Concepts - Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong
Fodor (Jerry)
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Back Cover Blurb

  1. Jerry Fodor presents a strikingly original theory of the basic constituents of thought. He suggests that the heart of a cognitive science is its theory of concepts, and that cognitive scientists have gone badly wrong in many areas because their assumptions about concepts have been seriously mistaken. Fodor argues compellingly for an atomistic theory of concepts, and maintains that future work on human cognition should build upon new foundations.
  2. He starts by demolishing the rival theories that have prevailed in recent years — that concepts are definitions, that they are prototypes or stereotypes, that they are abstractions from belief systems, etc. He argues that all such theories are radically unsatisfactory for two closely related reasons:
    1. they hold that the content of a concept is determined, at least in part, by its inferential role; and
    2. they hold that typical concepts are structurally complex.
    Empirical and philosophical arguments against each of these claims are elaborated.
  3. Fodor then develops his alternative account. He argues that conceptual content is determined entirely by informational (mind-world) relations, and that typical concepts are atomic. The implications of this 'informational atomism' are considered in respect of issues in psychology, lexical semantics, and metaphysics, with particular attention to the relation between informational atomism and innateness.
  4. This is surely Fodor's most irritating book in years. The doctrines he attacks are central to practically all current work in cognitive science, and the alternative he promotes is antithetical to practically all current views of how the mind works. Concepts will fascinate anyone interested in contemporary work on mind and language; it should exasperate philosophers, linguists, cognitive psychologists, and cognitive neuroscientists alike. Cognitive science will never be the same again.

BOOK COMMENT:

Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1998. Nice paperback copy.



"Fodor (Jerry) - Concepts: Philosophical Introduction: The Background Theory"

Source: Fodor - Concepts - Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Chapter 1



"Fodor (Jerry) - Concepts: Unphilosophical Introduction: What Concepts Have To Be"

Source: Fodor - Concepts - Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Chapter 2



"Fodor (Jerry) - The Demise of Definitions, Part I: The Linguist's Tale"

Source: Fodor - Concepts - Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Chapter 3



"Fodor (Jerry) - The Demise of Definitions, Part II: The Philosopher's Tale"

Source: Fodor - Concepts - Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Chapter 4



"Fodor (Jerry) - Prototypes and Compositionality"

Source: Fodor - Concepts - Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Chapter 5



"Fodor (Jerry) - Meaning Postulates"

Source: Fodor - Concepts - Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Appendix 5A



"Fodor (Jerry) - The 'Theory Theory' of Concepts"

Source: Fodor - Concepts - Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Appendix 5B



"Fodor (Jerry) - Innateness and Ontology, Part I: The Standard Argument"

Source: Fodor - Concepts - Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Chapter 6



"Fodor (Jerry) - Similarity"

Source: Fodor - Concepts - Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Appendix 6A



"Fodor (Jerry) - Innateness and Ontology, Part II: Natural Kind Concepts"

Source: Fodor - Concepts - Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Chapter 7



"Fodor (Jerry) - Round Squares"

Source: Fodor - Concepts - Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Appendix 7A



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