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Topic: Jerry Fodor

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In the News (Mon 18 Jun 18)

 The Mind Doesn’t Work That Way: the scope and limits of computational psychology   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-20)
Fodor’s sensibilities are affronted by the relentless optimism of these writers in claiming to know "how the mind works", by the way they preach hard-headedness while bluntly neglecting complex issues in philosophy of science, and by the prospect of their politicized phylogenetic speculations coming to dominate public perceptions of cognitive science.
Fodor’s caution about the hype around evolutionary psychology, then, is a salutory if (as he says) "jaundiced" corrective to a bewilderingly rapid consensus, and it doesn’t spring from the ignorance of biology of which he’s occasionally accused.
Fodor notes that CTM was never meant to apply only to valid inferences, but accepts that attempts to extend the program to cover "all sorts of inferences that are heuristically reliable though not valid (and, for that matter, all sorts of tempting but fallacious inferences)" have not been successful in practice (p.108).
cogprints.org /1360/00/Fodorreview.htm   (2069 words)

 Fodor's Frame Problem and Relevance Theory
Fodor concludes that "the frame problem is too important to leave it to the hackers" (p.148), and Hayes retorts that "Fodor doesn't know the frame problem from a bunch of bananas" (Hayes 1987: 132).
Fodor argues that "modular cognitive processing is ipso facto irrational" in that it arrives at conclusions "by attending to less than all the evidence that is relevant and available" (Fodor 1987: 139-140).
Fodor's rationality is a purely epistemic matter: the only utility is truth, and no price is too high to pay to increase the chances that your beliefs are true.
www.dan.sperber.com /frame.htm   (2411 words)

 LINGUIST List 6.737: "The Elm and the Expert" Jerry Fodor (1994)
Fodor now wants to hold, though, that broad characterisation of content, which he has come to see as essential to informational theories, is compatible with computational explanation, and in fact that narrow descriptions of content are superfluous; so these kinds of arguments must be refuted.
Fodor's approach is to exploit the relationship between the notion of nomological possibility and the idea that semantics, on the informational view which he derives from Dretske, is to be characterised via counterfactuals.
Fodor's strategy is to show that we can find the latter ontology to be inconsistent with an informant's language use if we know what inferences he accepts, and that he does not interpret terms ambiguously.
www.linguistlist.org /issues/6/6-737.html   (1698 words)

The first chapter sets the background by sketching Fodor’s representational/computational theory of the mind (RTM), according to which thinking is computation, the contents of mental states explain their computational roles, and mental representations are the primitive bearers of content (7-10).
Fodor suggests that there are various ways in which this can happen, but all we get is a schema of a possible story.
According to Fodor, learning can only involve hypothesis formation (evidently feature detection, pattern recognition, and abstraction can’t result in learning), but that would require using the very concepts supposedly to be learned, since lexical concepts don’t have constituent concepts in terms of which the relevant hypotheses would be couched (124).
online.sfsu.edu /~kbach/Fodorreview.htm   (2245 words)

 Sutherland reviews Fodor (2000)
Jerry Fodor, the author of The Mind Doesn't Work That Way, could also be classified as a consciousness mysterian, but then so would his opponent Steven Pinker, who's How the Mind Works is the explicit target of this short polemic.
Fodor is proud to nail his own philosophical colours to the mast as an Enlightenment rationalist and describes the theories of his empiricist opponents as 'appalling'.
Fodor describes the argument that cognitive nativism necessarily implies Darwinism as an indication of the politicisation of science.
cogweb.ucla.edu /Abstracts/Sutherland_on_Fodor_00.html   (1723 words)

 Review by C.D. Green of J.A. Fodor's _In Critical Condition_ (1998).
As he has for decades, Fodor attempts here to steer a middle course between those who would reject scientific naturalism as a basis for the study of mind, and those who would have it that the only truly scientific study of mind is one that reduces it to something else (e.g., physiology, physics).
Here Fodor defends against a variety of alternatives the position for which he is best-known (some would say notorious), viz., that we have no plausible theory of concept-learning; indeed we seem so far from a solution that we are better off concluding that most concepts are innate.
Fodor tries to show why various popular attempts to dodge the problem -- such as converting concept-knowledge into some sort of "capacity" (e.g., to use the concept in question, or to recognize instances of it) -- are not able to handle even basic problems that concept-learning and concept-possession pose.
www.yorku.ca /christo/papers/Fodor-review.htm   (1075 words)

 Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind - Fodor, Jerry A.   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-20)
Fodor is also an ardent critic of connectionist models of cognitive phenomena, arguing that they cannot account for the rationality of thought.
This criticism is bolstered by Fodor’s endorsement of the strict separation of psychology from neuroscience.
According to Fodor, the neurological properties of the brain are irrelevant to its cognitive properties.
philosophy.uwaterloo.ca /MindDict/fodor.html   (337 words)

 Jerry Fodor   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-20)
Their chief coup was hiring Jerry Fodor and attaching him to the cognitive science department as well as the philosophy department.
Fodor (who is now a close friend) is a gentle man inside a burly body, and prone to an even burlier style of arguing.
Fodor is also critical of the connectionist models of cognitive phenomena, arguing that they cannot account for the rationality of thought.
xtro1666.tripod.com /jerry_fodor.htm   (699 words)

