Philosophy Modularity
by
Edouard Machery
  • LAST REVIEWED: 22 September 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 June 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0150

Introduction

One of the liveliest debates within cognitive science and the philosophy of psychology concerns the extent to which, and in which sense, the mind is modular. Several different notions of module have been developed over the years, and clarifying the weaker and stronger notions of module is an important, substantial philosophical project. A range of arguments have been conceived to show that modular processes subserve all cognitive competences, some of them, or none of them, and these need to be scrutinized with care. Of particular importance are, first, Fodor’s view that modules subserve only input systems (roughly, our senses) and linguistic systems, while nonmodular, domain-general processes subserve thinking and deciding; and, second, evolutionary psychologists’ massive modularity hypothesis, according to which cognition is modular through and through.

General Overviews

Overviews of the debates about the modularity of mind tend to be partisan. Robbins 2009 is an exception and, for this reason, is a good place to start (it is also freely available online). Fodor 1983, a required read for understanding the debates about modularity, presents an influential notion of module and defends a cognitive architecture in which only input and linguistic systems are modular. Fodor 1985 is a clear and succinct summary of Fodor 1983. Sperber 1994 is another required read; it introduces the massive modularity hypothesis—the hypothesis that the mind is entirely modular. Because a failure to distinguish different notions of modules has often generated confusion, the most useful overviews distinguish different notions of module as well as stronger and weaker claims about the modularity of the mind in addition to summarizing and evaluating the arguments for and against these claims. Carruthers 2006a is a book-length defense of the massive modularity hypothesis, which deals with the main difficulties for this hypothesis in detail. Barrett and Kurzban 2006 reviews the literature about the modularity of the mind systematically, defending the version of the massive modularity hypothesis developed by evolutionary psychologists. Carruthers 2006b is a brief introduction to the massive modularity hypothesis and a clear discussion of the arguments in its support. Samuels 2006 is a useful critical rejoinder. Coltheart 1999 presents one of the less stringent notions of module.

  • Barrett, H. Clark, and Robert Kurzban. “Modularity in Cognition: Framing the Debate.” Psychological Review 113 (2006): 628–647.

    DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.113.3.628Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Important review of the enormous literature on modularity. Usefully distinguishes the notion of module developed by Fodor from the notion of module used by evolutionary psychologists. Defends evolutionary psychologists’ notion of module.

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    • Carruthers, Peter. The Architecture of the Mind: Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006a.

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      An important book-length treatment of the hypothesis that the mind is modular. Chapter 1 introduces the various notions of module and reviews in detail the arguments for the massive modularity hypothesis.

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      • Carruthers, Peter. “The Case for Massively Modular Models of Mind.” In Contemporary Debates in Cognitive Science. Edited by Robert J. Stainton, 3–21. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006b.

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        Distinguishes different notions of module. Reviews and defends the arguments for massive modularity, examining which notion of module fits with which argument.

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        • Coltheart, Max. “Modularity and Cognition.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 3 (1999): 115–120.

          DOI: 10.1016/S1364-6613(99)01289-9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Proposes to define modules by means of the notion of domain specificity.

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          • Fodor, Jerry A. The Modularity of Mind: An Essay on Faculty Psychology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983.

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            Classic book; a necessary read. Introduces an influential notion of module, sometimes called “Fodorian module.” Argues that modules tend to have a cluster of distinctive properties. Proposes that input and linguistic systems are modular, while the systems involved in reasoning and decision are not. Argues that only modules can be studied from a computational perspective.

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            • Fodor, Jerry A. “Précis of The Modularity of Mind.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 8 (1985): 1–42.

              DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X0001921XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Clear summary of Fodor 1983. The commentaries after Fodor’s article as well as Fodor’s response are worth reading.

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              • Robbins, Philip. “Modularity of Mind.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2009.

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                Useful and accurate review of the positions about the modularity of the mind as well as the arguments for and against modularity.

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                • Samuels, Richard. “Is the Human Mind Massively Modular?” In Contemporary Debates in Cognitive Science. Edited by Robert L. Stainton, 37–58. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006.

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                  Response to Carruthers 2006b. Reviews the arguments for the massive modularity hypothesis and argues that they fail. Defends a broadly Fodorian approach to cognition that contrasts modular input systems and domain-general reasoning processes.

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                  • Sperber, Dan. “The Modularity of Thought and the Epidemiology of Representations.” In Mapping the Mind: Domain Specificity in Cognition and Culture. Edited by Lawrence A. Hirschfeld and Susan A. Gelman, 39–67. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511752902Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    Foundational article. Introduces the massive modularity hypothesis and highlights the role of modular processes in cultural transmission.

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                    Anthologies and Collections

                    Several collections of articles and special issues of journals are important for the debates about modularity. Barkow, et al. 1992 launched the field of evolutionary psychology, and many articles therein defend a modularist picture of the mind. Scher and Rauscher 2003 contains articles critical of evolutionary psychology, several of which criticize evolutionary psychologists’ massive modularity hypothesis. Hirschfeld and Gelman 1994 contains influential articles insisting on the domain specificity of cognition. The articles by philosophers and psychologists in Carruthers, et al. 2005 and Carruthers, et al. 2006 provide some useful background for understanding the debates about modularity. Carruthers, et al. 2005 and Carruthers, et al. 2006 also contain several articles discussing the modularity of the mind directly. The articles in Faucher and Tappolet 2006 examine the modularity of emotions. The articles in Schlosser and Wagner 2004 and Callebaut and Rasskin-Gutman 2005 discuss the notion of module in biology.

