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The Mind Doesn't Work That Way: The Scope and Limits of Computational Psychology


Publisher:A Bradford Book



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About the book:

Criticism from within always stings more sharply. When one of computational psychology's peppiest cheerleaders questions the enthusiasm of his fellows, we can expect some juicy, if civil, dialogue ahead. Jerry Fodor does just this in The Mind Doesn't Work That Way: The Scope and Limits of Computational Psychology. Named to answer Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works, this short, focused and heavy book calls Pinker and others to task for claiming too much for CP. While acknowledging that it's "by far the best theory of cognition that we've got", he expresses concern about the popularisations--and privately held beliefs--that imply that the strongly nativist computational theory explains, or will explain, our conscious and intentional being in toto. Using scholarly, diplomatic and sometimes hysterically funny language, Fodor demolishes the notion that CP has anything to say about large-scale or global thinking, and casts doubt on its future prospects. Proceeding more scientifically than his scientist colleagues, he proposes that a better theory of mind is looming, and will encompass CP much as relativity encompassed classical mechanics. Encouraging debate on the fundamentals of this increasingly popular theory, especially within the ranks of its adherents, can only be good for the theory and for cognitive science itself. The Mind Doesn't Work That Way follows in the great philosophical tradition of clobbering ideas in order to make them stronger, and provides a great mental workout for the reader. --Rob Lightner

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