Modular architectures and informational encapsulation: A dilemma

European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (3):315-38 (2015)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Amongst philosophers and cognitive scientists, modularity remains a popular choice for an architecture of the human mind, primarily because of the supposed explanatory value of this approach. Modular architectures can vary both with respect to the strength of the notion of modularity and the scope of the modularity of mind. We propose a dilemma for modular architectures, no matter how these architectures vary along these two dimensions. First, if a modular architecture commits to the informational encapsulation of modules, as it is the case for modularity theories of perception, then modules are on this account impenetrable. However, we argue that there are genuine cases of the cognitive penetrability of perception and that these cases challenge any strong, encapsulated modular architecture of perception. Second, many recent massive modularity theories weaken the strength of the notion of module, while broadening the scope of modularity. These theories do not require any robust informational encapsulation, and thus avoid the incompatibility with cognitive penetrability. However, the weakened commitment to informational encapsulation greatly weakens the explanatory force of the theory and, ultimately, is conceptually at odds with the core of modularity.

Similar books and articles

Fodor, modularity, and speech perception.Irene Appelbaum - 1998 - Philosophical Psychology 11 (3):317-330.
Layers in the fabric of mind: A critical review of cognitive ontogeny.G. Nagarjuna - 2006 - In Jayashree Ramadas & Sugra Chunawala (eds.), Research Trends in Science, Technology and Mathematics Education. Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR.
Cognitive Modularity, Biological Modularity and Evolvability.Claudia Lorena García - 2007 - Biological Theory: Integrating Development, Evolution and Cognition (KLI) 2 (1):62-73.
Is the mind really modular?Jesse J. Prinz - 2006 - In Robert J. Stainton (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Cognitive Science. Blackwell. pp. 22--36.
Simple heuristics meet massive modularity.Peter Carruthers - 2006 - In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. Oxford University Press.
On the input problem for massive modularity.John M. Collins - 2004 - Minds and Machines 15 (1):1-22.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-08-02

Downloads
1,127 (#6,068)

6 months
92 (#9,678)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Dustin Stokes
University of Utah

Citations of this work

On perceptual expertise.Dustin Stokes - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (2):241-263.
Attention and the Cognitive Penetrability of Perception.Dustin Stokes - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (2):303-318.
Modularity of Mind.Philip Robbins - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
The Sciences of the Artificial.Herbert Alexander Simon - 1969 - Cambridge, Massachusetts: [Cambridge, M.I.T. Press.
What is Justified Belief?Alvin Goldman - 1979 - In George Pappas (ed.), Justification and Knowledge. Boston: D. Reidel. pp. 1-25.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
The Modularity of Mind.Robert Cummins & Jerry Fodor - 1983 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):101.

View all 71 references / Add more references