                    • Barkow, Jerome H., Leda Cosmides, and John Tooby, eds. The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

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                      Contains some foundational papers in evolutionary psychology, the field in which the massive modularity hypothesis was developed. Many chapters present some findings taken to support various modularist hypotheses. Of particular importance are chapter 1, chapter 3 on the cheater-detection module, chapter 7 on males’ attitudes toward females, chapter 12 on language, chapter 13 on color perception, and chapter 14 on spatial abilities.

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                      • Callebaut, Werner, and Diego Rasskin-Gutman, eds. Modularity: Understanding the Development and Evolution of Natural Complex Systems. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005.

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                        Collects articles on the nature, evolution, and the role of modules in biology. Complements Schlosser and Wagner 2004.

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                        • Carruthers, Peter, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich, eds. The Innate Mind. Vol. 1, Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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                          Collects articles by influential cognitive and developmental psychologists as well as philosophers of psychology. Chapters 4–7 as well as chapter 16 are particularly relevant for modularity.

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                          • Carruthers, Peter, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich, eds. The Innate Mind. Vol. 2, Culture and Cognition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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                            Collects articles by influential cognitive and developmental psychologists as well as philosophers of psychology. Chapters 9–14 are particularly relevant for modularity.

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                            • Faucher, Luc, and Christine Tappolet, eds. Special Issue: The Modularity of Emotions. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 supplement (2006).

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                              Collects articles for and against the modularity of emotions. The introduction by Faucher and Tappolet provides a very useful guide.

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                              • Hirschfeld, Lawrence A., and Susan A. Gelman, eds. Mapping the Mind: Domain Specificity in Cognition and Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

                                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511752902Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                Very influential collection of articles. Argues that much of cognition is domain-specific. Useful introduction to the psychology that inspired a modularist approach to the mind.

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                                • Scher, Steven J., and Frederick Rauscher, eds. Evolutionary Psychology: Alternative Approaches. Boston: Kluwer, 2003.

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                                  Collection of articles that is critical of evolutionary psychology. Chapters 7–10 are particularly relevant for the massive modularity hypothesis.

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                                  • Schlosser, Gerhard, and Günter P. Wagner, eds. Modularity in Development and Evolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

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                                    Collects articles on the nature, evolution, and role of modules in biology. Complements Callebaut and Rasskin-Gutman 2005.

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                                    Arguments for Modularity

                                    The articles in this section introduce or discuss the main arguments for the massive modularity hypothesis. These arguments are of three kinds: the mind is likely to be massively modular because natural selection plausibly selected for a modular mind (Evolutionary Arguments), because a computational system should be modular to avoid a combinatorial explosion (Computational Arguments), or because complex systems tend to be modular (Complexity Arguments).

                                    Evolutionary Arguments

                                    Cosmides and Tooby 1994 and Carruthers 2006 summarize evolutionary psychologists’ considerations for the claim that natural selection plausibly selected for a modular mind. The other articles in this section discuss these considerations. Samuels 1998 clarifies these considerations and proposes an important rejoinder. Shapiro and Epstein 1998 and Fodor 2000 are two other critical evaluations of Cosmides and Tooby 1994. Okasha 2003 replies to Fodor 2000. Atkinson and Wheeler 2004 discusses the grain problem, while Stotz and Griffiths 2002 criticizes the evolutionary considerations put forward by evolutionary psychologists from the standpoint of the philosophy of biology.

                                    • Atkinson, Anthony P., and Michael Wheeler. “The Grain of Domains: The Evolutionary Psychological Case against Domain-General Cognition.” Mind and Language 19 (2004): 147–176.

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                                      Best presentation of the “grain problem” against the massive modularity hypothesis of Cosmides and Tooby 1994. Proposes a solution to the grain problem on behalf of evolutionary psychologists.

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                                      • Carruthers, Peter. The Architecture of the Mind: Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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                                        Section 3 of chapter 1 presents a detailed analysis of the evolutionary considerations in support of the massive modularity thesis. Examines carefully which version of this hypothesis is supported by which consideration.

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                                        • Cosmides, Leda, and John Tooby. “Origins of Domain-Specificity: The Evolution of Functional Organization.” In Mapping the Mind: Domain Specificity in Cognition and Culture. Edited by Lawrence A. Hirschfeld and Susan A. Gelman, 85–116. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

                                          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511752902Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                          Synthetic presentation of evolutionary psychologists’ claim that natural selection would favor a massively modular organization of the mind. The other papers in this section discuss the considerations in support of this claim.

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                                          • Fodor, Jerry A. The Mind Doesn’t Work That Way: The Scope and Limits of Computational Psychology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000.

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                                            Chapter 5 casts doubts on whether much of the structure of the mind was ‘selected for’ and contends that, even if it had been ‘selected for,’ that would not entail that the mind is massively modular.

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                                            • Okasha, Samir. “Fodor on Cognition, Modularity, and Adaptationism.” Philosophy of Science 70 (2003): 68–88.

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                                              Discussion of Fodor 2000. Argues that the structure of the mind plausibly evolved by natural selection, but agrees with Fodor that this does not entail that the mind is massively modular.

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                                              • Samuels, Richard. “Evolutionary Psychology and the Massive Modularity Hypothesis.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (1998): 575–602.

                                                DOI: 10.1093/bjps/49.4.575Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                Argues that the evolutionary considerations put forward by Cosmides and Tooby 1994 fail to support the massive modularity hypothesis. Distinguishes usefully several evolutionary arguments made by Cosmides and Tooby and draws an important distinction between two types of modules: Chomskyan and Darwinian modules.

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                                                • Shapiro, Lawrence, and William Epstein. “Evolutionary Theory Meets Cognitive Psychology: A More Selective Perspective.” Mind and Language 13 (1998): 171–194.

                                                  DOI: 10.1111/1468-0017.00072Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  Critique of Cosmides and Tooby 1994. Defends a more modest role for evolutionary theory in psychology.

