Trivializing modularity. An associative-representational account of cognition

Epistemologia (2):201-215 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In the present paper I analyse the modularity thesis and, more specifically, the thesis of domain-specificity of processing. I argue that this thesis is not trivial only under the assumption of a variety of processes which differ from each other at the implementation level; otherwise, the variety of cognitive processes can only be explained as emergent on the basic mechanism of associative activation in that it operates on domain-specific representations, which is something that no one would deny. But that assumption is untenable: there are no other processes than associative activation (and inhibition) at the implementation level. Any claim to the contrary is the result of a conceptual confusion between two senses of “associative”: a behavioural one, relative to which there are cognitive processes that exceed the ability to code elementary spatio-temporal contingencies, and one that lies instead at the implementation level. Since the assumption of a plurality of processes at the implementation level is untenable, the only viable interpretation of modularism (as far as domain-specificity is concerned) is a trivial one. By this I do not mean that the thesis is devoid of any content. However, its content is scarcely debatable, and far less thrilling than the debate has suggested so far.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,386

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

How far beyond modularity?Luca Bonatti - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (2):351-353.
The complexity of cognition: Tractability arguments for massive modularity.Richard Samuels - 2005 - In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York, US: Oxford University Press USA. pp. 107.
Diversity and Unity of Modularity.Bongrae Seok - 2006 - Cognitive Science 30 (2):347-380.
Modularity, rationality, and higher cognition.Philip Cam - 1988 - Philosophical Studies 53 (March):279-94.
Autism, Modularity and Theories of Mind.Michael K. Cundall - 2003 - Dissertation, University of Cincinnati
Fodor on cognition, modularity, and adaptationism.Samir Okasha - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (1):68-88.
Schemata and associative processes in pragmatics.Marco Mazzone - 2011 - Journal of Pragmatics 43 (8):2148-2159.
On the input problem for massive modularity.John M. Collins - 2004 - Minds and Machines 15 (1):1-22.

Analytics

Added to PP
2016-06-30

Downloads
26 (#595,031)

6 months
8 (#342,364)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Marco Mazzone
University of Catania

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations