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  1. Language of thought hypothesis: State of the art.Murat Aydede - manuscript
    [This is an earlier (1997), much longer and more detailed version of my entry on LOTH in the _Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy_] The Language of Thought Hypothesis (LOTH) is an empirical thesis about thought and thinking. For their explication, it postulates a physically realized system of representations that have a combinatorial syntax (and semantics) such that operations on representations are causally sensitive only to the syntactic properties of representations. According to LOTH, thought is, roughly, the tokening of a representation that (...)
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  2. Revealing the language of thought.Brent Silby - manuscript
    Language of thought theories fall primarily into two views. The first view sees the language of thought as an innate language known as mentalese, which is hypothesized to operate at a level below conscious awareness while at the same time operating at a higher level than the neural events in the brain. The second view supposes that the language of thought is not innate. Rather, the language of thought is natural language. So, as an English speaker, my language of thought (...)
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  3. How Naturalists Can Give Internalists What They Really Want (or Need!).Louise Antony - 2023 - In Luis R. G. Oliveira (ed.), Externalism about Knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 332-50.
    Epistemological internalists have a problem about perceptual knowledge: how can perceptual experience both provide faithful information about the external world and justification for empirical belief? This is Sellars’s famous problem about “the given.” Chapter 12 argues, first, that this problem is not just for internalists—a version of it arises for naturalistic externalists. But, second, it argues that the problem can be solved within naturalistic bounds, by appealing to a category of causal relations called “intelligible causation.”.
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  4. Is evidence of language-like properties evidence of a language-of-thought architecture?Nuhu Osman Attah & Edouard Machery - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e264.
    We argue that Quilty-Dunn et al.'s commitment to representational pluralism undermines their case for the language-of-thought hypothesis as the evidence they present is consistent with the operation of the other representational formats that they are willing to accept.
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  5. Is meaning cognized?David Balcarras - 2023 - Mind and Language 38 (5):1276-1295.
    In this article, I defend an account of linguistic comprehension on which meaning is not cognized, or on which we do not tacitly know our language's semantics. On this view, sentence comprehension is explained instead by our capacity to translate sentences into the language of thought. I explain how this view can explain our capacity to correctly interpret novel utterances, and then I defend it against several standing objections.
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  6. The Boolean Language of Thought is recoverable from learning data.Fausto Carcassi & Jakub Szymanik - 2023 - Cognition 239 (C):105541.
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  7. The computational and the representational language-of-thought hypotheses.David J. Chalmers - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e269.
    There are two versions of the language-of-thought hypothesis (LOT): Representational LOT (roughly, structured representation), introduced by Ockham, and computational LOT (roughly, symbolic computation) introduced by Fodor. Like many others, I oppose the latter but not the former. Quilty-Dunn et al. defend representational LOT, but they do not defend the strong computational LOT thesis central to the classical-connectionist debate.
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  8. Concept learning in a probabilistic language-of-thought. How is it possible and what does it presuppose?Matteo Colombo - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e271.
    Where does a probabilistic language-of-thought (PLoT) come from? How can we learn new concepts based on probabilistic inferences operating on a PLoT? Here, I explore these questions, sketching a traditional circularity objection to LoT and canvassing various approaches to addressing it. I conclude that PLoT-based cognitive architectures can support genuine concept learning; but, currently, it is unclear that they enjoy more explanatory breadth in relation to concept learning than alternative architectures that do not posit any LoT.
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  9. Animal thought exceeds language-of-thought.Angelica Kaufmann & Albert Newen - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e279.
    Quilty-Dunn et al. claim that all complex infant and animal reasoning implicate language-of-thought hypothesis (LOTH)-like structures. We agree with the authors that the mental life of animals can be explained in representationalist terms, but we disagree with their idea that the complexity of mental representations is best explained by appealing to abstract concepts, and instead, we explain that it doesn't need to.
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  10. Stop me if you've heard this one before: The Chomskyan hammer and the Skinnerian nail.Alex Madva - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:52-54.