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                                                  • Stotz, Karola C., and Paul E. Griffiths. “Dancing in the Dark: Evolutionary Psychology and the Argument from Design.” In Evolutionary Psychology: Alternative Approaches. Edited by Steven J. Scher and Frederick Rauscher, 135–160. Boston: Kluwer, 2002.

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                                                    Argues that because organisms face different adaptive problems depending on their phenotype and development, one cannot use knowledge of past adaptive problems to develop hypotheses about the psychological phenotype of humans.

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                                                    Computational Arguments

                                                    Computational arguments for modularity (also called “tractability arguments”) take for granted the computational theory of mind (according to which cognitive processes are computations), and they assert that if the mind were not modular, then cognitive processes would be faced with computations that cannot be done in real time. Carruthers 2006 (cited under General Overviews) reviews and discusses the arguments for the massive modularity hypothesis based on such computational considerations. Samuels 2005 is a detailed, careful rejoinder.

                                                    • Carruthers, Peter. The Architecture of the Mind: Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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                                                      Sections 6 and 7 of chapter 1 present the computational arguments for the massive modularity in detail. Distinguishes wide- and narrow-scope encapsulation.

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                                                      • Samuels, Richard. “The Complexity of Cognition: Tractability Arguments for Massive Modularity.” In The Innate Mind. Vol. 1, Structure and Contents. Edited by Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich, 107–121. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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                                                        Careful critique of the computational arguments for the massive modularity hypothesis.

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                                                        Complexity Arguments

                                                        Complexity arguments for modularity argue that complex systems could not have evolved and that they could not develop if they were not modular. Simon 1962 is the locus classicus for the claim that complex systems need to be modularly organized. Simon 1996 provides a book-length treatment of the ideas in Simon 1962, while Wimsatt and Schank 1988 extends Simon’s ideas. Carruthers 2006 (cited under General Overviews) develops this argument in the context of the modularity of mind.

                                                        Domain Specificity

                                                        According to many notions of module, modules are domain specific, meaning roughly that they are only triggered by specific kinds of inputs and that they are dedicated to solving particular problems. This section lists theoretical and empirical articles that discuss the extent to which domain-specific mechanisms subserve thinking. Leslie 1994 is a classic article about the domain specificity of cognition and includes a characterization of the notion of domain specificity. Cosmides and Tooby 1992 reviews their early work on the hypothesized cheater-detection module. Sperber, et al. 1995 criticizes Cosmides and Tooby’s interpretation of their findings, while Cosmides and Tooby 2005 reviews twenty years of research on the issue. Gallistel 2000, a widely cited paper, argues that there is no such thing as domain-general learning. Kanwisher 2000 reviews the evidence suggesting that there is a system dedicated to face recognition that is realized in a particular brain area (the face fusiform area). Gauthier, et al. 2003 criticizes Kanwisher’s interpretation of the neuroscientific data. Feigenson, et al. 2004 provides some evidence for the domain specificity of numerical processing. In contrast to domain-specific approaches to cognition, Kovas and Plomin 2006 argues that there are genes coding for domain-general aspects of cognition.

                                                        • Cosmides, Leda, and John Tooby. “Cognitive Adaptations for Social Exchange.” In The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Edited by Jerome Barkow, Leda Cosmides, and John Tooby, 163–228. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

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                                                          Classic article. Hypothesizes the existence of a cheater-detection module, describes its structure, and reviews the early evidence for its existence.

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                                                          • Cosmides, Leda, and John Tooby. “Neurocognitive Adaptations for Social Exchange.” In The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. Edited by David M. Buss, 584–627. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2005.

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                                                            Extensive review of twenty years of research and controversy about the hypothesized cheater-detection module. Note that this article presents Cosmides and Tooby’s interpretation of the data.

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                                                            • Feigenson, Lisa, Stanislas Dehaene, and Elizabeth Spelke. “Core Systems of Number.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (2004): 307–314.

                                                              DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2004.05.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              Review of the evidence for cognitive systems dedicated to processing the magnitude of groups of objects and of sequences of sounds.

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                                                              • Gallistel, C. R. “The Replacement of General-Purpose Learning Models with Adaptively Specialized Learning Modules.” In The New Cognitive Neurosciences. 2d ed. Edited by Michael S. Gazzaniga, 1179–1191. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000.

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                                                                Argues that there is no such thing as domain-general learning.

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                                                                • Gauthier, Isabel, Tim Curran, Kim M. Curby, and Daniel Collins. “Perceptual Interference Supports a Non-Modular Account of Face Processing.” Nature Neuroscience 6 (2003): 428–432.

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                                                                  Response to Kanwisher’s research (see Kanwisher 2000). Argues that the areas of the brain identified by Kanwisher are not specialized for identifying faces. The controversy has not been completely solved.

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                                                                  • Kanwisher, Nancy. “Domain Specificity in Face Perception.” Nature Neuroscience 3 (2000): 759–763.

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                                                                    Reviews the evidence suggesting that there is a neural area (the facial fusiform area) dedicated to identifying faces. See Gauthier, et al. 2003 for a critique.

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                                                                    • Kovas, Yulia, and Robert Plomin. “Generalist Genes: Implications for the Cognitive Sciences.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (2006): 198203.

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                                                                      Argues that behavioral genetics shows that some genes are domain general. Criticism of the rejection of domain-general cognitive capacities.

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                                                                      • Leslie, Alan M. “ToMM, ToBy, and Agency: Core Architecture And Domain Specificity.” In Mapping the Mind: Domain Specificity in Cognition and Culture. Edited by Lawrence A. Hirschfeld and Susan A. Gelman, 119–148. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

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                                                                        Classic paper arguing that the mind is made of domain-specific systems, including systems for mind reading, understanding physical objects, and identifying agents.

