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Mentalese Not Spoken Here: Computation, Cognition and Causation


Garfield, JL, Mentalese Not Spoken Here: Computation, Cognition and Causation, Philosophical Psychology, 10, (4) pp. 413-435. ISSN 0951-5089 (1997) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/09515089708573231


Classical computational modellers of mind urge that the mind is something like a von Neumann computer operating over a system of symbols constituting a language of thought. Such an architecture, they argue, presents us with the best explanation of the compositionality, systematicity and productivity of thought. The language of thought hypothesis is supported by additional independent arguments made popular by Jerry Fodor. Paul Smolensky has developed a connectionist architecture he claims adequately explains compositionality, systematicity and productivity without positing any language of thought, and without positing any operations over a set of symbols. This architecture encodes the information represented in linguistic trees without explicitly representing those trees or their constituents, and indeed without employing any representational vehicles with constituent structure. In a recent article, Fodor (1997; Connectionism and systematicity, Cognition, 62, 109-119) argues that Smolensky's proposal does not work. I defend Smolensky against Fodor's attack, and use this interchange as a vehicle for exploring and criticising the "Language of Thought" hypothesis more generally and the arguments Fodor adduces on its behalf.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Philosophy
Research Field:Metaphysics
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in psychology
UTAS Author:Garfield, JL (Professor Jay Garfield)
ID Code:11812
Year Published:1997
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Philosophy
Deposited On:1997-08-01
Last Modified:2011-08-12

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