    This piece is a comment on Quilty-Dunn, Jake, Nicolas Porot, and Eric Mandelbaum. 2023. “The Best Game in Town: The Reemergence of the Language-of-Thought Hypothesis across the Cognitive Sciences.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46: e261. -/- The target article signal boosts important ongoing work across the cognitive sciences. However, its theoretical claims, generative value, and purported contributions are – where not simply restatements of arguments extensively explored elsewhere – imprecise, noncommittal, and underdeveloped to a degree that makes them difficult to (...)
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  11. The language-of-thought hypothesis as a working hypothesis in cognitive science.Jake Quilty-Dunn, Nicolas Porot & Eric Mandelbaum - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e292.
    The target article attempted to draw connections between broad swaths of evidence by noticing a common thread: Abstract, symbolic, compositional codes, that is, language-of-thoughts (LoTs). Commentators raised concerns about the evidence and offered fascinating extensions to areas we overlooked. Here we respond and highlight the many specific empirical questions to be answered in the next decade and beyond.
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  12. The best game in town: The reemergence of the language-of-thought hypothesis across the cognitive sciences.Jake Quilty-Dunn, Nicolas Porot & Eric Mandelbaum - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e261.
    Mental representations remain the central posits of psychology after many decades of scrutiny. However, there is no consensus about the representational format(s) of biological cognition. This paper provides a survey of evidence from computational cognitive psychology, perceptual psychology, developmental psychology, comparative psychology, and social psychology, and concludes that one type of format that routinely crops up is the language-of-thought (LoT). We outline six core properties of LoTs: (i) discrete constituents; (ii) role-filler independence; (iii) predicate–argument structure; (iv) logical operators; (v) inferential (...)
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  13. Language-of-thought hypothesis: Wrong, but sometimes useful?Adina L. Roskies & Colin Allen - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e288.
    Quilty-Dunn et al. maintain that language-of-thought hypothesis (LoTH) is the best game in town. We counter that LoTH is merely one source of models – always wrong, sometimes useful. Their reasons for liking LoTH are compatible with the view that LoTH provides a sometimes pragmatically useful level of abstraction over processes and mechanisms that fail to fully live up to LoT requirements.
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  14. How the Idea of the Language of Thought Is Evaluated by Wittgenstein?Hossein Shaqaqi - 2023 - Journal of Philosophical Investigations 17 (44):448-466.
    In Philosophical investigations, Wittgenstein criticizes many classical and contemporary philosophical theories about language. Here, with a brief presentation of what is called as the theory of "language of thought" (or mentalese), I will try to show why this theory is also rejected by Wittgenstein's conception of language. For this purpose, my efforts will be focused on answering these questions, according to Wittgenstein: What is called "thought" and what is its relation with language? Is thought a purely mental process? Is language (...)
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  15. Can There be Thought Without Words?—Donald Davidson on Language and Animal Minds.Diana Couto - 2022 - Topoi 41 (3):587-598.
    In a couple of short papers, Donald Davidson holds that a creature cannot think unless it is the interpreter of the speech of another. At first blush, speaking a language is, therefore, a necessary condition for thought. His controversial claims has led many to regard him as a follower of the Cartesian tradition wherein languageless creatures are nothing but mindless machines. Against this widely shared interpretation, in this paper we put forward a more charitable interpretation of Davidson’s claims. According to (...)
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  16. Talking About: An Intentionalist Theory of Reference.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2022 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Combining new insights from cognitive science and speech act theory, Unnsteinsson develops a compelling theory of singular reference which avoids well-known puzzles. The theory, Edenic intentionalism, is grounded in a mechanistic perspective on explanation in cognitive science and a new Gricean account of speaker meaning and speaker reference.
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  17. Pluralistic Attitude-Explanation and the Mechanisms of Intentional Action.Daniel Burnston - 2021 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility Volume 7. Oxford University Press. pp. 130-153.
    According to the Causal Theory of Action (CTA), genuine actions are individuated by their causal history. Actions are bodily movements that are causally explained by citing the agent’s reasons. Reasons are then explained as some combination of propositional attitudes – beliefs, desires, and/or intentions. The CTA is thus committed to realism about the attitudes. This paper explores current models of decision-making from the mind sciences, and argues that it is far from obvious how to locate the propositional attitudes in the (...)
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  18. Some theoretical and empirical background to Fodor’s systematicity arguments.Kenneth Aizawa - 2020 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 35 (1):29-43.