 Review of Fodor, Psychosemantics
Fodor's tactical proposal is well worth adopting in the spirit of scientific opportunism: try for the boldest, simplest, most satisfying theory first, and see where it leads you.
Finally, Fodor is too wise to think his series of arguments can flat disprove the claims of the opposition, so time and again he resorts to claims about shifting the burden of proof, begging the question, outsmarting by embracing the conclusions of reductios, and other exploitations of the Rules of the Game.
Fodor mostly plays solitaire burden-tennis, against an imaginary opponent often personified as Granny or Aunty, which permits him to express the opposition view in terms that suit his rebuttal, without having to address the issue of whether this is a sympathetic rendering of any real opponent's claims.
ase.tufts.edu /cogstud/papers/fodor.htm   (1939 words)

 Jerry Fodor
Jerry Fodor is a philosopher at Rutgers University, New Jersey, and a major proponent of functionalism and opponent of inferential role semantics.
The serious answer to that question is that it could be rational by being a sort of proof-theoretic device, that is, by being a mechanism that has representational capacities – mental states that represent states of the world – and that can operate on these mental states by virtue of its syntactical properties.
Fodor believes that the neurological properties of the brain are irrelevant to its cognitive properties.
www.machineslikeus.com /People/Fodor_Jerry.html   (381 words)

 Keith Harris reviews 'The Mind Doesn't Work That Way' by Jerry Fodor
Fodor initiates the central skirmish of this book by tracing a dividing line between Chomsky’s nativism and the so-called New Synthesis Psychology, of which Steven Pinker and Henry Plotkin are pioneers.
According to Fodor’s views, whereas Chomsky based his ideas about the innate nature of language in epistemology, the New Synthesis approaches language from a cognitive and computational direction and attempts to connect language to the ideas of evolutionary psychology in order to establish a global theory of human nature.
Fodor claims that if cognitive inferences (processes) are largely abductive, which they seem to be, then massive modularity (a central claim of the New Synthesis) is simply unsupportable.
human-nature.com /nibbs/02/harris.html   (1629 words)

 Jerry Fodor & Co.   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-20)
Fodor is quite amenable to having his nativism be explained by a genetically inherited computational functionalism, much as Chomsky has been with his innate grammar.
Once Fodor calls himself a reductionist [but only at heart, too many other things going on] which might square with his computational functionalism, but more frequently he speaks of his rationalism, something not normally considered mechanical or naturalistic.
Fodor is a long time defender of mentalese or the language of thought hypothesis (LOTH).
home.comcast.net /~dantsmith/next76.htm   (625 words)

 Book review of Jerry Fodor   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-20)
Fodor is widely known as the man who defended: 1.
Fodor then devotes a chapter to explaining why he doesn't found convincing that the computational model of cognition can be integrated with a Darwinian model of evolution, in other words that the innate knowledge comes from adaptation.
Fodor wrote a reminder that Pinker and Plotkin may have found analogies between philosophy, psychology and biology, but analogies do not make a new science.
www.thymos.com /mind/fodor.html   (287 words)

 Amazon.com: The Mind Doesn't Work That Way: Books: Jerry Fodor   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-20)
Fodor believes that humans are very good at this, but that the current "modular" approach pursued by cognitive scientists and evolutionary psychologists cannot explain how humans could be good at this.
Fodor approaches the topic of psychology and computers from a logician's standpoint, which is to say he makes some really bad, sweeping assumptions then uses really high level logic to prove that reality doesn't exist.
Fodor argues that while "computational" models of the mind (roughly, theories that the mind is just a computer) may be able to explain how the mind's modules work, they fail to explain how the mind's central processor works.
www.amazon.com /Mind-Doesnt-Work-That-Way/dp/0262062127   (2908 words)

 The Language of Thought Hypothesis (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
For instance, it may be that, as with nomic covariation theories of meaning (Fodor 1987, 1990a; Dretske 1981), the meaning of an atomic predicate may consist in its potential to get tokened in the presence of (or, in causal response to) something that instantiates the property the predicate is said to express.
According to Fodor, if a propositional attitude is an actual episode in one's reasoning that plays a causal role, then LOTH is committed to explicit representation of its content, which is as per (A2 and B2) causally implicated in the physical process realizing that reasoning.
When Jerry Fodor published his influential book, The Language of Thought, in (1975), he called LOTH "the only game in town." As we have seen, it was the philosophical articulation of the assumptions that underlay the new developments in "cognitive sciences" after the demise of behaviorism.
plato.stanford.edu /entries/language-thought   (12150 words)

 Battle for the Mind: Jerry Fodor, Howard Gardner, John Searle
In contrast and in addition, Fodor argues that in the mind there are also central systems, which are non-modular in respect of each of the three defining characteristics.
According to Fodor, central processes of thinking and belief formation are not (contrary to the trend in A.l.) specialized to particular subject matter, but are quite properly regarded as areas of general intelligence.
Fodor's work is fascinating and controversial, like most of the New Mentalism and the New Organology (so called by Oxford neuroscientist John Marshall, on the strength of Chomsky's and Fodor's talk of 'mental organs').
www.selectedworks.co.uk /battleforthemind.html   (4892 words)

