The Automatic and the Ballistic: Modularity Beyond Perceptual Processes

Philosophical Psychology 28 (8):1147-1156 (2014)
Perceptual processes, in particular modular processes, have long been understood as being mandatory. But exactly what mandatoriness amounts to is left to intuition. This paper identifies a crucial ambiguity in the notion of mandatoriness. Discussions of mandatory processes have run together notions of automaticity and ballisticity. Teasing apart these notions creates an important tool for the modularist’s toolbox. Different putatively modular processes appear to differ in their kinds of mandatoriness. Separating out the automatic from the ballistic can help the modularist diagnose and explain away some putative counterexamples to multimodal and central modules, thereby helping us to better evaluate the evidentiary status of modularity theory.
Keywords Modularity  Cognitive Penetration  Cognitive Architecture  Perceptual Processing  Psychological Kinds  Evolutionary Psychology  Cheater Detection  Automaticity  Linguistic Processing  Vision Science
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