Jerry Fodor

The Mind Doesn't Work That Way The Scope and Limits of Computational Psychology Translated from the English (United States) by Claudine Tiercelin. - Publication date : February 1, 2003

For many years, Jerry Fodor has been known as a staunch defender of the computational theory of mind, which argues that at birth the anatomical architecture of the human brain is structured in modules, or independent information-processing systems. According to this theory, human beings also possess a central system of mental representation which is capable of linking information from the various modules, to create the “language of thought”. Fodor believes that although the computational theory of mind offers the most “elegant” account of our existing knowledge of cognition, he points out that it does not explain everything and that the mind cannot be reduced to it. Some of the most interesting questions concerning thought are, in all likelihood, outside its scope. In this book, one of the most eminent figures in the field of cognition reviews his most recent views on the subject, and questions the validity of recent attempts to combine the computational theory of mind with psychological nativism and with biological principles borrowed from Darwinian evolutionary theory. Cautiously and modestly, he shows that we cannot explain everything. What the science of the mind has taught us is that we still don’t really know how the mind works. Fodor goes on to examine the question that has remained unanswered for the past fifty years: is the mind a computer?
This is a fascinating lesson of philosophical and scientific modesty.

Jerry Fodor is a professor of philosophy at Rutgers University. He is the author of The Modularity of Mind, a landmark work in the cognitive sciences, which was published in a French translation in 1986.