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                                                                        • Sperber, Dan, Francesco Cara, and Vittorio Girotto. “Relevance Theory Explains the Selection Task.” Cognition 57 (1995): 3195.

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                                                                          Influential criticism of the research in Cosmides and Tooby 1992 on the hypothesized cheater-detection module.

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                                                                          Informational Encapsulation and Cognitive Impenetrability

                                                                          According to many notions of module, modules are informationally encapsulated (modules do not have access to some information present in other systems) and cognitively impenetrable (other systems cannot influence how modules process information). This section lists theoretical and empirical articles that discuss the extent to which informationally encapsulated and/or cognitively impenetrable mechanisms subserve thinking. Fodor 2000 argues that informational encapsulation is the definitional property of modules. Cheng 1986 presents some influential evidence that rats have an informationally encapsulated orientation module. Cheng’s findings inspired Hermer and Spelke 1996, which obtained similar results with children. Learmonth, et al. 2002 criticizes Hermer and Spelke 1996. The controversy about this module is reviewed in Cheng and Newcome 2005. Spelke and Tsivkin 2001 provides some evidence that numerical computation is informationally encapsulated, while Öhman and Mineka 2001 argues that fear is an evolved, partially cognitively impenetrable module.

                                                                          Innateness

                                                                          According to some notions of module, modules are innate, meaning roughly that they are not learned. This section lists theoretical articles that discuss whether and in which sense modules are innate. Quartz 1999, Cummins, et al. 2003, and Karmiloff-Smith 2009 criticize what they take to be evolutionary psychologists’ commitment to the innateness of modules. Barrett 2006 replies to these criticisms. Karmiloff-Smith 1992 is an original perspective on the ontogeny of modules, according to which modules are the outcome of a developmental process of modularization out of a nonmodular brain.

                                                                          • Barrett, H. Clark. “Modularity and Design Reincarnation.” In The Innate Mind. Vol. 2, Culture and Cognition. Edited by Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich, 199–217. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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                                                                            Response to the objection that the massive modularity hypothesis is committed to an untenable form of nativist preformationism (e.g., Quartz 1999, Karmiloff-Smith 2009). Distinguishes modularity from innateness and insists that the massive modularity hypothesis is compatible with genuine developmental approaches to cognition.

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                                                                            • Cummins, Denise, Robert Cummins, and Pierre Poirier. “Cognitive Evolutionary Psychology without Representational Nativism.” Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 15 (2003): 143–159.

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                                                                              Argues against the existence of innate representations within modules.

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                                                                              • Karmiloff-Smith, Annette. Beyond Modularity: A Developmental Perspective on Cognitive Science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992.

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                                                                                Influential book. Instead of being present at birth, modules appear during development through a process of “modularization.”

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                                                                                • Karmiloff-Smith, Annette. “Nativism versus Neuroconstructivism: Rethinking the Study of Developmental Disorders.” Developmental Psychology 45 (2009): 56–63.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.1037/a0014506Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  Critique of the existence of innate modules in light of Karmiloff-Smith’s neuroconstructivism.

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                                                                                  • Quartz, Steven R. “The Constructivist Brain.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 3 (1999): 48–57.

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                                                                                    Argues that advances in developmental cognitive neuroscience undermine the massive modularity hypothesis because of its commitment to innate modules.

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                                                                                    Flexibility

                                                                                    Perhaps the strongest objection to the massive modularity hypothesis is that it is incompatible with the flexibility of human cognition. Fodor 2000 highlights the problem, and Carruthers 2006 usefully distinguishes various notions of flexibility. Carruthers 2002 argues that language enables a massively modular mind to be flexible. This theoretical account is partly inspired by the empirical findings of Hermer-Vazquez, et al. 1999. Machery 2008 criticizes the Carruthers 2006 solution to the flexibility problem. Sperber 2001 and Sperber 2005 develop another reply to the flexibility problem, which appeals to the notions of salience and relevance. Carruthers 2004 explains how practical reasoning, which seems nonmodular, can take place in a massively modular mind.

                                                                                    • Carruthers, Peter. “The Cognitive Functions of Language.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2002): 657719.

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                                                                                      A hallmark of human cognition is its flexibility, which includes the capacity to entertain thoughts composed of concepts belonging to different domains. This article argues that one of the functions of language is to enable the creation of such cross-domains thoughts. The commentaries after Carruthers’s article, as well as Carruthers’s response to these commentaries, are worth reading.

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                                                                                      • Carruthers, Peter. “Practical Reasoning in a Modular Mind.” Mind and Language 19 (2004): 259278.

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                                                                                        Practical reasoning seems to be domain general since decisions typically involve bringing together thoughts about different domains. Carruthers examines how practical reasoning is possible in a massively modular mind. See also chapter 7 of Carruthers 2006.

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                                                                                        • Carruthers, Peter. The Architecture of the Mind: Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                          Chapter 4 usefully distinguishes different forms of flexibility and revisits the role of language in the creation of cross-domains thoughts. Chapter 7 focuses on practical reasoning.

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                                                                                          • Fodor, Jerry A. The Mind Doesn’t Work That Way: The Scope and Limits of Computational Psychology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000.

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                                                                                            Argues that human reasoning is typically domain general, in that information about any domain can be brought to bear on any problem. This is one type of flexibility.

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                                                                                            • Hermer-Vazquez, Linda, Elizabeth S. Spelke, and Alla S. Katsnelson. “Sources of Flexibility in Human Cognition: Dual-Task Studies of Space and Language.” Cognitive Psychology 39 (1999): 336.

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                                                                                              Empirical evidence bearing on the role of language for the creation of cross-domains thoughts.

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                                                                                              • Machery, Edouard. “Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Human Cognition.” Mind and Language 23 (2008): 263272.

