Advertisement

Connectionism, Eliminativism, and the Future of Folk Psychology

  • William Ramsey
  • Stephen Stich
  • Joseph Garan
Part of the Studies in Cognitive Systems book series (COGS, volume 3)

Abstract

In the years since the publication of Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions, the term ‘scientific revolution’ has been used with increasing frequency in discussions of scientific change, and the magnitude required of an innovation before someone or other is tempted to call it a revolution has diminished alarmingly. Our thesis in this paper is that if a certain family of connectionist hypotheses turn out to be right, they will surely count as revolutionary, even on stringent pre-Kuhnian standards. There is no question that connectionism has already brought about major changes in the way many cognitive scientists conceive of cognition. However, as we see it, what makes certain kinds of connectionist models genuinely revolutionary is the support they lend to a thoroughgoing eliminativism about some of the central posits of common sense (or ‘folk’) psychology. Our focus in this paper will be on beliefs or propositional memories, though the argument generalizes straightforwardly to all the other propositional attitudes. If we are right, the consequences of this kind of connectionism extend well beyond the confines of cognitive science, since these models, if successful, will require a radical reorientation in the way we think about ourselves.

Keywords

Hide Node Natural Kind Hide Unit Semantic Network Propositional Attitude 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anderson, J. and Bower, G.: 1973, Human Associative Memory, Washington, D.C., Winston.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, J.: 1976, Language, Memory and Thought, Hillsdale, N.J., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, J.: 1980, Cognitive Psychology and Its Implications San Francisco, W.H. Freeman & Co.Google Scholar
  4. Anderson, J.: 1983, The Architecture of Cognition, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Broadbent, D.: 1985, ‘A Question of Levels: Comments on McClelland and Rumelhart’ Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 114.Google Scholar
  6. Cherniak, C.: 1986, Minimal Rationality, Cambridge, Mass., Bradford Books/MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Churchland, P.: 1970, ‘The Logical Character of Action Explanations’, Philosophical Review, 79.Google Scholar
  8. Churchland, P.: 1979, Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Churchland, P.: 1981, ‘Eliminative Materialism and Propositional Attitudes’, Journal of Philosophy, 78, 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Churchland, P.: 1986, ‘Some Reductive Strategies in Cognitive Neurobiology’, Mind, 95.Google Scholar
  11. Collins, A. and Quillian, M.: 1972, ‘Experiments on Semantic Memory and Language Comprehension’, in L. Gregg, (ed.), Cognition in Learning and Memory, New York, Wiley.Google Scholar
  12. Feyerabend, P.: 1981, Realism, Rationalism and Scientific Method: Philosophical Papers Vol. I, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Fodor, J. and Pylyshyn, Z.: 1988, ‘Connectionism and Cognitive Architecture: A Critical Analysis’, Cognition, 28.Google Scholar
  14. Fodor, J.: 1987, Psychosemantics: The Problem of Meaning in the Philosophy of Mind, Cambridge, MA, Bradford Books/MIT Press.Google Scholar
  15. Goodman, N.: 1965, Fact Fiction and Forecast, Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill.Google Scholar
  16. Holland, J., Holyoak, K., Nisbett, R. and Thagard, P.: 1986, Induction, Processes of Inference, Learning and Discovery, Cambridge, MA, Bradford Books/MIT Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hooker, C.: 1981, ‘Towards a General Theory of Reduction’, Parts I, II amp; III, Dialogue, 20.Google Scholar
  18. Kintsch, W.: 1974, The Representation of Meaning in Memory, Hillsdale, N.J., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  19. Kitcher, P.: 1978, ‘Theories, Theorists and Theoretical Change’, Philosophical Review, 87.Google Scholar
  20. Kitcher, P.: 1982, ‘Genes’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 33.Google Scholar
  21. Kitcher, P.: 1983, ‘Implications of Incommensurability’, PSA 1982 (Proceedings of the 1982 Biennial Meeting of the Philospohy of Science Association), Vol. 2, ed. by P. Asquith and T. Nickles, East Lansing, Philospohy of Science Association.Google Scholar
  22. Kitcher, P.: 1984, ‘1953 and All That: A Tale of Two Sciences’, Philosophical Review, 93.Google Scholar
  23. Kuhn, T.: 1962, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2nd Edition (1970).Google Scholar
  24. Kuhn, T.: 1983, ‘Commensurability, Comparability, Communicability’, PSA 1982 (Proceedings of the 1982 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association), Vol. 2, ed. by P. Asquith and T. Nickles, East Lansing, Philosophy of Science Association.Google Scholar
  25. Lycan, W.: 1988, Judgment and Justification, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Madell, G.: 1986, ‘Neurophilosophy: A Principled Skeptic’s Response’, Inquiry, 29.Google Scholar
  27. McCarthy, J.: 1968, ‘Programs With Common Sense’, in M. Minsky, ed., Semantic Information Processing, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.Google Scholar
  28. McCarthy, J.: 1980, ‘Circumscription: A Form of Non-Monotonic Reasoning’, Artificial Intelligence, 13.Google Scholar
  29. McCarthy, J.: 1986, ‘Applications of Circumscription to Formalizing Common-Sense Knowlege’, 28.Google Scholar
  30. Nagel, E.: 1961, The Structure of Science, New York, Harcourt, Brace & World.Google Scholar
  31. Newell, A. and Simon, H.: 1972, Human Problem Solving, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  32. Newell, A.: 1973, ‘Production Systems: Models of Control Structures’, in W. Chase (ed.), Visual Information Processing, New York, Academic Press.Google Scholar
  33. Quillian, M.: 1966, Semantic Memory, Cambridge, MA, Bolt, Branak & Newman.Google Scholar
  34. Ramsey, W.: 1989, ‘Parallelism and Functionalism’, Cognitive Science, 13.Google Scholar
  35. Rumelhart, D. and McClelland, J.: 1985, ‘Level’s Indeed! A Response to Broadbent’, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 114.Google Scholar
  36. Rumelhart, D., Lindsay, P. and Norman, D.: 1972, ‘A Process Model for Long Term Memory’, in E. Tulving and W. Donaldson (eds.), Organization of Memory, New York, Academic Press.Google Scholar
  37. Rumelhart, D., McClelland, J. and the PDP Research Group (1986). Parallel Distributed Processing, Volumes I and I I, Cambridge, MA, Bradford Books/MIT Press.Google Scholar
  38. Sellars, W.: 1956, ‘Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind’, Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. I, H. Feigl and M. Scriven (eds.), Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  39. Schaffner, K.: 1967, ‘Approaches to Reduction’, Philosophy of Science, 34.Google Scholar
  40. Sharpe, R.: 1987, ‘The Very Idea of Folk Psychology,’ Inquiry, 30.Google Scholar
  41. Smolensky, P.: 1988, ‘On the Proper Treatment of Connectionism’, The Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 11.Google Scholar
  42. Stich, S.: 1983, From Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science, Cambridge, Mass., Bradford Books/ MIT Press.Google Scholar
  43. Wilkes, K.: 1978, Physicalism, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Ramsey
    • 1
  • Stephen Stich
    • 2
  • Joseph Garan
    • 3
  1. 1.Dept. of PhilosophyUniversity of Notre DameUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of PhilosophyRutgers UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Dept. of PhilosophyUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

Personalised recommendations