In isotropy and quineanity. In this essay, I will

In
“Modularity of Mind” by Jerry Fodor, Fodor makes some interesting claims about
how we currently do and how we currently should explain cognitive science.
Fodor makes an argument for the “nonexistence of cognitive science” by
referring to the property of being isotropic or of being Quinean by proposing
his aptly named “Fodor’s 1st Law of Nonexistence of Cognitive
Science”. He dissects the argument by detailing why cognitive science is
nonexistent as well as how the belief for nonexistence of cognitive science is
deeply rooted in the distinction between isotropy and quineanity. In this
essay, I will explain and assess his argument by investigating his claims and
the specifics on which his argument is built upon.

           First, it is crucial to understand the difference between
a global and local process. A global (more isotropic) process is a process that
we are inclined to think as the higher, more intelligent, less reflexive, less
routine exercise of capacities of a pair of two processes. The local process is
the opposite of a global process in a pair of two processes because it can be
more reasonably understood. Fodor explains that the closer we get to these
global processes, the more isotropic something becomes. Following as such,
according to “Fodor’s 1st Law of the Nonexistence of Cognitive
Science”, the more global or isotropic a cognitive process, the less anybody
understands it. This first law of Fodor’s reasons to explain that higher-level
cognitive processing will never be explained by cognitive science because it
cannot be understood at the implementational level. As such, if we cannot
understand anything at the implementational level, how can we reason to explain
anything at a more complex level/global process?

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           Fodor goes on to explain his law of nonexistence of
cognitive science by making the important distinction between something that is
isotropic and something that is quinean. Isotropy refers to the epistemic
interconnectedness of beliefs in the sense that everything that is known, in
principle, is relevant to determining what is ought to be known. Fodor believes
that for instance, scientific confirmation is akin to fixation on beliefs, then
scientific confirmation being isotropic suggests that belief fixation has this
property. Quinean, on the other hand, means a certain degree of confirmation
given to any hypothesis is sensitive to the properties of the belief system as
a whole. Scientific confirmation, also, is quinean because there must be
connections between theory statements and data statements and postulating that
relation is to treat scientific confirmation as a local rather than global
phenomenon. Specifically, both terms are incredibly similar as they both are
global processes that preclude encapsulation. Encapsulation, of course, means
that information processing in the module can’t be affected by info in other
parts of the brain. Because of the fact that both isotropy and quineanness are
global and preclude encapsulation, it hampers the study of higher cognitive
functions and has led to his initial conclusion in the 1st law of
nonexistence of cognitive science.

           Fodor has two reasons to explain the validity of his
argument: global systems will not be associated with the local phenomenon of
our brain’s structure, thereby such systems are unpromising in a neuroscience
study and global processes are resistant to computational explanation, making
them unpromising objects of psychological study. His first reason details that
since systems that are isotropic are unlikely to exhibit any type of neural
structure, then its plausible that the capacity of the brain to carry out a
function would be what is expected. Overall, since form/function correlation is
necessary for us to explain, there cannot be much expectation in the
neuropsychology of thought. The second reason goes about to reason that global
systems are potentially bad domains for computational models typically employed
by cognitive scientists. For science to be successful, then systems when
isolated, should behave isolated and can be explained simply or by less complex
systems. If we are to assume modules as these isolated systems, then it
satisfies the prior condition. However, if we are to assume cognitive systems
are non-modular and quinean/isotropic, then cognitive science cannot be
explained logically and is a sense, nonexistent.

           Therefore, due to the explanations brought forward by
Fodor, his 1st law of the nonexistence of cognitive science, stands
to be valid, at least from a reasoning point of view.  Essentially, his argument is at least
potentially valid due to the facts above as well as several correlatory relationships:
negative correlation between globality and encapsulation, positive correlation
between encapsulation and modularity, and together, the negative correlation
between globality and modularity or the moral global a process becomes, the
less modular the cognitive system that executes it. To even potentially deny
the argument proposed of Fodor, one would have to deny options that can be
considered as potential truths in cognitive science, such as denying that
central processes are global, denying that globabilty and encapsulation are
negatively correlated, and/or denying that encapsulation and modularity are
positively correlated. However, even if one’s strategy were to challenge his
argument by presenting one or more of the three options, it raises another
number of issues to the challenge of the argument .

Although,
Fodor’s main claim is that central systems are not modular. The actual argument
of his claim is based on a more seemingly incredulous claim that cognitive
science does not exist. Due to the explanation provided by Fodor in his
argument, one can reason that his argument is valid.