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                                                                                                Critique of the solution in Carruthers 2006 to the problem raised by the existence of cross-domains thoughts.

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                                                                                                • Sperber, Dan. “In Defense of Massive Modularity.” In Language, Brain, and Cognitive Development: Essays in Honor of Jacques Mehler. Edited by Emmanuel Dupoux, 47–57. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                  Response to Fodor 2000.

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                                                                                                  • Sperber, Dan. “Modularity and Relevance: How Can a Massively Modular Mind Be Flexible and Context-Sensitive?” In The Innate Mind. Vol. 1, Structure and Contents. Edited by Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich, 53–68. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                    Argues that the flexibility problem can be solved by focusing on salience and relevance.

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                                                                                                    Objections to Modularity

                                                                                                    This section references the criticisms of the massive modularity hypothesis that have not been discussed in the other sections. This section is broken down into Critical Overviews of the Massive Modularity Hypothesis, The Input Problem, The Triviality Problem, and The Dual Process Critique.

                                                                                                    Critical Overviews of the Massive Modularity Hypothesis

                                                                                                    This section references the chapters and articles that review a range of objections against the massive modularity hypothesis. Prinz 2006 appeals to neuroscientific findings to criticize this hypothesis. Woodward and Cowie 2004 is a very critical discussion of evolutionary psychologists’ arguments for the massive modularity hypothesis, and Thomas and Karmiloff-Smith 1998 casts doubts on the utility of even the less stringent notions of module.

                                                                                                    • Prinz, Jesse J. “Is the Mind Really Modular?” In Contemporary Debates in Cognitive Science. Edited by Robert L. Stainton, 22–36. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006.

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                                                                                                      Casts doubts on whether any system, including the input systems, is modular.

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                                                                                                      • Thomas, Michael, and Annette Karmiloff-Smith. “Quo Vadis Modularity in the 1990s?” Learning and Individual Differences 10 (1998): 245–250.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1016/S1041-6080(99)80132-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        Criticizes the notions of module that are weaker than Fodor’s notion.

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                                                                                                        • Woodward, James, and Fiona Cowie. “The Mind Is Not (Just) a System of Modules Shaped (Just) by Natural Selection.” In Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Science. Edited by Christopher Hitchcock, 312–334. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004.

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                                                                                                          Critique of evolutionary psychologists’ arguments for the massive modularity hypothesis.

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                                                                                                          The Input Problem

                                                                                                          The input problem asserts that a nonmodular system is required to steer various inputs toward the modules that can process them. It is concluded that the massive modularity hypothesis cannot be true. Fodor 2000 introduces the input problem for the massive modularity hypothesis. Barrett 2005 proposes a solution to this problem.

                                                                                                          The Triviality Problem

                                                                                                          The triviality problem asserts that the less stringent notions of modules should be rejected because they apply to any cognitive system. Pinker 2005 defends a minimalist notion of module, and Fodor 2005 objects that this makes the massive modularity hypothesis trivial.

                                                                                                          The Dual-Process Critique

                                                                                                          Dual-process theories propose that the mind is made of two kinds of cognitive processes, and they insist that modules are only one of the kinds of processes that make up cognition. Stanovich and West 2003 develops this point in detail and concludes that the mind cannot be massively modular. Carruthers 2006 responds to this idea.

                                                                                                          • Carruthers, Peter. The Architecture of the Mind: Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                            Chapter 4 attempts to reconcile the massive modularity hypothesis with dual-process theories of cognition.

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                                                                                                            • Stanovich, Keith E., and Richard F. West. “Evolutionary versus Instrumental Goals: How Evolutionary Psychology Misconceives Human Rationality.” In Evolution and the Psychology of Thinking: The Debate. Edited by David E. Over, 171–230. New York: Psychology, 2003.

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                                                                                                              Argues against Fodor that some higher cognitive-reasoning tasks are solved by means of modules. Argues against evolutionary psychologists that, in addition to these modules, there is a capacity for domain-general reasoning, sometimes called “system 2.”

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                                                                                                              The Senses

                                                                                                              Perceptual systems, and visual processes in particular, have often been touted as paradigmatic modules. However, their modular nature, particularly whether they are informationally encapsulated and cognitively impenetrable, has been contested. Pylyshyn 1999 and Raftopoulos 2009 defend the claim that vision is cognitively impenetrable. Balcetis and Dunning 2006, by two psychologists, criticizes this claim. O’Callaghan 2008 reviews the literature indicating that vision and audition influence each other. McCauley and Henrich 2006 presents some evidence that visual illusions—a key piece of evidence in support of the informational encapsulation of vision—are not universal.

                                                                                                              • Balcetis, Emily, and David Dunning. “See What You Want to See: Motivational Influences on Visual Perception.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 91 (2006): 612625.

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                                                                                                                New evidence for the cognitive penetrability of perception in line with the research done by the New Look movement in the psychology of perception in the 1950s. Counterpoint to Pylyshyn 1999.

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                                                                                                                • McCauley, Robert N., and Joseph Henrich. “Susceptibility to the Müller-Lyer Illusion, Theory-Neutral Observation, and the Diachronic Penetrability of the Visual Input System.” Philosophical Psychology 19 (2006): 79–101.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1080/09515080500462347Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Presents evidence that the sensitivity to the Müller-Lyer illusion, a typical example of the informational encapsulation of vision, is not universal.

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                                                                                                                  • O’Callaghan, Casey. “Seeing What You Hear: Cross-Modal Illusions and Perception.” Philosophical Issues 18 (2008): 316338.

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                                                                                                                    Reviews the evidence that processing in one perceptual modality is influenced by the processing in other perceptual modalities, resulting in cross-modal illusions. Bears on the claim that our senses are informationally encapsulated.

