Ideas from 'LOT 2' by Jerry A. Fodor [2008], by Theme Structure

[found in 'LOT 2: the Language of Thought Revisited' by Fodor,Jerry A. [OUP 2008,978-0-19-954877-4]].

Click on the Idea Number for the full details    |     back to texts     |     expand these ideas


1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 3. Philosophy Defined
Who cares what 'philosophy' is? Most pre-1950 thought doesn't now count as philosophy
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 3. Necessary/Sufficient Conditions
Definitions often give necessary but not sufficient conditions for an extension
5. Theory of Logic / E. Structures of Logic / 2. Logical Connectives / d. and
A truth-table, not inferential role, defines 'and'
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / a. Names
Names in thought afford a primitive way to bring John before the mind
'Paderewski' has two names in mentalese, for his pianist file and his politician file
5. Theory of Logic / K. Features of Logics / 2. Consistency
P-and-Q gets its truth from the truth of P and truth of Q, but consistency isn't like that
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 1. Possibility
There's statistical, logical, nomological, conceptual and metaphysical possibility
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / d. Cause of beliefs
Some beliefs are only inferred when needed, like 'Shakespeare had not telephone'
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 6. Knowing How
Knowing that must come before knowing how
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 3. Pragmatism
Pragmatism is the worst idea ever
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 1. Mind / c. Features of mind
Mental states have causal powers
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 7. Seeing Resemblance
The different types of resemblance don't resemble one another
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 2. Machine Functionalism
In the Representational view, concepts play the key linking role
17. Mind and Body / E. Physicalism / 4. Connectionism
Only the labels of nodes have semantic content in connectionism, and they play no role
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 1. Thought
Associative thinking avoids syntax, but can't preserve sense, reference or truth
Connectionism gives no account of how constituents make complex concepts
18. Thought / B. Mechanics of Thought / 2. Mentalese
Ambiguities in English are the classic reason for claiming that we don't think in English
18. Thought / C. Content / 1. Content
We think in file names
18. Thought / C. Content / 5. Twin Earth
If concept content is reference, then my Twin and I are referring to the same stuff
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 2. Ontology of Concepts / a. Concepts as representations
Having a concept isn't a pragmatic matter, but being able to think about the concept
Mental representations name things in the world, but also files in our memory
Concepts have two sides; they are files that face thought, and also face subject-matter
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 2. Ontology of Concepts / b. Concepts as abilities
Cartesians put concept individuation before concept possession
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 2. Ontology of Concepts / c. Fregean concepts
Belief in 'senses' may explain intentionality, but not mental processes
If concepts have sense, we can't see the connection to their causal powers
Frege's puzzles suggest to many that concepts have sense as well as reference
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 3. Structure of Concepts / a. Conceptual structure
You can't think 'brown dog' without thinking 'brown' and 'dog'
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 3. Structure of Concepts / d. Concepts as prototypes
Maybe stereotypes are a stage in concept acquisition (rather than a by-product)
One stereotype might be a paradigm for two difference concepts.
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 3. Structure of Concepts / g. Conceptual atomism
For the referential view of thought, the content of a concept is just its reference
Compositionality requires that concepts be atomic
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 5. Origin of Concepts / a. Origin of concepts
Nobody knows how concepts are acquired
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 5. Origin of Concepts / c. Nativist concepts
We have an innate capacity to form a concept, once we have grasped the stereotype
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 6. Abstract Concepts / b. Abstracta from selection
Abstractionism claims that instances provide criteria for what is shared
18. Thought / E. Artificial Intelligence / 1. Artificial Intelligence
Frame Problem: how to eliminate most beliefs as irrelevant, without searching them?
19. Language / B. Meaning / 7. Meaning by Role
'Inferential-role semantics' say meaning is determined by role in inference
19. Language / C. Semantics / 1. Semantics
Semantics (esp. referential semantics) allows inferences from utterances to the world
Semantics relates to the world, so it is never just psychological
19. Language / D. Theories of Reference / 1. Reference theories
Co-referring terms differ if they have different causal powers
We refer to individuals and to properties, and we use singular terms and predicates
20. Action / B. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / a. Practical reason
Before you can plan action, you must decide on the truth of your estimate of success