 Amazon.ca: The Modularity of Mind: Books: Jerry A. Fodor   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-20)
Jerry A. Fodor is Professor of Psychology and Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at MIT.
Fodor's short book made "faculty psychology" respectable again and has generated a large literature in psychology, philosophy, and linguistics.
A central thesis of Fodor's book is that these modules are "informationally encapsulated" -- that is, the modules do their work without being able to access the beliefs that the person has.
www.amazon.ca /Modularity-Mind-Jerry-Fodor/dp/0262560259   (841 words)

 Welcome to Adobe GoLive 5
Fodor is lead to this conclusion because he implicitly makes one other very large assumption, along with his explicit assumption that concepts compose.
Fodor ignores the unpopular status of definitional theories and delivers a lengthy argument against the existence of definitions, (complicated, but probably interesting for those acquainted with linguistic and philosophical arguments for definitions).
Fodor has ignored the fact that both imagination and memory are critical to cognition.
www.cognitivesciencesociety.org /newsletter/June01/fodrev.html   (3490 words)

 Amazon.de: Hume Variations (Lines of Thought): English Books: Jerry A. Fodor   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-20)
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.
Fodor discusses such key topics as the distinction between 'simple' and 'complex' ideas, the thesis that an idea is some kind of picture, and the roles that 'association' and 'imagination' play in cognitive processes.
He argues that the theory of ideas, as Hume develops it, is both historically and ideologically continuous with the representational theory of mind as it is now widely endorsed by cognitive scientists.
www.amazon.de /Hume-Variations-Jerry-Fodor/dp/0199287333   (526 words)

 Wikinfo | Jerry Fodor
Jerry Allan Fodor is a philosopher at Rutgers University, New Jersey.
He is the author of many groundbreaking books in the fields of philosophy of mind and cognitive science, where he laid the groundwork for the modularity of mind and the language of thought thesis.
Images, some of which are used under the doctrine of Fair use or used with permission, may not be available.
www.wikinfo.org /wiki.php?title=Jerry_Fodor   (262 words)

 Fodor,Jerry Books - Signed, used, new, out-of-print
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.
In this engaging book, Jerry Fodor argues against the widely held view that mental processes are largely computations, that the architecture of cognition is massively modular, and that the explanation of our innate mental structure is basically Darwinian.
Doing philosophy, according to Jerry Fodor, is like piloting: The trick is to find an object of known position and locate yourself with respect to it.
www.alibris.com /search/books/author/Fodor,Jerry   (600 words)

 Psyche 8(07): 'How to Compose Contents: A Review of Jerry Fodor's In Critical Condition: Polemical Essays on ...
In Fodor's recent book you learn why compositionality is the critical condition for a hell lot of theories which up to date have been dominating their disciplines.
Goodinstancehood does, however, not distribute, as Fodor calls it: If something is a good instance of red hair, it need not to be a good instance of red and of hair, and usually is not.
Notice that Fodor really is in need for a good argument in favor of constituency relations as a requirement for systematicity, and hence compositionality.
psyche.cs.monash.edu.au /v8/psyche-8-07-werning.html   (3313 words)

 Granny's Campaign for Safe Science
Fodor is justly renowned as a philosophical champion of cognitive science, but if you look closely you will note that he is its champion only so long as it hews the traditional line.
Fodor's first broadside against AI, in "Tom Swift and his Procedural Grandmother" (1978) set the tone and method for his later attacks: a priori "refutations" of what might charitably be called rational reconstructions or idealizations of the actual claims of his targets.
Jerry's Granny is not to be confused with his Aunty, who "speaks with the voice of the Establishment" (1987, p.135), and turns out to be a "New Connectionist Groupie" (p.139).
ase.tufts.edu /cogstud/papers/granny.htm   (3507 words)

 LINGUIST List 6.756: Elm review
We might need a bit)more convincing that Fodor is fully entitled to his assumption)that the semantics of sentential connectives come "for free".
It doesn't really matter what the components of the compound are (with provisos about their being short enough so that the whole can be successfully comprehended) -- they don't even have to be observation sentences.
Fodor's (1994) attempt at a reconciliation of informational semantics and computational psychology is stated from an ontological perspective which, taken at its face value, is not very informative: the world is a policeman that keeps computations and referential content in order, i.e.
www.ling.ed.ac.uk /linguist/issues/6/6-756.html   (470 words)

 Mind Hacks: Fodor vs Pinker scrap continues
Philosopher Jerry Fodor and cognitive scientist Stephen Pinker are continuing their tussle over the structure of the mind in a recently published exchange.
Pinker wrote a book in 1999 entitled 'How the Mind Works' which argues that the mind can be understood as a computational or information processing device.
Fodor dismissed most of these ideas in 2000 with a book entitled 'The Mind Doesn't Work that Way' and the two have carried on their dispute in a recent edition of the journal Mind and Language.
www.mindhacks.com /blog/2005/02/fodor_vs_pinker_scra.html   (308 words)

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