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                                                                                                                    • Pylyshyn, Zenon W. “Is Vision Continuous with Cognition? The Case for Cognitive Impenetrability of Visual Perception.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1999): 341–365.

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                                                                                                                      Defends the cognitive impenetrability of early vision. Reviews and responds to the findings suggesting that vision is cognitively penetrable. The commentaries after Pylyshyn’s article, as well as Pylyshyn’s response, are worth reading.

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                                                                                                                      • Raftopoulos, Athanassios. Cognition and Perception: How Do Psychology and Neural Science Inform Philosophy? Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                        Part 1 presents a detailed defense of the claim that perception is cognitively impenetrable.

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                                                                                                                        Mind Reading

                                                                                                                        Modularists have often argued that a dedicated module subserves mind reading (the capacity to ascribe mental states, including beliefs and desires, to oneself and others) and that this module is impaired in autism, since people with autism seem to have difficulty understanding others’ mental states. The influential book Baron-Cohen 1995 is the locus classicus for this claim. Segal 1996 is an early attempt to clarify what the modularist hypothesis about mind reading amounts to. Scholl and Leslie 1999 clarifies and defends the claim that mind reading is modular. This claim is rejected by Currie and Sterelny 2000 and by Gerrans 2002. Scott and Baillargeon 2009 reviews Baillargeon’s groundbreaking findings about mind reading in babies. Endorsing a modularist conception of mind reading, Sperber and Wilson 2002 argues that the pragmatic dimension of language use is consistent with the massive modularity hypothesis.

                                                                                                                        • Baron-Cohen, Simon. Mindblindness: An Essay on Autism and Theory of Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                          Classic and influential book. Argues that a dedicated module subserves mind reading and that this module is impaired in autism. The other articles in this section are inspired by this book.

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                                                                                                                          • Currie, Gregory, and Kim Sterelny. “How to Think about the Modularity of Mind-Reading.” Philosophical Quarterly 50 (2000): 145–160.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/1467-9213.00176Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Argues that the ascription of mental states to others is unlikely to be modular, although it depends on modular systems.

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                                                                                                                            • Gerrans, Philip. “The Theory of Mind Module in Evolutionary Psychology.” Biology and Philosophy 17 (2002): 305–321.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1023/A:1020183525825Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Criticizes the idea that a module subserves mind reading. Argues that autism is not the result of a deficient module but rather results from the failures of low-level mechanisms during development.

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                                                                                                                              • Scholl, Brian J., and Alan M. Leslie. “Modularity, Development and ‘Theory of Mind.’” Mind and Language 14 (1999): 131–153.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1111/1468-0017.00106Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                Clarifies what a modular account of mind reading amounts to and explains that modularity is not synonymous with being preformed. Defends a modular account of mind reading.

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                                                                                                                                • Scott, Rose M., and Renée Baillargeon. “Which Penguin Is This? Attributing False Beliefs about Object Identity at 18 Months.” Child Development 80 (2009): 1172–1196.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01324.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Provides evidence that mind reading develops very early. The first part of the paper reviews Baillargeon’s groundbreaking work on mind reading in babies and frames it in a useful manner.

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                                                                                                                                  • Segal, Gabriel. “The Modularity of Theory of Mind.” In Theories of Theories of Mind. Edited by Peter Carruthers and Peter K. Smith, 141–157. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                    Distinguishes different notions of module and examines which of them apply to mind reading.

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                                                                                                                                    • Sperber, Dan, and Deirdre Wilson. “Pragmatics, Modularity and Mind-Reading.” Mind and Language 17 (2002): 3–23.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/1468-0017.00186Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      Argues that the pragmatic interpretation of sentences relies on a modular mind-reading system and not on a domain-general capacity.

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                                                                                                                                      Language

                                                                                                                                      The capacity to speak and to understand language is often viewed as the best example of a modular faculty. This section presents articles bearing on this claim. Fodor 1983 takes language processing to be a clear example of a module. Garfield 1987 is a classic collection of articles on this topic. Brock 2007 reviews the research on the linguistic capacity of people with Williams syndrome, which has often been taken to support the modularity of language processing. Smith and Tsimpli 1995 presents a remarkable case study that supports the domain specificity of language production and comprehension, while Borg 2004 ties research in formal semantics with the modularity of the mind. Poeppel and Hickok 2004 reviews the attempts to distinguish various language modules and to localize them in the brain. This research tradition originated with the work of neurologists Paul Broca and Carl Wernicke in the 19th century. Bergeron 2007 compares Broca and Wernicke’s respective approaches and distinguishes different approaches to the modularity of language.

                                                                                                                                      • Bergeron, Vincent. “Anatomical and Functional Modularity in Cognitive Science: Shifting the Focus.” Philosophical Psychology 20 (2007): 175–195.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/09515080701197155Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Examines Broca’s and Wernicke’s modularist approaches to language. Distinguishes different ways of being a modularist.

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                                                                                                                                        • Borg, Emma. Minimal Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1093/0199270252.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Argues that research in formal semantics supports the Fodorian modular picture of the mind.

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                                                                                                                                          • Brock, Jon. “Language Abilities in Williams Syndrome: A Critical Review.” Development and Psychopathology 19 (2007): 97–127.

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                                                                                                                                            Reviews the claim that language processing is spared in Williams syndrome. Argues that evidence does not support this claim, and that this lack of support undermines the thesis that language processing is modular.

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                                                                                                                                            • Fodor, Jerry A. The Modularity of Mind: An Essay on Faculty Psychology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                              Classic book. Asserts that language processing is clearly modular.

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                                                                                                                                              • Garfield, Jay L. Modularity in Knowledge Representation and Natural-Language Understanding. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987.