    This paper aims to clarify certain features of the systematicity arguments by a review of some of the largely underexamined background in Chomsky’s and Fodor’s early work on transformational grammar.
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  19. What would it mean for natural language to be the language of thought?Gabe Dupre - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (4):773-812.
    Traditional arguments against the identification of the language of thought with natural language assume a picture of natural language which is largely inconsistent with that suggested by contemporary linguistic theory. This has led certain philosophers and linguists to suggest that this identification is not as implausible as it once seemed. In this paper, I discuss the prospects for such an identification in light of these developments in linguistic theory. I raise a new challenge against the identification thesis: the existence of (...)
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  20. Jenny Pelletier et Magali Roques (eds.), The Language of Thought in Late Medieval Philosophy: essays in honor of Claude Panaccio, s.l. : Springer, 2017, 463 pages. [REVIEW]Aline Medeiros Ramos - 2020 - Studia Philosophica – Revue Suisse de Philosophie 79:216-219.
  21. Can Compositionality Solve the Thought-or-Language Problem?Raquel Krempel - 2019 - Philosophical Papers 48 (2):265-291.
    Jerry Fodor has claimed to have a solution to the traditional problem of what comes first, thought or language. Compositionality, he says, will give us the answer, for at least one must be compositional, and if only one of them is, that is the one that has underived semantic content. He argues that natural languages are not compositional, and therefore that the content of language is derived from the content of thought. I will argue that the idea that language is (...)
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  22. Emotional Intentionality and the Attitude‐Content Distinction.Jonathan Mitchell - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (2):359-386.
    Typical emotions share important features with paradigmatic intentional states, and therefore might admit of distinctions made in theory of intentionality. One such distinction is between attitude and content, where we can specify the content of an intentional state separately from its attitude, and therefore the same content can be taken up by different intentional attitudes. According to some philosophers, emotions do not admit of this distinction, although there has been no sustained argument for this claim. In this article, I argue (...)
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  23. Talking our way to systematicity.Léa Salje - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (10):2563-2588.
    Do we think in a language-like format? Taking the marker of language-like formats to be the property of unconstrained systematicity, this paper considers the following master argument for the claim that we do: language is unconstrainedly systematic, if language is unconstrainedly systematic then so is thought, so thought is unconstrainedly systematic. It is easy to feel that there is something right about this argument, that there will be some way of filling in its details that will vindicate the idea that (...)
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  24. The Language of Thought: A New Philosophical Direction, by Susan Schneider.Mark Sprevak - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):555-564.
    The Language of Thought: A New Philosophical Direction, by SchneiderSusan. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011. Pp. xii + 259.
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  25. Shared modes of presentation.Simon Prosser - 2018 - Mind and Language 34 (4):465-482.
    What is it for two people to think of an object, natural kind or other entity under the same mode of presentation (MOP)? This has seemed a particularly difficult question for advocates of the Mental Files approach, the Language of Thought, or other ‘atomistic’ theories. In this paper I propose a simple answer. I first argue that, by parallel with the synchronic intrapersonal case, the sharing of a MOP should involve a certain kind of epistemic transparency between the token thoughts (...)
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  26. Language of Thought.Murat Aydede - 2017 - Oxford Bibliographies Online.
  27. The Language of Thought in Late Medieval Philosophy: Essays in Honor of Claude Panaccio.Jenny E. Pelletier & Magali Roques (eds.) - 2017 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
    This edited volume presents new lines of research dealing with the language of thought and its philosophical implications in the time of Ockham. It features more than 20 essays that also serve as a tribute to the ground-breaking work of a leading expert in late medieval philosophy: Claude Panaccio. Coverage addresses topics in the philosophy of mind and cognition, concepts, logic and language, action theory, and more. A distinctive feature of this work is that it brings together contributions in both (...)
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  28. Do Nonhuman Animals Have a Language of Thought?Beck Jacob - 2017 - In Kristin Andrews & Jacob Beck (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds. Routledge.
    Because we humans speak a public language, there has always been a special reason to suppose that we have a language of thought. For nonhuman animals, this special reason is missing, and the issue is less straightforward. On the one hand, there is evidence of various types of nonlinguistic representations, such as analog magnitude representations, which can explain many types of intelligent behavior. But on the other hand, the mere fact that some aspects of animal cognition can be explained by (...)
