Minds and Machines

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 19–27 | Cite as

The Contribution of Domain Specificity in the Highly Modular Mind

  • Axel Arturo Barceló Aspeitia
  • Ángeles ErañaEmail author
  • Robert Stainton


Is there a notion of domain specificity which affords genuine insight in the context of the highly modular mind, i.e. a mind which has not only input modules, but also central ‘conceptual’ modules? Our answer to this question is no. The main argument is simple enough: we lay out some constraints that a theoretically useful notion of domain specificity, in the context of the highly modular mind, would need to meet. We then survey a host of accounts of what domain specificity is, based on the intuitive idea that a domain specific mechanism is restricted in the kind of information that it processes, and show that each fails at least one of those constraints.


Domain-specificity Cognitive modularity Central systems Information restrictions 



Earlier drafts of this paper were presented at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas in Mexico City; at the Second Workshop on Context and Content, hosted by the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba; and at the University of London’s Institute for Philosophy. We are grateful to all three audiences for very insightful suggestions. We would like to single out Laura Danón, Barry Smith, Virginia Vallian, and Jonny McIntosh for truly penetrating objections that led to significant improvements.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Axel Arturo Barceló Aspeitia
    • 1
  • Ángeles Eraña
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert Stainton
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, Circuito Maestro Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad de la Investigación en HumanidadesCiudad UniversitariaCoyoacánMexico, DF
  2. 2.Faculty of Arts and Humanities, UC112The University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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