The languages of thought

Philosophy of Science 62 (1):92-110 (1995)


I critically explore various forms of the language of thought (LOT) hypothesis. Many considerations, including the complexity of representational content and the systematicity of language understanding, support the view that some, but not all, of our mental representations occur in a language. I examine several arguments concerning sententialism and the propositional attitudes, Fodor's arguments concerning infant and animal thought, and Fodor's argument for radical concept nativism and show that none of these considerations require us to postulate a LOT that is innate or otherwise distinct from spoken languages. Instead, I suggest that we maintain the more conservative hypothesis, supported by introspection, that some of our thoughts occur in the languages that we speak

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Larry Kaye
University of Massachusetts, Boston

References found in this work

The Language of Thought.J. A. Fodor - 1978 - Critica 10 (28):140-143.
Brainstorms.Daniel Dennett - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 47 (2):326-327.
A Theory of Content and Other Essays.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1990 - Philosophical Review 101 (4):898-901.
Representations: Philosophical Essays on the Foundations of Cognitive Science.Jerry A. Fodor - 1983 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 34 (2):175-182.

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