Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong by Jerry A. Fodor

By Jerry A. Fodor

The popular thinker Jerry Fodor, a number one determine within the examine of the brain for greater than two decades, offers a strikingly unique idea at the simple ingredients of concept. He means that the center of cognitive technological know-how is its idea of recommendations, and that cognitive scientists have long gone badly incorrect in lots of components simply because their assumptions approximately thoughts were unsuitable. Fodor argues compellingly for an atomistic idea of ideas, bargains out witty and pugnacious demolitions of rival theories, and means that destiny paintings on human cognition may still construct upon new foundations.

This energetic, conversational, and fantastically available ebook is the 1st quantity within the Oxford Cognitive technology sequence, the place the simplest unique paintings during this box may be offered to a huge readership. Concepts will fascinate a person drawn to modern paintings on brain and language. Cognitive technological know-how isn't an identical again.

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And most of the rest is about how we acquire the concepts that we thus apply. Correspondingly, the empirical data to which cognitive psychologists are responsible consist largely of measures of subject performance in concept application tasks. The long and short is: whatever else a theory of concepts says about them, it had better exhibit 1 Or, at least, to confine it to footnotes. Chaps. 1 & 2 11/3/97 1:13 PM Page 25 What Concepts Have To Be 25 concepts as the sorts of things that get applied in the course of mental processes.

It seems that Frege thought that if meanings can be shared it somehow follows that they can’t also be 14 In this usage, an ‘externalist’ is somebody who says that ‘entertaining’ relates a creature to something mind-independent, so Frege’s externalism is entailed by his Platonism. Contrast the prima facie quite different Putnam/Kripke notion, in which an externalist is somebody who says that what you are thinking depends on what world you’re in. (Cf. ) 15 This way of talking is, of course, entirely compatible with the current fashions in Individualism, Twins, and the like.

So, for example, Greycat the cat, but not Dumbo the elephant, falls under the concept CAT. Which, for present purposes, is equivalent to saying that Greycat is in the extension of CAT, that ‘Greycat is a cat’ is true, and that ‘is a cat’ is true of Greycat. I shall sometimes refer to this galaxy of considerations by saying that applications of concepts are susceptible of ‘semantic evaluation’: claims, or thoughts, that a certain concept applies to a certain thing are always susceptible of evaluation in such semantical terms as satisfied/unsatisfied, true/false, correct/incorrect, and the like.

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