RuCCS Colloquia

Distinctively human thinking in a massively modular mind

Peter Carruthers

Tuesday, November 30, 2004, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

University of Maryland, Department of Philosophy

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This talk will take up one of the main challenges to massively modular models of the human mind: to explain the distinctively flexible and creative character of human cognitive processes. The goal is to sketch how one might build a mind with such properties out of modular components (where these components are �modular� in a non-standard sense to be quickly characterized). The model proposed finds an important place for natural language in realizing distinctively-human thought processes (an idea which is consistent with �dual process� models of human reasoning proposed by Stanovich and others). Language may be able to combine contents that wouldn�t otherwise get conjoined, and then cycles of linguistic activity in �inner speech� may recruit a variety of other inferential systems, and other capacities, to generate novel contents, as well as to acquire novel inference-types (such as canons of scientific method). Some of these capacities � like mental rehearsal of action � are likely to be shared with other animals, whereas others � like meta-representational capacities � may be uniquely human.

Peter Carruthers


The RuCCS Colloquia Series is organized by Dr. Julien Musolino and Dr. Sara Pixley. The talks are held on Tuesdays in the Psychology Building, Room 101 on the Busch Campus from 1:00-2:30pm.

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