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                                                                                                                                                In this classic collection of articles, philosophers, linguists, psycholinguists, and neuroscientists debate the modularity of language production and comprehension.

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                                                                                                                                                • Poeppel, David, and Gregory Hickok. “Towards a New Functional Anatomy of Language.” Cognition 92 (2004): 1–12.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2003.11.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Critically evaluates the research program aimed at distinguishing various language modules and localizing them in distinct brain areas.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Smith, Neil, and Ianthi-Maria Tsimpli. The Mind of a Savant: Language-Learning And Modularity. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                    Presents a striking case study showing that language can be dissociated from general intelligence. Concludes that language is modular.

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                                                                                                                                                    The Brain

                                                                                                                                                    The relation between modularist hypotheses about cognition and the organization of the brain (particularly with localizationist hypotheses, according to which particular brain areas are specialized for specific functions) is not straightforward, but findings about the latter can bear on the former (for discussion, see Anderson 2007 and the first section of Machery 2007). An oft-cited article, Haxby, et al. 2001, argues that representations of objects in the brain are not localized but are widely distributed and overlap considerably. Anderson 2007 argues that brain areas are not specialized for specific tasks and that this casts doubts on modularist conceptions of cognition. By contrast, the interpretation of the neuroscientific data in Op de Beeck, et al. 2008 supports a localizationist view of the brain as do the findings in Pitcher, et al. 2009. Quartz 2002 argues that the massive modularity hypothesis is undermined by our knowledge of the evolution of the mammalian brain. Machery 2007 challenges Quartz’s argument. Buller and Hardcastle 2000 argues that the plasticity of brain development and the small number of genes (the argument from gene shortage) undermine the massive modularity hypothesis. The review by Ramus 2006 provides a useful counterpoint to these two arguments.

                                                                                                                                                    • Anderson, Michael L. “Massive Redeployment, Exaptation, and the Functional Integration of Cognitive Operations.” Synthese 159 (2007): 329–345.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/s11229-007-9233-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      Argues that brain areas are not specialized for specific purposes, and that this casts doubts on the modular approaches to cognitive architecture.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Buller, David J., and Valerie Hardcastle. “Evolutionary Psychology, Meet Developmental Neurobiology: Against Promiscuous Modularity.” Brain and Mind 1 (2000): 302–325.

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                                                                                                                                                        Argues that the massive modularity hypothesis is incompatible with what we know about brain development. Presents the argument from gene shortage: there are not enough genes to code for the modules hypothesized by evolutionary psychologists. Presents the argument from plasticity: neural plasticity shows that the mind does not contain innate modules. Neural modules are not adaptations but consequences of brain development.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Haxby, James V., M. Ida Gobbini, Maura L. Furey, Alumit Ishai, Jennifer L. Schouten, and Pietro Pietrini. “Distributed and Overlapping Representations of Faces and Objects in Ventral Temporal Cortex.” Science 293 (2001): 2425–2430.

                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1126/science.1063736Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          Argues that analyzing brain activation by means of sophisticated cluster-analysis methods fails to reveal brain areas specialized for different purposes.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Machery, Edouard. “Massive Modularity and Brain Evolution.” Philosophy of Science 74 (2007): 825–838.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1086/525624Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            Response to Quartz 2002. Argues that the massive modularity hypothesis is compatible with what we know about brain evolution.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Op de Beeck, Hans P., Johannes Haushofer, and Nancy G. Kanwisher. “Interpreting fMRI Data: Maps, Modules and Dimensions.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9 (2008): 123–135.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1038/nrn2314Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Reviews the brain-imagery literature in light of the question of the modularity of the cortex. Counterpoint to Haxby, et al. 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Quartz, Steven R. “Toward a Developmental Evolutionary Psychology: Genes, Development, and the Evolution of the Human Cognitive Architecture.” In Evolutionary Psychology: Alternative Approaches. Edited by Steven J. Scher and Frederick Rauscher, 185–210. Boston: Kluwer, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                Argues that findings about the allometry of the main brain structures and about the nature of brain development are incompatible with the massive modularity hypothesis.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Pitcher, David, Lucie Charles, Joseph T. Devlin, Vincent Walsh, and Bradley Duchaine. “Triple Dissociation of Faces, Bodies, and Objects in Extrastriate Cortex.” Current Biology 19 (2009): 319–324.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.01.007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  TMS (transcranial magnetic simulation) evidence that faces, bodies, and novel objects are processed by different parts of the occipital cortex. Useful counterpoint to Haxby, et al. 2001 and Anderson 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Ramus, Frank. “Genes, Brain, and Cognition: A Roadmap for the Cognitive Scientist.” Cognition 101 (2006): 247–269.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2006.04.003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Reviews the most important findings about brain development and genetic expression in the brain. Useful counterpoint to Buller and Hardcastle 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Epistemology of Research on Modularity

                                                                                                                                                                    The articles in this section examine how one can test modularist hypotheses. Caramazza 1986 is a well-known article defending the importance of neuropsychological case studies for inferring that different tasks elicit different processes, an important step for supporting domain-specific hypotheses about the mind. Shallice 1988 reviews the arguments concerning the use of dissociation patterns as evidence (or not) of underlying modular processes. Dunn and Kirsner 1988 and Dunn and Kirsner 2003 focus on what can be inferred from double dissociations, and Plaut 1995 is a well-known criticism of the use of double dissociations. Poldrack 2006 focuses on inferences from neuroimaging data, a type of inferences criticized by Uttal 2001. Paterson, et al. 1999 reviews Karmiloff-Smith’s claim that dissociations resulting from genetic disorders (e.g., autism) provide no evidence for identifying domain-specific processes. Machery 2011 criticizes Karmiloff-Smith’s argument.

