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976LANGUAGE, VOLUME 60, NUMBER 4 (1984) in Essays in modern stylistics, ed. by Donald Freeman, 9-23. London: Methuen, 1981.] Lightfoot, David. 1982. The language lottery. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Newmeyer, Frederick J. 1983. Grammatical theory: Its limits and its possibilities. Chicago : University of Chicago Press. Ross, John R. 1973. Nouniness. Three dimensions of linguistic theory, ed. by Osamu Fujimura, 137-258. Tokyo: TEC. Vennemann, Theo. 1973. Phonological concreteness in natural generative grammar. Toward tomorrow's linguistics, ed. by Roger Shuy & C-J. N. Bailey, 202-19. Washington: Georgetown University Press. Zeps, Valdis. 1973. Latvian folk meters and style. A Festschrift for Morris Halle, ed. by Stephen R. Anderson & Paul Kiparsky, 207-11. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. [Received 22 November 1983.] The modularity of mind: An essay on faculty psychology. By Jerry A. Fodor. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983. Pp. ix, 145. Cloth $17.50, paper $8.50. Reviewed by Edward H. Matthei, University of California, Irvine* This is Fodor's latest excursion into the domain of what he earlier (1975) called 'speculative psychology'. As before, he brings together current data about mental processes, and the theories that have been put forth to explain them, in order to 'elucidate the general conception of the mind that [is] implicit in the data and the theories' (1975: 1). F's concern now (p. 1) is with the current status of the 'faculty psychology' program, which takes the view that 'many fundamentally different kinds of psychological mechanisms must be postulated in order to explain the facts of mental life.' More specifically, his focus is on explicating a particular version of faculty psychology, the modularity thesis. The emphasis is on explaining what the thesis is, and where it seems appropriate to apply it—rather than on its evidential status, which F takes to be an open question. This is not to say that the work does not contain many interesting discussions of current empirical and theoretical work. F draws examples freely from cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, and artificial intelligence, with particular emphasis on work in language and vision. F presents a theory of the structure of the mind in which two kinds of functionally distinguishable faculties exist: 'vertical' faculties (modules) and 'horizontal ' faculties (central processes). The notion of a vertical faculty can be traced back to Franz Joseph Gall—a debt which F acknowledges both in the text and in the form of the phrenological heads which appear on the covers. The main characteristics of such faculties are that they are special-purpose, domain-specific, and computationally autonomous mechanisms that are associated with genetically determined and localized neural structures. F identifies the modules with the 'input systems', whose function is to interpret information about the outside world and to make it available to the central cognitive processes. They include the perceptual systems (vision, audition etc.) * I would like to thank Bill Batchelder, David Laberge, and Ken Wexler for a number of interesting discussions which helped me in writing this review. REVIEWS977 and language. This is, F admits, a non-traditional way of carving up the psychological world (we usually see perception on one side, and thought and language on the other); but he argues for a functional similarity between language mechanisms and perceptual mechanisms, going beyond the simple observation that sentences are objects that must be perceptually identified. The input systems , he claims, share those properties that are characteristic of vertical faculties , and thus can be looked upon as forming a natural kind. The central processes, as horizontal faculties, can be functionally distinguished from modular processes because their operations cross content domains . The paradigm example of their operation is the fixation of belief, as in determining the truth of a sentence. What one believes depends on an evaluation of what one has seen, heard etc., in light of background information. Thus, if we hear/identify an utterance as the sentence There is a tiger here, whether we believe that a tiger is in the immediate vicinity will depend on our past experience with the message source (he/she may be a habitual liar orjoker), what we see in front of us (visual identification of a tiger or tiger-like object), and/or a variety of other things...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 976-979
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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