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  29. When Fodor Met Frege.Jonathan Berg - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (2):467-476.
    In the third chapter of LOT 2—"LOT Meets Frege's Problem "—Jerry Fodor argues that LOT provides a solution to "Frege's Problem," as well as to Kripke's Paderewski puzzle . I argue that most of what Fodor says in his discussion of Frege's problem is mistaken.
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  30. Mind, Language and Subjectivity: Minimal Content and the Theory of Thought.Nicholas Georgalis - 2015 - New York: Routledge.
    In this monograph Nicholas Georgalis further develops his important work on minimal content, recasting and providing novel solutions to several of the fundamental problems faced by philosophers of language. His theory defends and explicates the importance of ‘thought-tokens’ and minimal content and their many-to-one relation to linguistic meaning, challenging both ‘externalist’ accounts of thought and the solutions to philosophical problems of language they inspire. The concepts of idiolect, use, and statement made are critically discussed, and a classification of kinds of (...)
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  31. Chapter 6. Thought and Language.Gilbert Harman - 2015 - In Thought. Princeton University Press. pp. 84-111.
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  32. Mental Language in Aquinas?Joshua P. Hochschild - 2015 - In Gyula Klima (ed.), Intentionality, Cognition, and Mental Representation in Medieval Philosophy. New York: Fordham University. pp. 29-45.
    Ockham is usually considered the first to hold a proper theory of mental language, but Aquinas is willing to call the concept, or the act of intellect by which something is understood, a verbum mentis or “mental word.” This essay explores the sense in which Aquinas regarded concepts as language-like. It argues that Aquinas's understanding of concepts and their objects meant that his application of syntactic and semantic analysis to them did not and could not lead in the direction of (...)
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  33. Attitude, Inference, Association: On the Propositional Structure of Implicit Bias.Eric Mandelbaum - 2015 - Noûs 50 (3):629-658.
    The overwhelming majority of those who theorize about implicit biases posit that these biases are caused by some sort of association. However, what exactly this claim amounts to is rarely specified. In this paper, I distinguish between different understandings of association, and I argue that the crucial senses of association for elucidating implicit bias are the cognitive structure and mental process senses. A hypothesis is subsequently derived: if associations really underpin implicit biases, then implicit biases should be modulated by counterconditioning (...)
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  34. Practical Senses.Carlotta Pavese - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15.
    In their theories of know how, proponents of Intellectualism routinely appeal to ‘practical modes of presentation’. But what are practical modes of presentation? And what makes them distinctively practical? In this essay, I develop a Fregean account of practical modes of presentation: I argue that there are such things as practical senses and I give a theory of what they are. One of the challenges facing the proponent of a distinctively Fregean construal of practical modes of presentation is to provide (...)
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  35. Sense, Mentalese, and Ontology.Jacob Beck - 2013 - ProtoSociology 30:29-48.
    Modes of presentation are often posited to accommodate Frege’s puzzle. Philosophers differ, however, in whether they follow Frege in identifying modes of presentation with Fregean senses, or instead take them to be formally individuated symbols of “Mentalese”. Building on Fodor, Margolis and Laurence defend the latter view by arguing that the mind-independence of Fregean senses renders them ontologically suspect in a way that Mentalese symbols are not. This paper shows how Fregeans can withstand this objection. Along the way, a clearer (...)
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  36. The crosstalk hypothesis: Why language interferes with driving.Benjamin Bergen, Nathan Medeiros-Ward, Kathryn Wheeler, Frank Drews & David Strayer - 2013 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 142 (1):119.
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  37. Inexplicit Thoughts.Christopher Gauker - 2013 - In Laurence Goldstein (ed.), Brevity. Oxford University Press. pp. 74-90.
    It is often assumed that, though we may speak in sentences that express propositions only inexplicitly, our thoughts must express their propositional contents explicitly. This paper argues that, on the contrary, thoughts too may be inexplicit. Inexplicit thoughts may effectively drive behavior inasmuch as they rest on a foundation of imagistic cognition. The paper also sketches an approach to semantic theory that accommodates inexplicitness in mental representations as well as in spoken sentences.
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  38. Language and thought.Laurent Jaffro - 2013 - In James A. Harris (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century. Oxford University Press. pp. 128.
