Preface 1 Introduction: The Persistence of the Attitudes 2 Individualism and Supervenience 3 Meaning Holism 4 Meaning and the World Order Epilogue Creation Myth Appendix Why There Still Has to be a Language of Thought Notes References Author Index.
This study synthesizes current information from the various fields of cognitive science in support of a new and exciting theory of mind. Most psychologists study horizontal processes like memory and information flow; Fodor postulates a vertical and modular psychological organization underlying biologically coherent behaviors. This view of mental architecture is consistent with the historical tradition of faculty psychology while integrating a computational approach to mental processes. One of the most notable aspects of Fodor's work is that it articulates features not (...) only of speculative cognitive architectures but also of current research in artificial intelligence. (shrink)
Introduction: Something on the State of the Art 1 I. Functionalism and Realism 1. Operationalism and Ordinary Language 35 2. The Appeal to Tacit Knowledge in Psychological Explanations 63 3. What Psychological States are Not 79 4. Three Cheers for Propositional Attitudes 100 II. Reduction and Unity of Science 5. Special Sciences 127 6. Computation and Reduction 146 III. Intensionality and Mental Representation 7. Propositional Attitudes 177 8. Tom Swift and His Procedural Grandmother 204 9. Methodological Solipsism Considered as a (...) Research Strategy in Cognitive Psychology 225 IV. Nativism 10. The Present Status of the Innateness Controversy 257 Notes 317. (shrink)
The renowned philosopher Jerry Fodor, a leading figure in the study of the mind for more than twenty years, presents a strikingly original theory on the basic constituents of thought. He suggests that the heart of cognitive science is its theory of concepts, and that cognitive scientists have gone badly wrong in many areas because their assumptions about concepts have been mistaken. Fodor argues compellingly for an atomistic theory of concepts, deals out witty and pugnacious demolitions of rival theories, and (...) suggests that future work on human cognition should build upon new foundations. This lively, conversational, and superbly accessible book is the first volume in the Oxford Cognitive Science Series, where the best original work in this field will be presented to a broad readership. Concepts will fascinate anyone interested in contemporary work on mind and language. Cognitive science will never be the same again. (shrink)
This paper explores the difference between Connectionist proposals for cognitive a r c h i t e c t u r e a n d t h e s o r t s o f m o d e l s t hat have traditionally been assum e d i n c o g n i t i v e s c i e n c e . W e c l a i m t h a t t h (...) e m a j o r d i s t i n c t i o n i s t h a t , w h i l e b o t h Connectionist and Classical architectures postulate representational mental states, the latter but not the former are committed to a symbol-level of representation, or to a ‘language of thought’: i.e., to representational states that have combinatorial syntactic and semantic structure. Several arguments for combinatorial structure in mental representations are then reviewed. These include arguments based on the ‘systematicity’ of mental representation: i.e., on the fact that cognitive capacities always exhibit certain symmetries, so that the ability to entertain a given thought implies the ability to entertain thoughts with semantically related contents. We claim that such arguments make a powerful case that mind/brain architecture is not Connectionist at the cognitive level. We then consider the possibility that Connectionism may provide an account of the neural (or ‘abstract neurological’) structures in which Classical cognitive architecture is implemented. We survey a n u m b e r o f t h e s t a n d a r d a r g u m e n t s t h a t h a v e b e e n o f f e r e d i n f a v o r o f Connectionism, and conclude that they are coherent only on this interpretation. (shrink)
Jerry Fodor presents a new development of his famous Language of Thought hypothesis, which has since the 1970s been at the centre of interdisciplinary debate about how the mind works. Fodor defends and extends the groundbreaking idea that thinking is couched in a symbolic system realized in the brain. This idea is central to the representational theory of mind which Fodor has established as a key reference point in modern philosophy, psychology, and cognitive science. The foundation stone of our present (...) cognitive science is Turing's suggestion that cognitive processes are not associations but computations; and computation requires a language of thought. So the latest on the Language of Thought hypothesis, from its progenitor, promises to be a landmark in the study of the mind. LOT 2 offers a more cogent presentation and a fuller explication of Fodor 's distinctive account of the mind, with various intriguing new features. The central role of compositionality in the representational theory of mind is revealed: most of what we know about concepts follows from the compositionality of thoughts. Fodor shows the necessity of a referentialist account of the content of intentional states, and of an atomistic account of the individuation of concepts. Not least among the new developments is Fodor 's identification and persecution of pragmatism as the leading source of error in the study of the mind today. LOT 2 sees Fodor advance undaunted towards the ultimate goal of a theory of the cognitive mind, and in particular a theory of the intentionality of cognition. No one who works on the mind can ignore Fodor 's views, expressed in the coruscating and provocative style which has delighted and disconcerted countless readers over the years. (shrink)
