The Architecture Of The Mind: Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Thought

Paperback | September 28, 2006

byPeter Carruthers

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This book is a comprehensive development and defense of one of the guiding assumptions of evolutionary psychology: that the human mind is composed of a large number of semi-independent modules. The Architecture of the Mind has three main goals. One is to argue for massive mental modularity.Another is to answer a 'How possibly?' challenge to any such approach. The first part of the book lays out the positive case supporting massive modularity. It also outlines how the thesis should best be developed, and articulates the notion of 'module' that is in question. Then the second part ofthe book takes up the challenge of explaining how the sorts of flexibility and creativity that are distinctive of the human mind could possibly be grounded in the operations of a massive number of modules.Peter Carruthers's third aim is to show how the various components of the mind are likely to be linked and interact with one another - indeed, this is crucial to demonstrating how the human mind, together with its familiar capacities, can be underpinned by a massively modular set of mechanisms. Heoutlines and defends the basic framework of a perception / belief / desire / planning / motor-control architecture, as well as detailing the likely components and their modes of connectivity. Many specific claims about the place within this architecture of natural language, of a mind-reading system,and others are explained and motivated. A number of novel proposals are made in the course of these discussions, one of which is that creative human thought depends upon a prior kind of creativity of action.Written with unusual clarity and directness, and surveying an extensive range of research in cognitive science, this book will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in the nature and organization of the mind.

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This book is a comprehensive development and defense of one of the guiding assumptions of evolutionary psychology: that the human mind is composed of a large number of semi-independent modules. The Architecture of the Mind has three main goals. One is to argue for massive mental modularity.Another is to answer a 'How possibly?' challen...

Peter Carruthers is at University of Maryland.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:September 28, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199207070

ISBN - 13:9780199207077

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Table of Contents

1. The Case for Massively Modular Models of Mind2. The Architecture of Animal Minds3. Modules of the Human Mind4. Modularity and Flexibility: the First Steps5. Creative Cognition in a Modular Mind6. The Cognitive Basis of Science7. Distinctively Human Practical Reason8. Conclusion to the Volume

Editorial Reviews

"A magnificent defense of the massive modularity thesis, showing how this view of the mind--and only this view--is compatible with both our understanding of human evolution and of human creativity."--Steven Mithen FBA, Professor of Early Prehistory, University of Reading "It is a sweeping synthesis, covering a vast range of material, while arguing persuasively for an architecture of the mind (and brain!) that is more all encompassing but somewhat weaker than Fodorian modularity. For anyone interested in the current status of the modularity hypothesis, this is a must-read."--Randy Gallistel, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Rutgers University "The Architecture of the Mind is as brave as it is massive. At a time when most mainstream cognitive psychologists have dismissed the possibility that the mind might be importantly modular, Carruthers has launched a valiant, state-of-the-art defense, touching on insights from biology, animal behavior, and experimental psychology. If you care about the modularity hypothesis--and every cognitive scientist should--you owe it to yourself to read this book."--Gary Marcus, Department of Psychology, New York University, and Director of the NYU Infant Language Learning Center "For over a decade, the massive modularity hypothesis has been center-stage in debates about cognitive architecture and evolutionary psychology. In this bold, wide-ranging and ambitious book, Carruthers sets out and defends what is, by far, the clearest and most plausible version of the massive modularity hypothesis to be found in the literature. He also explores the often surprising implications of his version of massive modularity for a wide range ofissues including creativity, consciousness, norms and scientific reasoning. This is the best sort of interdisciplinary research-- innovative, broadly informed, and crystal clear. It is essential reading for anyone interested in how the human mind works and how it evolved." --Stephen Stich, Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Rutgers University "Claims about the architecture (or overall structure) of the mind play a key role in explanations of virtually every fundamental feature of human existence--from our capacity for science and creativity, to practical reasoning and morality. Carruthers's book--ostensibly a defense of "massive modularity"--provides what is surely the richest and most complete picture of the mind to date, laying out the structure of human and animal minds with unparalleled empirical richness and philosophical rigor. It is one of the most important books in the philosophy of mind in decades. A truly monumental achievement."-- Stephen Laurence, University of Sheffield