Connectionist languages of thought

Eric Lormand
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Fodor and Pylyshyn (1988) have presented an influential argument to the effect that any viable connectionist account of human cognition must implement a language of thought. Their basic strategy is to argue that connectionist models that do not implement a language of thought fail to account for the systematic relations among propositional attitudes. Several critics of the LOT hypothesis have tried to pinpoint flaws in Fodor and Pylyshyn’s argument (Smolensky 1989; Clark, 1989; Chalmers, 1990; Braddon-Mitchell and Fitzpatrick, 1990). One thing I will try to show is that the argument can be rescued from these criticisms. (Score: LOT 1, Visitors 0.) However, I agree that the argument fails, and I will provide a new account of how it goes wrong. (The score becomes tied.) Of course, the failure of Fodor and Pylyshyn’s argument does not mean that their conclusion is false. Consequently, some connectionist criticisms of Fodor and Pylyshyn’s article take the form of direct counterexamples to their conclusion (Smolensky 1989; van Gelder, 1990; Chalmers, 1990). I will argue, however, that Fodor and Pylyshyn’s conclusion survives confrontation with the alleged counterexamples. Finally, I provide an alternative argument that may succeed where Fodor and Pylyshyn’s fails. (Final Score: LOT 3, Visitors 1.)
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 34,425
External links

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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Concepts, Connectionism, and the Language of Thought.Martin Davies - 1991 - In W Ramsey, Stephen P. Stich & D. Rumelhart (eds.), Philosophy and Connectionist Theory. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pp. 485-503.
Connectionism and the Language of Thought.Mark Rowlands - 1994 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (2):485-503.
Fodor and Pylyshyn on Connectionism.Michael V. Antony - 1991 - Minds and Machines 1 (3):321-41.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
47 ( #131,275 of 2,267,138 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #106,192 of 2,267,138 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature