Lot 2: The language of thought revisited [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Psychology 22 (4):525 – 529 (2009)
It has been over thirty years since the publication of Jerry Fodor’s landmark book The Language of Thought (LOT 1). In LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited, Fodor provides an update on his thoughts concerning a range of topics that have been the focus of his work in the intervening decades. The Representational Theory of Mind (RTM), the central thesis of LOT 1, remains intact in LOT 2: mental states are relations between organisms and syntactically-structured mental representations, and mental processes are computations defined over such representations. The differences between LOT 1 and LOT 2 are mostly differences of focus. Whereas LOT 1 had a number of targets—e.g. reductionism, behaviorism, empiricism, and operationalism—LOT 2 identifies “pragmatism” as the main enemy of the “Cartesian” kind of mentalism Fodor favors (pp. 11-12). Moreover, unlike LOT 1, a main aim of LOT 2 is to defend a theory of concepts that is atomistic and referentialist: lexical concepts lack structure, and their meaning is determined by their relation to the world and not by their relations to other concepts (pp. 16-20). In addition to new discussions of concepts and content, LOT 2 treats us to Fodor’s latest thoughts on compositionality, computationalism, nativism, nonconceptual content, and the causal theory of reference. Although those familiar with Fodor’s work over the last thirty years will find its main conclusions unsurprising, LOT 2 is nevertheless an exciting, breezily written book that’s full of stimulating arguments and (in standard Fodor style) immensely interesting digressions. In the Introduction, Fodor bundles together a number of distinct doctrines under “pragmatism”—e.g., that “knowing how is the paradigm cognitive state and it is prior to knowing that in the order of intentional explanation” (p. 10), and that “the distinctive function of the mind is guiding action” (p. 13). But it’s clear by Chapter 2 that his main target is “concept pragmatism,” according to which concepts are individuated by their inferential properties. Fodor’s “Cartesianism,” in contrast, has it that none of the epistemic properties of concepts are constitutive..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Jerry Fodor (1983). Modularity of Mind. Mit Press.
Jerry A. Fodor (1998). Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong. Oxford University Press.
Jerry A. Fodor (1975). The Language of Thought. Harvard University Press.
Jerry A. Fodor (2000). The Mind Doesn't Work That Way: The Scope and Limits of Computational Psychology. MIT Press.
Jerry A. Fodor (2007). The Revenge of the Given. In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. 105--116.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Stephen Laurence & Eric Margolis (1999). Where the Regress Argument Still Goes Wrong: Reply to Knowles. Analysis 59 (264):321-327.
Paul Pietroski (2010). Jerry A. Fodor: Lot 2: Language of Thought Revisited. Journal of Philosophy 107 (12).
James W. Garson (1997). Syntax in a Dynamic Brain. Synthese 110 (3):343-55.
Brian P. McLaughlin (2009). Systematicity Redux. Synthese 170 (2):251 - 274.
Susan Schneider (2009). LOT, CTM, and the Elephant in the Room. Synthese 170 (2):235 - 250.
David Braddon-Mitchell & J. Fitzpatrick (1990). Explanation and the Language of Thought. Synthese 83 (1):3-29.
M. F. Egan (1991). Propositional Attitudes and the Language of Thought. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 21 (September):379-88.
Lawrence J. Kaye (1995). The Languages of Thought. Philosophy of Science 62 (1):92-110.
Jerry A. Fodor (2008). Lot 2: The Language of Thought Revisited. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads85 ( #16,627 of 1,101,884 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #52,459 of 1,101,884 )
How can I increase my downloads?