Massive Modularity: Why it is Wrong, and What it Can Teach us Anyway

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Creator: 

Blackmore, Drew George

Date: 

2013

Abstract: 

This thesis addresses current issues of cognitive architecture, with a focus on the family of
theories known as massive modularity. This project begins with a discussion of the concept of
modularity as proposed by Jerry Fodor. All of Fodor's criteria of modularity are explored in order
to establish a formal definition of modularity. That definition is then used as a benchmark to
determine whether the cognitive mechanisms proposed in the massive modularity theories of Leda
Cosmides, John Tooby, Dan Sperber, Steven Pinker, and Peter Carruthers actually qualify as
modules. After
concluding that the massive modularity theories of the above authors are in fact not
modular, the discussion turns to Zenon Pylyshyn's cognitive impenetrability thesis in order to
demonstrate that it is extremely unlikely that there could exist any truly modular version of the
massive modularity hypothesis. Finally, an alternative account of the mind is proposed in place of
massive modularity.

Subject: 

PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION, AND THEOLOGY Philosophy
PSYCHOLOGY Cognitive

Language: 

English

Publisher: 

Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 
M.A.

Thesis Degree Level: 

Master's

Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Philosophy

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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