce, and bend. Its core intuition is the concept of the object, which occupies one place, exists for a continuous span of time, and follows laws of motion and force. These are not Newton’s laws but something closer to the medieval conception of impetus, an “oomph” that keeps an object in motion and gradually dissipates.[^2:Spelke, 1995.]
- An intuitive version of biology or natural history, which we use to understand the living world. Its core intuition is that living things house a hidden essence that gives them their form and powers and drives their growth and bodily functions.[^3:Atran, 1995; Atran, 1998; Gelman, Coley, & Gottfried, 1994; Keil, 1995.]
- An intuitive engineering, which we use to make and understand tools and other artifacts. Its core intuition is that a tool is an object with a purpose - an objct designed by a person to achieve a goal.[^4:Bloom, 1996; Keil, 1989.]
- An intuitive psychology, which we use to understand other people. Its core intuition is that other people are not objects or machines but are animated by the invisible entity we call the mind or the soul. Minds contain beliefs and desires and are the immediate cause of behavior.
- A spatial sense, which we use to navigate the world and keep track of where things are. It is based on a dead reckoner, which updates coordinates of the body’s location as it moves and turns, and a network of mental maps. Each map is organized by a different reference frame: the eyes, the head, the body, or salient objects and places in the world.[^5:Gallistel, 1990; Kosslyn, 1994.]
- A number sense, which we use to think about quantities and amounts. It is based on an ability to register exact quantities for small numbers of objects (one, two, and three) and to make rough relative estimates for large numbers.[^6:Butterworth, 1999; Dehaene, 1997; Devlin, 2000; Geary, 1994; Lakoff & Nunez, 2000.]
- A sense of probability, which we use to reason about the likelihood of uncertain events. It is based on the ability to track the relative frequencies of events, that is, the proportion of events of some kind that turn out one way or the other.[^7:Cosmides & Tooby, 1996; Gigerenzer, 1997; Kahneman & Tversky, 1982.]
- An intuitive economics, which we use to exchange goods and favors. It is based on the concept of reciprocal exchange, in which one party confers a benefit on another and is entitled to an equivalent benefit in return.
- A mental database and logic, which we use to represent ideas and to infer new ideas from old ones. It is based on assertions about what’s what, what’s where, or who did what to whom, when, where, and why. The assertions are linked in a mind-wide web and can be recombined with logical and causal operators such as AND , OR , NOT , ALL , SOME , NECESSARY , POSSIBLE , and CAUSE .[^8:vBraine, 1994; Jackendoff, 1990; Macnamara & Reyes, 1994; Pinker, 1989.]
- Language, which we use to share the ideas from our mental logic. It is based on a mental dictionary of memorized words and a mental grammar of combinatorial rules. The rules organize vowels and consonants into words, words into bigger words and phrases, and phrases into sentences, in such a way that the meaning of the combination can be computed from the meanings of the parts and the way they are arranged.[^9:Pinker, 1994; Pinker, 1999.]
I need to rephrase the following...
What are these intuitions? Many cognitive scientists believe that human reasoning is not accomplished by a single, general-purpose computer in the head. The world is a heterogeneous place, and we are equipped with different kinds of intuitions and logics, each appropriate to one department of reality. These ways of knowing have been called systems, modules, stances, faculties, mental organs, multiple intelligences, and reasoning engines. [^1:Caramazza & Shelton, 1998; Gallistel, 2000; Gardner, 1983; Hirschfeld & Gelman, 1994; Keil, 1989; Pinker, 1997, chap. 5; Tooby & Cosmides, 1992.] They emerge early in life, are present in every normal person, and appear to be computed in partly distinct sets of networks in the brain. They may be installed by different combinations of genes, or they may emerge when brain tissue self-organizes in response to different problems to be solved and different patterns in the sensory input. Most likely they develop by some combination of these forces.
What makes our reasoning faculties different from the departments in a university is that they are not just broad areas of knowledge, analyzed with whatever tools work best. Each faculty is based on a core intuition that was suitable for analyzing the world in which we evolved. Though cognitive scientists have not agreed on a Gray’s Anatomy of the mind, here is a tentative but defensible list of cognitive faculties and the core intuitions on which they are based: