Cognitive modules, synaesthesia and the constitution of psychological natural kinds
Gray (Richard)
Source: Philosophical Psychology; Mar2001, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p65-82, 18p
Paper - Abstract

Paper StatisticsColour-ConventionsDisclaimer


EBSCOHost Abstract

    Fodor claims that cognitive modules can be thought of as constituting a psychological natural kind1 in virtue of their possession of most or all of nine specified properties. The challenge to this considered here comes from synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is a type of cross-modal2 association: input to one sensory modality3 reliably generates an additional sensory output that is usually generated by the input to a distinct sensory modality4. The most common form of synaesthesia manifests Fodor's nine specified properties of modularity, and hence, according to Segal (1997), it should be understood as involving an extra module. Many psychologists believe that synaesthesia involves a breakdown in modularity. After outlining how both theories can explain the manifestation of the nine alleged properties of modularity in synaesthesia, I discuss the two concepts of function which initially motivate the respective theories. I argue that only a teleological concept of function is properly able to adjudicate between the two theories. The upshot is a further application of so-called externalist considerations to mental phenomena.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



© Theo Todman, June 2007 - Dec 2018. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page