Daniel Burnston
Tulane University
: Fodor’s view of the mind is thoroughly computational. This means that the basic kind of mental entity is a “discursive” mental representation and operations over this kind of mental representation have broad architectural scope, extending out to the edges of perception and the motor system. However, in multiple epochs of his work, Fodor attempted to define a functional role for non-discursive, imagistic representation. I describe and critique his two considered proposals. The first view says that images play a particular kind of functional role in certain types of deliberative tasks. The second says that images are solely restricted to the borders of perception, and act as a sort of medium for the fixing of conceptual reference. I argue, against the first proposal, that a broad-scope computationalism such as Fodor’s renders images in principle functionally redundant. I argue, against the second proposal, that empirical evidence suggests that non-discursive representations are learned through perceptual learning, and directly inform category judgments. In each case, I point out extant debates for which the arguments are relevant. The upshot is that there is motivation for limited scope computationalism, in which some, but not all, mental processes operate on discursive mental representations. Keywords: Computational Theory of Mind; Mental Representation; Perception; Mental Image; Jerry Fodor Fodor e le rappresentazioni mentali come immagini Riassunto: La concezione della mente di Fodor è rigorosamente computazionale, ossia le entità mentali di base sono rappresentazioni mentali “discorsive”. Le operazioni su queste rappresentazioni hanno un fine architettonico ampio, che va fino ai confini della percezione e del sistema motorio. In periodi diversi del suo lavoro, Fodor ha proposto due modi per definire un ruolo funzionale per la rappresentazione non-discorsiva come immagine. Tratterò criticamente entrambi. Per il primo, le immagini giocano un particolare tipo di ruolo funzionale in certi tipi di compiti deliberativi, mentre, per il secondo, sono relegate unicamente ai confini della percezione, agendo come medium per fissare il riferimento concettuale. Contro il primo sosterrò che un computazionalismo così ampio come quello di Fodor rende le immagini in principio funzionalmente ridondanti. Contro il secondo sosterrò che l’evidenza empirica suggerisce che le rappresentazioni non-discorsive vengono apprese percettivamente, agendo direttamente sui giudizi di categorizzazione. In entrambi i casi considererò gli argomenti più rilevanti nel dibattito corrente. Si vedrà che ci sono buone ragioni in favore di un computazionalismo più limitato, in cui alcuni processi mentali operano su rappresentazioni mentali discorsive. Parole chiave: Teoria computazionale della mente; Rappresentazione mentale; Percezione; Immagine mentale; Jerry Fodor
Keywords Computational Theory of Mind  Jerry Fodor  Mental Image  Mental Representation  Perception
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DOI 10.4453/rifp.2020.0004
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References found in this work BETA

The Modularity of Mind.Jerry A. Fodor - 1983 - Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Perceptual Symbol Systems.Lawrence W. Barsalou - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (4):577-660.
The Language of Thought.J. A. Fodor - 1978 - Critica 10 (28):140-143.
Which Properties Are Represented in Perception.Susanna Siegel - 2005 - In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oxford University Press. pp. 481--503.
Intention and Motor Representation in Purposive Action.Stephen Andrew Butterfill & Corrado Sinigaglia - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1):119-145.

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