    This chapter set outs the variety of eighteenth-century approaches to the relations between language and thought, beginning with post-Lockean debates focused on the status of abstract general ideas, and ending with anti-empiricist Scottish philosophy at the end of the century. The empiricist theory of signs, notably in George Berkeley, is one important dimension of the discussions: ‘Ideas’ are centre stage, although they do not exhaust the empiricist furniture of the mind. There is also a different philosophical trend illustrated by neglected (...)
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  39. The visual language of thought: Fodor vs. Pylyshyn.Víctor Martín Verdejo Aparicio - 2012 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):59-74.
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  40. LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited. By Jerry A. Fodor.Raj Nath Bhat - 2012 - The European Legacy 17 (3):400 - 401.
    The European Legacy, Volume 17, Issue 3, Page 400-401, June 2012.
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  41. Is even thought compositional?Lenny Clapp - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (2):299-322.
    Fodor (Mind Lang 16:1–15, 2001 ) endorses the mixed view that thought, yet not language, is compositional. That is, Fodor accepts the arguments of radical pragmatics that language is not compositional, but he claims these arguments do not apply to thought. My purpose here is to evaluate this mixed position: Assuming that the radical pragmaticists are right that language is not compositional, what arguments can be provided in support of the claim that thought is compositional? Before such arguments can be (...)
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  42. Concepts in context.Andrea Onofri - 2012 - Dissertation, University of St. Andrews
    My thesis tackles two related problems that have taken center stage in the recent literature on concepts: • What are the individuation conditions of concepts? Under what conditions is a concept C₁ the same concept as a concept C₂? • What are the possession conditions of concepts? What conditions must be satisfied for a thinker to have a concept C? I will develop a pluralist and contextualist theory of concept individuation and possession: different concepts have different individuation and possession conditions, (...)
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  43. The 'theory theory' of mind and the aims of Sellars' original myth of Jones.James R. O’Shea - 2012 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (2):175-204.
    Recent proponents of the ‘theory theory’ of mind often trace its roots back to Wilfrid Sellars’ famous ‘myth of Jones’ in his 1956 article, ‘Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind’. Sellars developed an account of the intersubjective basis of our knowledge of the inner mental states of both self and others, an account which included the claim that such knowledge is in some sense theoretical knowledge. This paper examines the nature of this claim in Sellars’ original account and its relationship (...)
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  44. Is the Mystery of Thought Demystified by Context‐Dependent Categorisation? Towards a New Relation Between Language and Thought.Michael S. C. Thomas, Harry R. M. Purser & Denis Mareschal - 2012 - Mind and Language 27 (5):595-618.
    We argue that are no such things as literal categories in human cognition. Instead, we argue that there are merely temporary coalescences of dimensions of similarity, which are brought together by context in order to create the similarity structure in mental representations appropriate for the task at hand. Fodor contends that context‐sensitive cognition cannot be realised by current computational theories of mind. We address this challenge by describing a simple computational implementation that exhibits internal knowledge representations whose similarity structure alters (...)
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  45. The Waning of Materialism. Edited by R. Koons and G. Bealer. (OUP 2010). [REVIEW]David Yates - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (247):420-422.
  46. Robert Brandoms expressive Vernunft: historische und systematische Untersuchungen.Christian Barth & Holger Sturm (eds.) - 2011 - Paderborn: Mentis.
  47. The language of thought: still a game in town?Antoni Gomila Benejam - 2011 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):145-155.
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  48. Mental Maps1.Ben Blumson - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):413-434.
    It's often hypothesized that the structure of mental representation is map-like rather than language-like. The possibility arises as a counterexample to the argument from the best explanation of productivity and systematicity to the language of thought hypothesis—the hypothesis that mental structure is compositional and recursive. In this paper, I argue that the analogy with maps does not undermine the argument, because maps and language have the same kind of compositional and recursive structure.
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  49. LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited. [REVIEW]Michael O’Sullivan - 2011 - Disputatio 4 (30):199-204.
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  50. The Language of Thought: A New Philosophical Direction.Susan Schneider - 2011 - MIT Press.
    A philosophical refashioning of the Language of Thought approach and the related computational theory of mind.
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