The “systematicity argument” has been used to argue for a classical cognitive architecture (Fodor in The Language of Thought. Harvester Press, London, 1975, Why there still has to be a language of thought? In Psychosemantics, appendix. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 135–154, 1987; Fodor and Pylyshyn in Cognition 28:3–71, 1988; Aizawa in The systematicity arguments. Kluwer Academic Press, Dordrecht, 2003). From the premises that cognition is systematic and that the best/only explanation of systematicity is compositional structure, it concludes that cognition is (...) to be explained in terms of symbols (in a language of thought) and formal rules. The debate, with connectionism, has mostly centered on the second premise-whether an explanation of systematicity requires compositional structure, which neural networks do not to exhibit (for example, Hadley and Hayward, in Minds and Machines, 7:1–37). In this paper, I will take issue with the first premise. Several arguments will be deployed that show that cognition is not systematic in general; that, in fact, systematicity seems to be related to language. I will argue that it is just verbal minds that are systematic, and they are so because of the structuring role of language in cognition. A dual-process theory of cognition will be defended as the best explanation of the facts. (shrink)
A general shortcoming of the localist, decompositional, approach to neuroscientific explanation that the target article exemplifies, is that it is incomplete unless supplemented with an account of how the hypothesized subsystems integrate in the normal case. Besides, a number of studies that show that object recognition is proprioception dependent and that cutaneous information affects motor performance make the existence of the proposed subsystems doubtful.