Advertisement

European Journal for Philosophy of Science

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 315–338 | Cite as

Modular architectures and informational encapsulation: a dilemma

  • Dustin Stokes
  • Vincent Bergeron
Original paper in the Philosophy of the Cognitive Sciences

Abstract

Amongst philosophers and cognitive scientists, modularity remains a popular choice for an architecture of the human mind, primarily because of the supposed explanatory value of this approach. Modular architectures can vary both with respect to the strength of the notion of modularity and the scope of the modularity of mind. We propose a dilemma for these modularity approaches, no matter how they vary along these two dimensions. First, if a modular architecture commits to the informational encapsulation of modules, as it is the case for modularity theories of perception, then modules are on this account impenetrable. However, we argue that there are genuine cases of the cognitive penetrability of perception and that these cases challenge any strong, encapsulated modular architecture of perception. Second, many recent massive modularity theories weaken the strength of the notion of module, while broadening the scope of modularity. These theories do not require any robust informational encapsulation, and thus avoid the incompatibility with cognitive penetrability. However, the weakened commitment to informational encapsulation greatly weakens the explanatory force of the approach and, ultimately, is conceptually at odds with the core of modularity.

Keywords

Cognitive architecture Modularity Informational encapsulation Cognitive penetrability Dissociation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge helpful comments and criticism from members of audiences at Carleton University and the Canadian Philosophical Association and in particular from Steve Downes, Matt Haber, Matthew Ivanowich, Susanna Siegel, Wayne Wu, and two anonymous referees.

