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The Architecture of the Mind : Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Thought - Peter Carruthers

The Architecture of the Mind

Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Thought

Paperback Published: 28th October 2006
ISBN: 9780199207077
Number Of Pages: 482

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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 of the 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. He outlines 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.

Industry Reviews

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 of issues including creativity, consciousness, norms and scientific reasoning. This is the best sort of interdisciplinary research - innovative, broadly informed, and crystal clear. It's essential reading for anyone interested in how the human mind works and how it evolved. Stephen Stich, Rutgers University Carruthers's book - ostensibly a defence 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 rigour. It is one of the most important books in the philosophy of mind in decades. A truly monumental achievement. Stephen Laurence, University of Sheffield A magnificent defence 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 The Architecture of the Mind is as brave as it is massive. At time a 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, New York University and Director of the NYU Infant Language Learning Center 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, Prof of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Rutgers University

1: The Case for Massively Modular Models of Mind 2: The Architecture of Animal Minds 3: Modules of the Human Mind 4: Modularity and Flexibility: the First Steps 5: Creative Cognition in a Modular Mind 6: The Cognitive Basis of Science 7: Distinctively Human Practical Reason 8: Conclusion to the Volume

ISBN: 9780199207077
ISBN-10: 0199207070
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 482
Published: 28th October 2006
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.71