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The Modularity of Mind: An Essay on Faculty Psychology Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0262560252 ISBN-10: 0262560259

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 145 pages
  • Publisher: A Bradford Book / MIT Press (April 6, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262560259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262560252
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The issue Fodor writes about is central to the psychology of perception, cognition, and action. It is the central issue for anyone who would seriously study the neurobiology of behavior: Is the mind organized horizontally or vertically or both, and what are the consequences to psychology of proceeding on one assumption or the other? This has been little analyzed and written about. Jerry Fodor has repaired that omission and had done it brilliantly.

(Alvin Liberman, Yale University, President, Haskins Laboratories)

Jerry Fodor's Modularity of Mind is a beginning... [It] is the first major monograph in this century to explore some variations on faculty psychology [and] is the best thing Fodor has done since The Language of Thought, mainly because it takes such a wide sweep and yet manages to concentrate all the arguments upon the central issue in both neuropsychology and information-processing psychology.

(John C. Marshall, The Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford)

About the Author

Jerry Fodor is Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University. His many books include In Critical Condition (MIT Press, 1998) and The Elm and the Expert (MIT Press, 1994).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Fodor's short book made "faculty psychology" respectable again and has generated a large literature in psychology, philosophy, and linguistics. Fodor offers brilliant arguments that the mind has special-purpose perceptual and linguistic modules. A central thesis of Fodor's book is that these modules are "informationally encapsulated" -- that is, the modules do their work without being able to access the beliefs that the person has. Thus in an important sense perception is theory-neutral, because what you believe will not affect what you see, hear, etc. For a contrasting view, read chapter two of Paul Churchland's Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Perception. By the way, Fodor's book is brilliant, but don't look for the entertainingly malicious flashes of humor that typify many of his essays.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on January 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
This classic in cognitive science has a great deal to say, but an awkward way of saying it. Author Jerry A. Fodor's style is academic and dense, a potential barrier to all but the most determined, well-prepared reader. Arcane and brilliant, Fodor intersperses colloquial jests with jargon-burdened exposition, leading one to believe that he could have written a book more accessible to the lay reader had he wished to do so. We find, however, that the book repays the persistent, dedicated reader. The reward is a fascinating exploration of the mind, drawing on the literature of epistemology and psychology, with occasional detours down the rarely explored byways of phrenology.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fodor, stop fodoring!

Joke aside, a good book to get acquainted with if you're interested in different theories in cognitive science.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book really set the agenda in thinking about cognitive architecture for many approaches in thinking about the mind during the late 80s and 90s. In some ways, it is philosophical synthesis of concrete gains from research science in linguistics and cognitive psychology. But it also articulates the path down which much recent thinking has gone. The issue of modularity is getting hot now, especially with the business about evolutionary psychology. This and Fodor's _Psychosemantics_ are *the* texts of recent theoretical cognitive science (if you ask me). Oh, and it doesn't have too many obscurely humorous bits designed to confuse you, as some other of his books do.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Baltasar Gracian on June 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
Fodor usually writes the most arcane books in the cog sci set. The Language of Thought was so opaque that even Hilary Putnam couldn't understand it (circa Language and Learning by Piatelli-Palmarini, ed). This book is written in such a way that even lunkheads such as myself can get it. What he's saying in Psychosemantics I don't know either. But it's nice that he's written one popular philosophy book. When you take this book, together with Stephen Wolfram, you probably get the Language of Thought. When you add Richard Dawkins you get Steven Pinker. Not a bad piece of work.
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