References

  1. Balcetis, E., & Dunning, D. (2006). See what you want to see: motivational influences on visual perception. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(4), 612–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Balcetis, E., & Dunning, D. (2010). Wishful seeing: desired objects are seen as closer. Psychological Science, 21, 147–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barrett, H. C., & Kurzban, R. (2006). Modularity in cognition: framing the debate. Psychological Review, 113(3), 628–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bergeron, V. (2007). Anatomical and functional modularity in cognitive science: shifting the focus. Philosophical Psychology, 20, 175–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bergeron, V. (2015). Functional independence and cognitive architecture. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. doi: 10.1093/bjps/axv005.
  6. Bermudez, J. (1999). Cognitive impenetrability, phenomenology, and nonconceptual content. Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 22(3), 367–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blum, A. (1957). The value factor in children’s size perception. Child Development, 28, 14–18.Google Scholar
  8. Boynton, G. M. (2005). Imagining orientation selectivity: decoding conscious perception in V1. Nature Neuroscience, 8, 541–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bruner, J.S. (1957). On perceptual readiness. Psychological Review, 64(2), 123–52.Google Scholar
  10. Bruner, J. S., & Goodman, C. C. (1947). Value and need as organizing factors in perception. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 42, 33–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bruner, J. S., & Minturn, A. L. (1955). Perceptual identification and perceptual organization. Journal of General Psychology, 21–28.Google Scholar
  12. Bruner, J. S., & Postman, L. (1948). Symbolic value as an organizing factor in perception. Journal of Social Psychology, 27, 203–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bruner, J. S., & Rodrigues, J. S. (1953). Some determinants of apparent size. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 48, 17–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bruner, J. S., Postman, L., & Rodrigues, J. (1951). Expectation and the perception of color. American Journal of Psychology, 64, 216–227.Google Scholar
  15. Carruthers, P. (2006). The architecture of the mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Carter, L. F., & Schooler, K. (1949). Value need and other factors in perception. Psychological Review, 56, 200–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Churchland, P. M. (1988). Perceptual plasticity and theoretical neutrality: a reply to Jerry Fodor. Philosophy of Science, 55, 167–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Coltheart, M. (1999). Modularity and cognition. Trends in Cognitive Science, 3, 115–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Coltheart, M. (2001). Assumptions and methods in cognitive neuropsychology, In B. Rapp (ed.) The handbook of cognitive neuropsychology, pp. 3-21, Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  20. Coltheart, M. (2011). Methods for modular modelling: additive factors and cognitive neuropsychology. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 28, 224–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Connolly, K. (forthcoming). Perceptual learning and the contents of perception. Erkenntnis. Google Scholar
  22. Cowie, F. (2008). Us, them and it: modules, genes, environments and evolution. Mind & Language, 23, 284–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Davies, M. (2010). Double dissociation: understanding its role in cognitive neuropsychology. Mind & Language, 25, 500–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. De Renzi, E., & Di Pellegrino, G. (1998). Prosopagnosia and alexia without object agnosia. Cortex, 34, 403–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Delk, J. L., & Fillenbaum, S. (1965). Differences in perceived color as a function of characteristic color. The American Journal of Psychology, 78, 290–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Deroy, O. (2013). Object-sensitivity versus cognitive penetrability of perception. Philosophical Studies, 162(1), 87–107.Google Scholar
  27. Dukes, W. F., & Bevan, W. (1952). Size estimation and monetary value: a correlation. Journal of Psychology, 34, 43–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Dunn, J. C., & Kirsner, K. (2003). What can we infer from double dissociations? Cortex, 39(1), 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Farah, M. (1994). Neuropsychological inference with an interactive brain: a critique of the locality assumption. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 17, 43–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Fodor, J. (1983). The modularity of mind. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  31. Fodor, J. (1985). Précis of The modularity of mind. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 8, 1–5.Google Scholar
  32. Fodor, J. (1988). A reply to Churchland’s “Perceptual plasticity and theoretical neutrality,”. Philosophy of Science, 55, 188–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gerrans, P., & Stone, V. E. (2008). Generous or parsimonious cognitive architecture? Cognitive neuroscience and theory of mind. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 59, 121–141.Google Scholar
  34. Gilman, D. J. (1991). The neurobiology of observation. Philosophy of Science, 58(3), 496–502.Google Scholar
  35. Goodale, M. A., & Milner, D. (1992). Separate visual pathways for perception and action. Trends in Neurosciences, 15(1), 20–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hagen, E. H. (2005). Controversial issues in evolutionary psychology. In D. M. Buss (Ed.), The handbook of evolutionary psychology (pp. 5–67). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  37. Hansen, T., Olkkonen, M., Walter, S., & Gegenfurtner, K. R. (2006). Memory modulates color appearance. Nature Neuroscience, 9, 1367–1368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Holzkamp, K., & Perlwitz, E. (1966). Absolute oder relative Größenakzentuierung? Eine experimentelle Studie zur sozialen Wahrnehmung. Zeitschrift für Experimentelle und Angewandte Psychologie, 13, 390–405.Google Scholar
  39. Juola, P. & Plunkett, K. (2000). Why double dissociations don’t mean much. In G. Cohen, R. A. Johnston, & K. Plunkett (Eds.), Exploring cognition: damaged brains and neural networks. (pp. 319–327). Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  40. Kamitani, Y., & Tong, F. (2005). Decoding the visual and subjective contents of the human brain. Nature Neuroscience, 8, 679–685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Klein, G. S., Schlesinger, H. J., & Meister, D. E. (1951). The effect of personal values on perception—an experimental critique. Psychological Review, 58, 96–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Levin, D., & Banaji, M. (2006). Distortions in the perceived lightness of faces: the role of race categories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 135, 501–512.Google Scholar
  43. Lyons, J. C. (2003). Lesion studies, spared performances, and cognitive systems. Cortex, 39, 145–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lyons, J. C. (2011). Circularity, reliability, and cognitive penetrability of perception. Philosophical Issues, 21(1), 289–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lysak, W., & Gilchrist, J. C. (1955). Value, equivocality, and goal availability as determinants of size judgments. Journal of Personality, 23, 500–501.Google Scholar
