Biological constraints do not entail cognitive closure

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 48:21-27 (2014)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

From the premise that our biology imposes cognitive constraints on our epistemic activities, a series of prominent authors – most notably Fodor, Chomsky and McGinn – have argued that we are cognitively closed to certain aspects and properties of the world. Cognitive constraints, they argue, entail cognitive closure. I argue that this is not the case. More precisely, I detect two unwarranted conflations at the core of arguments deriving closure from constraints. The first is a conflation of what I will refer to as ‘representation’ and ‘object of representation’. The second confuses the cognitive scope of the assisted mind for that of the unassisted mind. Cognitive closure, I conclude, cannot be established from pointing out the (uncontroversial) existence of cognitive constraints.

Analytics

Added to PP
2014-09-30

Downloads
460 (#42,256)

6 months
164 (#19,320)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Michael Vlerick
Tilburg University

References found in this work

The extended mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.Noam Chomsky - 1965 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Epistemology and cognition.Alvin I. Goldman - 1986 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

View all 47 references / Add more references