Written in a highly readable, irreverent style, The Elm and the Expert provides a lively discussion of semantic issues about mental representation, with special attention to issues raised by Frege's problem, Twin cases, and the putative indeterminacy of reference. Bound to be widely read and much discussed, The Elm and the Expert, written in Jerry Fodor's usual highly readable, irreverent style, provides a lively discussion of semantic issues about mental representation, with special attention to issues raised by Frege's problem, Twin (...) cases, and the putative indeterminacy of reference. The book extends and revises a view of the relation between mind and meaning that the author has been developing since his 1975 book, The Language of Thought. There is a general consensus among philosophers that a referential semantics for mental representation cannot support a robust account of intentional explanation. Fodor has himself espoused this view in previous publications, and it is widespread (if tacit) throughout the cognitive science community. This book is largely a reconsideration of the arguments that are supposed to ground this consensus. Fodor concludes that these considerations are far less decisive than has been supposed. He offers a theory sketch in which psychological explanation is intentional, psychological processes are computational, and the semantic properties of mental representations are referential. Connections with the problem of "naturalizing" intentionality are also explored. The four lectures in The Elm and the Expert were originally delivered in Paris in the spring of 1993 to inaugurate the Jean Nicod Lecture series. The Jean Nicod Lectures are delivered annually by a leading philosopher of mind or philosophically oriented cognitive scientist. The 1993 lectures marked the centenary of the birth of the French philosopher and logician Jean Nicod (1893-1931). The lectures are sponsored by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) as part of its effort to develop the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science in France. Jean Nicod series. (shrink)
The Modularity of Mind proposes an alternative to the or view of cognitive architecture that has dominated several decades of cognitive science. Whereas interactionism stresses the continuity of perceptual and cognitive processes, modularity theory argues for their distinctness. It is argued, in particular, that the apparent plausibility of New Look theorizing derives from the failure to distinguish between the (correct) claim that perceptual processes are inferential and the (dubious) claim that they are unencapsidated, that is, that they are arbitrarily sensitive (...) to the organism's beliefs and desires. In fact, according to modularity theory, perceptual processes are computationally isolated from much of the background knowledge to which cognitive processes have access. The postulation of autonomous, domain-specific psychological mechanisms underlying perceptual integration connects modularity theory with the tradition of faculty psychology, in particular, with the work of Franz Joseph Call. Some of these historical affinities, and some of the relations between faculty psychology and Cartesianism, are discussed in the book. (shrink)
This book dares to challenge natural selection--not in the name of religion but in the name of good science. Most scientists are so terrified of religious attacks on the theory of evolution that it is never examined critically. There are significant scientific and philosophical problems with the theory of natural selection. Darwin claimed the factors that determine the course of evolution are very largely environmental. Empirical results in biology are increasingly calling this thesis into question. The authors show that Darwinism (...) is committed to inferring, from the premise that a kind of creature with a certain trait was selected, the conclusion that that kind of creature was selected for having that trait. Though such inferences are fallacious, they are nevertheless unavoidable within the Darwinist framework. Ultimately, Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini level a devastating critique against Darwinist orthodoxy and suggest new ways of thinking about evolution.--From publisher description. (shrink)
Some philosophers hold that philosophy is what you do to a problem until it’s clear enough to solve it by doing science. Others hold that if a philosophical problem succumbs to empirical methods, that shows it wasn’t really philosophical to begin with. Either way, the facts seem clear enough: questions first mooted by philosophers are sometimes coopted by people who do experiments. This seems to be happening now to the question: “what are propositional attitudes?” and cognitive psychology is the science (...) of note. (shrink)
Churchland's paper "Perceptual Plasticity and Theoretical Neutrality" offers empirical, semantical and epistemological arguments intended to show that the cognitive impenetrability of perception "does not establish a theory-neutral foundation for knowledge" and that the psychological account of perceptual encapsulation that I set forth in The Modularity of Mind "[is] almost certainly false". The present paper considers these arguments in detail and dismisses them.
