Language of thought hypothesis: State of the art

Abstract

[This is an earlier, 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 has a syntactic (constituent) structure with an appropriate semantics. Thinking thus consists in syntactic operations defined over representations. Most of the arguments for LOTH derive their strength from their ability to explain certain empirical phenomena like productivity, systematicity of thought and thinking.

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Author's Profile

Murat Aydede
University of British Columbia