Re: [quickphilosophy] Re: Fodor on Concepts I: The set-up

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2010 22:31:00 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Neil:
Thanks for the confirmation & reference, Neil. I'll try to land a copy of "The 
Language of Thought" and read it in parallel with Locke, whom I've been mulling 
over lately. Locke seems to be right for the wrong reasons, and now I am 
finding Fodor to be wrong for the right reasons. If that makes any sense....
But the Cartesians and continental rationalism did not hold, as far as I know, 
concepts such as DOG, TREE, ROCK, HYDROGEN ATOM, and CELL PHONE to be innate. 
Rather, it was traditional Platonic concepts which we might identify as 
abstractions nowadays, such as elements of social being (JUSTICE, GOODNESS, 
EQUALITY) or religious notions (GOD, REDEMPTION, PUNISHMENT). So, it seems to 
be a problem for Fodor, given the science of his silly century, to come up with 
a way in which we might have concepts of things that are the ordinary furniture 
of the world--dogs, and rocks, and tulips, and corkscrews.
Thanks again!--Ron

--- On Thu, 8/19/10, iro3isdx <xznwrjnk-evca@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

From: iro3isdx <xznwrjnk-evca@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [quickphilosophy] Re: Fodor on Concepts I: The set-up
To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Thursday, August 19, 2010, 8:53 PM




--- In quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Ron Allen <wavelets@...> wrote:

> responding to

> Ron:

> For Fodor, how do we arrive at concepts?

Fodor is well known for his nativism, his view that concepts are 

innate.  He does allow that there are composite concepts that might  not

be innate, but he believes we start life with a rich set of  innate

concepts.  This goes back at least as far as his 1975 book  "The

Language of Thought".

> Ron:

> And what exactly does it mean to think about a DOG as such?

I am not sure that Fodor ever attempts to address quite that  question. 

As best I can tell, he considers thinking to be an  internal language

activity, perhaps done in his presumed innate  internal language of

thought (or LOT).  I think he sometimes refers  to LOT as "semantic

markerese" or something like that.  In his  1980 "methodological

solipsism" paper, he does say (if I recall),  that thought is the use of

logic applied to the formal properties  of representations.







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