The Mind Doesn't Work That Way by Jerry A. Fodor

By Jerry A. Fodor

During this attractive booklet, Jerry Fodor argues opposed to the generally held view that psychological tactics are mostly computations, that the structure of cognition is hugely modular, and that the reason of our innate psychological constitution is largely Darwinian. even though Fodor has praised the computational thought of brain because the most sensible concept of cognition that we've got, he considers it to be just a fragment of the reality. in reality, he claims, cognitive scientists don't relatively understand a lot but approximately how the brain works (the book's identify refers to Steve Pinker's How the brain Works).Fodor's basic target is to discover the connection between computational and modular theories of brain, nativism, and evolutionary psychology. alongside the way in which, he explains how Chomsky's model of nativism differs from that of the commonly bought New Synthesis strategy. He concludes that even if we haven't any grounds to think that the majority of the brain is modular, we haven't any thought how nonmodular cognition may possibly paintings. therefore, in keeping with Fodor, cognitive technological know-how has hardly ever gotten all started.

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Probably everybody who thinks that mental states have any sort of structure that’s specifiable in functional terms qualifies as a modularity theorist in this diluted sense. I guess that leaves out only behaviorists and Gibsonians (who think there aren’t any mental states), connectionists (who think that yes there are, but they don’t have How Many Modules? 57 any structure), and reductionists (who think that yes they do, but their individuation is neurological). In contrast to all of these, I shall simply take it for granted that cognition is typically the interaction of many functionally individuated parts, and use “modularity thesis” as the name of something more tendentious.

Likewise, mutatis mutandis, for the information specified by GLT. In contrast, what I’m trying to converge on is a notion of modularity-cum-domain-specificity that does connect with issues of that kind. Implicit in the conversation so far is a distinction between modularity theories according to which domain specificity is primarily a property of information and modularity theories according to which it isn’t. The latter kind generally take domain specificity to be a property of processes. I think this is a step in a useful direction; but the connection between modularity and domain specificity remains less than obvious even if you are prepared to take it.

Abduction and Connectionism The immediately preceding discussion ran on two assumptions: First, that the appearance of global effects in cognition needs to be taken seriously. I’m quite prepared to admit that it may yet turn out that all cognitive processes reduce to local ones, and hence that abductive inference is after all achieved in some way that Classical computational psychology can accommodate. But nothing of the sort is currently on offer, and I wouldn’t advise your holding your breath.

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