On the input problem for massive modularity

Minds and Machines 15 (1):1-22 (2005)
Jerry Fodor argues that the massive modularity thesis – the claim that (human) cognition is wholly served by domain specific, autonomous computational devices, i.e., modules – is a priori incoherent, self-defeating. The thesis suffers from what Fodor dubs the input problem: the function of a given module (proprietarily understood) in a wholly modular system presupposes non-modular processes. It will be argued that massive modularity suffers from no such a priori problem. Fodor, however, also offers what he describes as a really real input problem (i.e., an empirical one). It will be suggested that this problem is real enough, but it does not selectively strike down massive modularity – it is a problem for everyone.
Keywords Cognition  Metaphysics  Mind  Modularity  Fodor, Jerry  Sperber, Dan
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DOI 10.1007/s11023-004-1346-5
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