Hume? Yes, David Hume, that's who Jerry Fodor looks to for help in advancing our understanding of the mind. Fodor claims his Treatise of Human Nature as the foundational document of cognitive science: it launched the project of constructing an empirical psychology on the basis of a representational theory of mind. Going back to this work after more than 250 years we find that Hume is remarkably perceptive about the components and structure that a theory of mind requires. Careful study (...) of the Treatise helps us to see what is amiss with much twentieth-century philosophy of mind, and to get on the right track. You don't have to know much about Hume to enjoy this inventively argued, provocative, and stimulating defence of the representational theory of mind, which is looking increasingly hard to resist. (shrink)
PREFACE PART I METAPHYSICS Review of John McDowell’s Mind and World Special Sciences: Still Autonomous after All These Years Conclusion Acknowledgment Notes PART II CONCEPTS Review of Christopher Peacocke’s A Study of Concepts Notes There Are No Recognitional Concepts--Not Even RED Introduction Compositionality Why Premise P is Plausible Objections Conclusion Afterword Acknowledgment Notes There Are No Recognitional Concepts--Not Even RED, Part 2: The Plot Thickens Introduction: The Story ’til Now Compositonality and Learnability Notes Do We Think in Mentalese? Remarks on (...) Some Arguments of Peter Carruthers Appendix: Higher-Order Thoughts Notes Review of A. W. Moore’s Points of View PART III COGNITIVE ARCHITECTURE Review of Paul Churchland’s The Engine of Reason, The Seat of the Soul Connectionism and the Problem of Systematicity: Why Smolensky’s Solution Doesn’t Work Introduction I The Systematicity Problem and Its Classical Solution II Weak Compositionality III Strong Compositional Structure Conclusion Notes Connectionism and the Problem of Systematicity : Why Smolensky’s Solution Still Doesn’t Work Stage 1: Classical Theories The Connection with The Connection with Stage 2: Smolenksy Architectures Stage 3: Why Smolensky’s Solution Still Doesn’t Work Digression on singing and sailing Acknowledgment Notes There and Back Again: A Review of Annette Karmiloff-Smith’s Beyond Modularity 1. Encapsulation 2. Inaccessibility 3. Domain specificity 4. Innateness Conclusion Notes Review of Jeff Elman et al., Rethinking Innateness Brainlikeness Interactions Representational Nativism Empiricism Review of Steven Mithen’s The Prehistory of the Mind PART IV PHILOSOPHICAL DARWINISM Review of Richard Dawkins’s Climbing Mount Improbable Deconstructing Dennett’s Darwin Introduction Adaptation Adaptation and Teleology Deconstruction Notes Is Science Biologically Possible? Comments on Some Arguments of Patricia Churchland and of Alvin Plantinga Acknowledgment Notes Review of Steven Pinker’s How the Mind Works and Henry Plotkin’s Evolution in Mind Computation Massive modularity Innateness Psychological Darwinism. (shrink)
"Twin earth" examples have motivated a number of proposals for the lexicography of kind terms in natural languages. It is argued that these proposals create unacceptable difficulties for the analysis of de dicto propositional attitudes. A conservative solution of the twin earth problems is then proposed according to which they reflect pragmatic features of language use rather than semantic features of lexical content.