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The Architecture of CognitionRethinking Fodor and Pylyshyn's Systematicity Challenge$
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Paco Calvo and John Symons

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027236

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027236.001.0001

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Systematicity and Architectural Pluralism

Systematicity and Architectural Pluralism

(p.253) 10 Systematicity and Architectural Pluralism
The Architecture of Cognition

William Ramsey

The MIT Press

In this chapter, I argue that Fodor and Pylyshyn are justified in claiming that representational systematicity is an important aspect of cognitive activity, but they are wrong to suppose that a failure to explain it should substantially undermine a given architecture's promise or credibility. Fodor and Pylyshyn's argument assumes that the mind has a single basic cognitive architecture and representational system; thus, they assume that if systematicity is real, then it must be a fundamental feature of cognition. While this assumption has always been problematic, as various authors have noted, it has now been rejected by a growing crowd of investigators who have adopted different forms of architectural pluralism, such as dual process models. With pluralism, there is no reason to think that explaining representational systematicity is necessary for a viable theory of cognitive processes. Indeed, I suggest that when properly understood, some forms of connectionist processing should be treated as lacking not just representational states that are related systematically, but rather as lacking representational states altogether.

Keywords:   Systematicity, Dual-Process Models, Representation, Language of Thought, Compositional Semantics

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