Synthese 170 (2):251-274 (2009)

One of the main challenges that Jerry Fodor and Zenon Pylyshyn (Cognition 28:3–71, 1988) posed for any connectionist theory of cognitive architecture is to explain the systematicity of thought without implementing a Language of Thought (LOT) architecture. The systematicity challenge presents a dilemma: if connectionism cannot explain the systematicity of thought, then it fails to offer an adequate theory of cognitive architecture; and if it explains the systematicity of thought by implementing a LOT architecture, then it fails to offer an alternative to the LOT hypothesis. Given that thought is systematic, connectionism can offer an adequate alternative to the LOT hypothesis only if it can meet the challenge. Although some critics tried to meet the challenge, others argued that it need not be met since thought is not in fact systematic; and some claimed not to even understand the claim that thought is systematic. I do not here examine attempts to answer the challenge. Instead, I defend the challenge itself by explicating the notion of systematicity in a way that I hope makes clear that thought is indeed systematic, and so that to offer an adequate alternative to the LOT hypothesis, connectionism must meet the challenge.
Keywords Philosophy   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language   Logic   Epistemology   Computer Science, general   Philosophy of Science
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-009-9582-0
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: 50,268
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

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford University Press.
The Varieties of Reference.Louise M. Antony - 1987 - Philosophical Review 96 (2):275.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):278-279.

View all 32 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Language as an Instrument of Thought.Eran Asoulin - 2016 - Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics 1 (1):1-23.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

General Information in Relevant Logic.Edwin D. Mares - 2009 - Synthese 167 (2):343-362.
Bad Company and Neo-Fregean Philosophy.Matti Eklund - 2009 - Synthese 170 (3):393-414.
Advances in Belief Dynamics: Introduction.F. Liu & O. Roy - 2010 - Synthese 173 (2):123-126.
S5 Knowledge Without Partitions.Dov Samet - 2010 - Synthese 172 (1):145-155.
Editor’s Introduction.Kenneth Aizawa - 2009 - Synthese 167 (3):433-438.


Added to PP index

Total views
155 ( #55,732 of 2,325,396 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #451,872 of 2,325,396 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes