The Architecture of the Mind: Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Thought

Clarendon Press
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This book is a comprehensive development and defense of one of the guiding assumptions of evolutionary psychology: that the human mind is composed of a large number of semi-independent modules. The Architecture of the Mind has three main goals. One is to argue for massive mental modularity. Another is to answer a 'How possibly?' challenge to any such approach. The first part of the book lays out the positive case supporting massive modularity. It also outlines how the thesis should best be developed, and articulates the notion of 'module' that is in question. Then the second part of the book takes up the challenge of explaining how the sorts of flexibility and creativity that are distinctive of the human mind could possibly be grounded in the operations of a massive number of modules. Peter Carruthers's third aim is to show how the various components of the mind are likely to be linked and interact with one another - indeed, this is crucial to demonstrating how the human mind, together with its familiar capacities, can be underpinned by a massively modular set of mechanisms. He outlines and defends the basic framework of a perception / belief / desire / planning / motor-control architecture, as well as detailing the likely components and their modes of connectivity. Many specific claims about the place within this architecture of natural language, of a mind-reading system, and others are explained and motivated. A number of novel proposals are made in the course of these discussions, one of which is that creative human thought depends upon a prior kind of creativity of action. Written with unusual clarity and directness, and surveying an extensive range of research in cognitive science, this book will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in the nature and organization of the mind.
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Publisher
Clarendon Press
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Published on
Sep 28, 2006
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Pages
480
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ISBN
9780191525810
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Mind & Body
Psychology / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
Psychology / Movements / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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It is widely believed that people have privileged and authoritative access to their own thoughts, and many theories have been proposed to explain this supposed fact. The Opacity of Mind challenges the consensus view and subjects the theories in question to critical scrutiny, while showing that they are not protected against the findings of cognitive science by belonging to a separate 'explanatory space'. The book argues that our access to our own thoughts is almost always interpretive, grounded in perceptual awareness of our own circumstances and behavior, together with our own sensory imagery (including inner speech). In fact our access to our own thoughts is no different in principle from our access to the thoughts of other people, utilizing the conceptual and inferential resources of the same 'mindreading' faculty, and relying on many of the same sources of evidence. Peter Carruthers proposes and defends the Interpretive Sensory-Access (ISA) theory of self-knowledge. This is supported through comprehensive examination of many different types of evidence from across cognitive science, integrating a diverse set of findings into a single well-articulated theory. One outcome is that there are hardly any kinds of conscious thought. Another is that there is no such thing as conscious agency. Written with Carruthers' usual clarity and directness, this book will be essential reading for philosophers interested in self-knowledge, consciousness, and related areas of philosophy. It will also be of vital interest to cognitive scientists, since it casts the existing data in a new theoretical light. Moreover, the ISA theory makes many new predictions while also suggesting constraints and controls that should be placed on future experimental investigations of self-knowledge.
This is the third volume of a three-volume set on The Innate Mind. The extent to which cognitive structures, processes, and contents are innate is one of the central questions concerning the nature of the mind, with important implications for debates throughout the human sciences. By bringing together the top nativist scholars in philosophy, psychology, and allied disciplines these volumes provide a comprehensive assessment of nativist thought and a definitive reference point for future nativist inquiry. The Innate Mind: Volume 3: Foundations and the Future, concerns a variety of foundational issues as well as questions about the direction of future nativist research. It addresses such questions as: What is innateness? Is it a confused notion? What is at stake in debates between nativists and empiricists? What is the relationship between genes and innateness? How do innate structures and learned information interact to produce adult forms of cognition, e.g. about number, and how does such learning take place? What innate abilities underlie the creative aspect of language, and of creative cognition generally? What are the innate foundations of human motivation, and of human moral cognition? In the course of their discussions, many of the contributors pose the question (whether explicitly or implicitly): Where next for nativist research? Together, these three volumes provide the most intensive and richly cross-disciplinary investigation of nativism ever undertaken. They point the way toward a synthesis of nativist work that promises to provide a powerful picture of our minds and their place in the natural order.
This is the third volume of a three-volume set on The Innate Mind. The extent to which cognitive structures, processes, and contents are innate is one of the central questions concerning the nature of the mind, with important implications for debates throughout the human sciences. By bringing together the top nativist scholars in philosophy, psychology, and allied disciplines these volumes provide a comprehensive assessment of nativist thought and a definitive reference point for future nativist inquiry. The Innate Mind: Volume 3: Foundations and the Future, concerns a variety of foundational issues as well as questions about the direction of future nativist research. It addresses such questions as: What is innateness? Is it a confused notion? What is at stake in debates between nativists and empiricists? What is the relationship between genes and innateness? How do innate structures and learned information interact to produce adult forms of cognition, e.g. about number, and how does such learning take place? What innate abilities underlie the creative aspect of language, and of creative cognition generally? What are the innate foundations of human motivation, and of human moral cognition? In the course of their discussions, many of the contributors pose the question (whether explicitly or implicitly): Where next for nativist research? Together, these three volumes provide the most intensive and richly cross-disciplinary investigation of nativism ever undertaken. They point the way toward a synthesis of nativist work that promises to provide a powerful picture of our minds and their place in the natural order.
It is widely believed that people have privileged and authoritative access to their own thoughts, and many theories have been proposed to explain this supposed fact. The Opacity of Mind challenges the consensus view and subjects the theories in question to critical scrutiny, while showing that they are not protected against the findings of cognitive science by belonging to a separate 'explanatory space'. The book argues that our access to our own thoughts is almost always interpretive, grounded in perceptual awareness of our own circumstances and behavior, together with our own sensory imagery (including inner speech). In fact our access to our own thoughts is no different in principle from our access to the thoughts of other people, utilizing the conceptual and inferential resources of the same 'mindreading' faculty, and relying on many of the same sources of evidence. Peter Carruthers proposes and defends the Interpretive Sensory-Access (ISA) theory of self-knowledge. This is supported through comprehensive examination of many different types of evidence from across cognitive science, integrating a diverse set of findings into a single well-articulated theory. One outcome is that there are hardly any kinds of conscious thought. Another is that there is no such thing as conscious agency. Written with Carruthers' usual clarity and directness, this book will be essential reading for philosophers interested in self-knowledge, consciousness, and related areas of philosophy. It will also be of vital interest to cognitive scientists, since it casts the existing data in a new theoretical light. Moreover, the ISA theory makes many new predictions while also suggesting constraints and controls that should be placed on future experimental investigations of self-knowledge.
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