  46. Machery, E. (2012). Dissociations in neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience. Philosophy of Science, 79, 490–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Macpherson, F. (2012). Cognitive penetration of colour experience: rethinking the issue in light of an indirect mechanism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 84(1), 24–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Marr, D. (1976). Early processing of visual information. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 275(942), 483–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Matthen, M. (2005). Seeing, doing, and knowing: a philosophical theory of sense perception. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  50. McCurdy, H. G. (1956). Coin perception studies and the concept of schemata. Psychological Review, 63, 160–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Milner, D. and Goodale, M. (1995). The visual brain in action. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Mole, C. (forthcoming) Attention-mediated cognitive penetration. in A. Raftopoulos and J. Zeimbekis (Eds) Cognitive Penetrability, Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  53. Moore, C. (1999). Cognitive impenetrability of early vision does not imply cognitive impenetrability of perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22(3), 385–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Noë, A., & Thompson, E. (1999). Seeing beyond the modules toward the subject of perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22(3), 386–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Olkkonen, M., Hansen, T., & Gegenfurtner, K. R. (2008). Color appearance of familiar objects : effects of object shape, texture and illumination changes. Journal of Vision, 8, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Payne, K. (2001). Prejudice and perception: the role of automatic and controlled processes in misperceiving a weapon. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 181–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Payne, K., Shimizu, Y., & Jacoby, L. (2005). Mental control and visual illusions: toward explaining race-biased weapon misidentifications. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 41, 36–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Plaut, D. C. (1995). Double dissociation without modularity: evidence from connectionist neuropsychology. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 17(2), 291–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Postman, L., Bruner, J. S., & McGinnies, E. (1948). Personal values as selective factors in perception. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 43, 142–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pylyshyn, Z. (1980). Computation and cognition: issues in the foundations of cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3, 111–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Pylyshyn, Z. (1999). Is vision continuous with cognition? The case for cognitive impenetrability of visual perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22(3), 341–365.Google Scholar
  62. Raftopoulos, A. (2001). Reentrant neural pathways and the theory-ladenness of perception. Philosophy of Science, 68(3), S187–S199.Google Scholar
  63. Robbins, P. (2013). Modularity and mental architecture. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 4(6), 641–649.Google Scholar
  64. Rumiati, R. I., & Humphreys, G. W. (1997). Visual object agnosia without alexia or prosopagnosia. Visual Cognition, 4, 207–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Shallice, T. (1988). From neuropsychology to mental structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Shallice, T. & Cooper, R. P. (2011) The organisation of mind. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Siegel, S. (2007). How Can We Discover the Contents of Experience? Southern Journal of Philosophy, 45 (S1),127-42.Google Scholar
  68. Siegel, S. (2011) Cognitive penetrability and perceptual justification. Noûs, 46(2).Google Scholar
  69. Siegel, S. (2013). The epistemic impact of the etiology of experience. Philosophical Studies, 162(3), 697–722.Google Scholar
  70. Simon, H. A. (1969). The sciences of the artificial. M.I.T. Press.Google Scholar
  71. Sperber, D. (1994). The modularity of thought and the epidemiology of representations. In L. A. Hirschfeld & S. A. Gelman (Eds.), Mapping the mind: domain specificity in cognition and culture. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  72. Sperber, D. (2001). Defending massive modularity. In E. Dupoux (Ed.), Language, brain and cognitive development: essays in honor of Jacques Mehler. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  73. Stefanucci,  J. K., & Proffitt, D. R. (2008). Skating down a steeper slope: fear influences the perception of geographical slant. Perception, 37, 321–323.Google Scholar
  74. Stefanucci, J. K., & Proffitt, D. R. (2009). The roles of altitude and fear in the perception of height. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 35, 424–438.Google Scholar
  75. Sternberg, S. (2001). Separate modifiability, mental modules, and the use of pure and composite measures to reveal them. Acta Psychologica106(1), 147-246.Google Scholar
  76. Sternberg, S. (2011). Modular processes in mind and brain. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 28(3 & 4), 156–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Stokes, D. (2012). Perceiving and desiring: a new look at the cognitive penetrability of experience. Philosophical Studies, 158, 479–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Stokes, D. (2013). The cognitive penetrability of perception’. Philosophy Compass, 8, 646–663.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Stokes, D. (2014). Cognitive penetration and the perception of art. Dialectica, 68, 1–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Vallar, G. (2000) The methodological foundations of human neuropsychology: studies in brain-damaged patients. In F. Boller and J. Grafman (Eds.) Handbook of Neuropsychology, pp. 305–344, Elsevier.Google Scholar
  81. Van Orden, G. C., Pennington, B. F., & Stone, G. O. (2001). What do double dissociation prove? Cognitive Science, 25, 111–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Van Ulzen, N. R., Semin, G. R., Oudejans, R., & Beek, P. (2008). ‘Affective stimulus properties influence size perception and the Ebbinghaus illusion’. Psychological Research, 72, 304–310.Google Scholar
  83. Williamson, T. (2001) Knowledge and its limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  84. Wilson, R. (2008). The drink you have when you’re not having a drink. Mind & Language, 23, 273–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Witt, J. K., & Dorsch, T. E. (2009). Kicking to bigger uprights: field goal kicking performance influences perceived size. Perception, 38, 1328–1340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Witzel, C., Valkova, H., Hansen, T., & Gegenfurtner, K. (2011). Object knowledge modulates colour appearance. i-Perception, 2, 13–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Wu, W. (2013). Visual spatial constancy and modularity: does intention penetrate vision? Philosophical Studies, 165(2), 647–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.University of OttawaOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations