On Fodor's The Mind Doesn't Work That Way
Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):551-562 (2002)
AbstractThe "New Synthesis" in cognitive science is committed to the computational theory of mind (CTM), massive modularity, nativism, and adaptationism. In The mind doesn't work that way , Jerry Fodor argues that CTM has problems explaining abductive or global inference, but that the New Synthesis offers no solution, since massive modularity is in fact incompatible with global cognitive processes. I argue that it is not clear how global human mentation is, so whether CTM is imperiled is an open question. Massive modularity also lacks some of the invidious commitments Fodor ascribes to it. Furthermore, Fodor's anti-adaptationist arguments are in tension with his nativism about the contents of modular systems. The New Synthesis thus has points worth preserving.
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