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This excerpt from The Modularity of Mind. Jerry A. Fodor. 1983 The MIT Press.

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Notes Pages - 128 to 127 139


seenthrough it- and Aquinasregardsthis sort of restrictionas evidentlyimpossible Whatevernature of thing an A may be, if there can be an A there . canbe a thoughtof an A. . . . Forif it is not impossible thereto be something for of the natureA, then there canbe something that natureexistingwith esse of naturale (viz., 'in the world'), and equally therecanbe something the nature , , of existingwith esse intentionale (viz., asan iobjectof thought). . . . It is only when ' the esse not merelyintentional but alsofreedfrom the limitation of matter is , , that we have an unrestricted possibilityof the occurrence that kind of esse , by , of whatevernaturescan occurin reality at all" (1961 pp. 96- 97). The point , hereis not, of coursejust that if A makessenseso too doesthe thought A. , , of It's rather that, on the assumption that thought is immaterial there are no , empirical(no nonlogical constraints what we canthink about Thequestion ) on . raisedin the text is whether the universalityof thought is plausibleon any otherontologicalassumption . 43. That this accountof the recenthistory of AI is not entirely eccentric be can seen comparing by Allport (1980 who, however drawsa quitedifferentmoral ), , from the one I haveendorsedAllport is explicitin viewing muchof AI as-the . attemptto treat what I've beencallingcentralprocesses the modelof modon ularized systems productionrules Allport cites(inter alia) the research of . of Anderson Schank Newell, and Winogradas indicating the promiseof this , , approachI am in agreement . with Allport's description the research not of but with his evaluationof it. On the contrary I take it that the bankruptcyof this , sort of AI is self-evidentand constitutes strongprima facieargument a that the organization centralprocesses in fact not modular of is, , . 44. I am, of coursedistinguishing , between theoryof confIrmation the , which doesn 't exist andthe theoryof statistical , probability whichcertainly , doesLikedeductive . logic, probability theory is abouta localrelation onewhich holds betweena hypothesis and an antecedently delimited body of data Sincethe theory gives . no generalaccountof what it is for data to be relevantto the assessment a of hypothesis or of how the acceptability a hypothesis , of variesas a functionof the simplicity plausibility conservatism. . etc. of competing , , . hypotheses , there canbe no demonstrative inference from statistical significance level of con to firmation. Noticethat this is notjust because significantlyskewed distributions of data sometimes occurby chanceIt is for the much deeperreasonthat the . confirmationof a hypothesis sensitive considerations which probability is to for theory providesno metric .

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This excerpt from The Modularity of Mind. Jerry A. Fodor. 1983 The MIT Press. is provided in screen-viewable form for personal use only by members of MIT CogNet. Unauthorized use or dissemination of this information is expressly forbidden. If you have any questions about this material, please contact cognetadmin@cognet.mit.edu.