                                                                                                                                                                    • Caramazza, Alfonso. “On Drawing Inferences about the Structure of Normal Cognitive Systems from the Analysis of Patterns of Impaired Performance: The Case for Single-Patient Studies.” Brain and Cognition 5 (1986): 41–66.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1016/0278-2626(86)90061-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      Classic article examining how the structure of cognitive processes can be inferred from impaired performances of neuropsychological patients. Compares inferences from group studies to inferences from single-patient studies and highlights the strength of the latter.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Dunn, John C., and Kim Kirsner. “Discovering Functionally Independent Mental Processes: The Principle of Reversed Association.” Psychological Review 95 (1988): 91–101.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.95.1.91Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Examines the type of evidence supporting the claim that distinct processes are involved in different tasks.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Dunn, John C., and Kim Kirsner. “What Can We Infer from Double Dissociations?” Cortex 39 (2003): 1–7.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1016/S0010-9452(08)70070-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          Reviews the debate about the role of double dissociations for inferring that distinct cognitive processes are involved in different tasks. Read also the responses to this article in the same issue of Cortex.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Machery, Edouard. “Developmental Disorders and Cognitive Architecture.” In Maladapting Minds: Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Evolutionary Theory. Edited by Pieter R. Adriaens and Andreas de Block. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Response to Karmiloff-Smith’s objections against the use of dissociations resulting from genetic disorders to study the architecture of cognition (see Paterson, et al. 1999).

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Paterson, S. J., J. H. Brown, M. K. Gsödl, M. H. Johnson, and A. Karmiloff-Smith. “Cognitive Modularity and Genetic Disorders.” Science 286 (1999): 2355–2358.

                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5448.2355Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              Argues that the dissociations resulting from genetic disorders, such as autism or Williams syndrome, cannot be used to infer that different processes are used in different tasks. Concludes that this undermines the massive modularity hypothesis.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Plaut, David C. “Double Dissociation without Modularity: Evidence from Connectionist Neuropsychology.” Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 17 (1995): 291–321.

                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1080/01688639508405124Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                Critique of the inference of distinct processes involved in different tasks from double dissociations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Poldrack, Russell A. “Can Cognitive Processes Be Inferred from Neuroimaging Data?” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (2006): 59–63.

                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2005.12.004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  Examines how one can use neuroimaging data to distinguish cognitive processes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Shallice, Tim. From Neuropsychology to Mental Structure. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511526817Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    Classic book about how neuropsychological data bear on psychological hypotheses.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Uttal, William R. The New Phrenology: The Limits of Localizing Cognitive Processes in the Brain. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Criticizes the use of neuroimaging data to identify the neural localization of cognitive processes. Counterpoint to Poldrack 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Modularity in Biology

                                                                                                                                                                                      The notion of module used in psychology has a counterpart in biology. This section lists the key resources for understanding modularity in biology. Winther 2001 is a useful typology of the notions of module found in biology. Wagner 1996 is a defense of the claim that biological systems are modularly organized, and Wagner and Wagner 2003 brings together the debates about modularity in psychology and biology. Mitchell 2006 proposes a more critical stance toward the use of the notion of module in contemporary biology.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Mitchell, Sandra D. “Modularity—More Than a Buzzword?” Biological Theory 1 (2006): 98–101.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Argues that the term “module,” confusingly, is used in various different ways in biology. Worries that this might render some modularist hypotheses vacuous.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Wagner, Günter P. “Homologues, Natural Kinds and the Evolution of Modularity.” American Zoologist 36 (1996): 36–43.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Argues that the body is composed of different modules. Proposes four selective scenarios explaining the evolution of modular phenotypes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Wagner, Wolfgang, and Günter P. Wagner. “Examining the Modularity Concept in Evolutionary Psychology: The Level of Genes, Mind, and Culture.” Journal of Cultural and Evolutionary Psychology 1 (2003): 135–165.

                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1556/JCEP.1.2003.3-4.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            Brings together the discussion of modules in psychology and in biology.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Winther, Rasmus G. “Varieties of Modules: Kinds, Levels, Origins and Behaviors.” Journal of Experimental Zoology 291 (2001): 116–129.

                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1002/jez.1064Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              Very useful article. Reviews the different concepts of module found in biology and draws important distinctions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Broader Philosophical Implications

                                                                                                                                                                                              The philosophical implications of modularity are not limited to the philosophy of psychology and the philosophy of biology. This section lists the articles that examine the broader philosophical implications of modularity. Fodor 1984 argues that the cognitive impenetrability of perception undermines the claim that observation is theory laden and the skeptical implications drawn from this claim. Churchland 1988 criticizes Fodor 1984, while Fodor 1988 replies to Churchland 1988. Raftopoulos 2009 brings the debates about cognitive penetrability to bear on a range of philosophical questions.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Churchland, Paul M. “Perceptual Plasticity and Theoretical Neutrality: A Reply to Jerry Fodor.” Philosophy of Science 55 (1988): 167–187.

                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1086/289425Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                Response to Fodor 1984. Argues that perception is cognitively penetrable and that, even if it were not, this would not prevent observation from being theory laden.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Fodor, Jerry. “Observation Reconsidered.” Philosophy of Science 51 (1984): 23–43.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1086/289162Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Argues that the cognitive impenetrability of perception undermines one argument for the claim that observation is theory laden.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Fodor, Jerry A.“ A Reply to Churchland’s ‘Perceptual Plasticity and Theoretical Neutrality.’” Philosophy of Science 55 (1988): 188–198.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1086/289426Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Response to Churchland 1988.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Raftopoulos, Athanassios. Cognition and Perception: How Do Psychology and Neural Science Inform Philosophy? Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Argues that the cognitive impenetrability of perception bears on the nature of nonconceptual content, the capacity of having thoughts about the world, the claim that observation is theory laden, and scientific realism.

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