The Architecture of the Mind

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Peter Carruthers, a leading philosopher of mind, provides a comprehensive development and defense of one of the guiding assumptions of evolutionary psychology: that the human mind is composed of a large number of semi-independent modules. Written with unusual clarity and directness, and surveying an extensive range of research in cognitive science, it will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in the nature and organization of the mind.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A magnificent defense of the massive modularity thesis, showing how this view of the mind—and only this view—is compatible with both our understanding of human evolution and of human creativity."—Steven Mithen FBA, Professor of Early Prehistory, University of Reading

"It is a sweeping synthesis, covering a vast range of material, while arguing persuasively for an architecture of the mind (and brain!) that is more all encompassing but somewhat weaker than Fodorian modularity. For anyone interested in the current status of the modularity hypothesis, this is a must-read."—Randy Gallistel, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Rutgers University

"The Architecture of the Mind is as brave as it is massive. At a time when most mainstream cognitive psychologists have dismissed the possibility that the mind might be importantly modular, Carruthers has launched a valiant, state-of-the-art defense, touching on insights from biology, animal behavior, and experimental psychology. If you care about the modularity hypothesis—and every cognitive scientist should—you owe it to yourself to read this book."—Gary Marcus, Department of Psychology, New York University, and Director of the NYU Infant Language Learning Center

"For over a decade, the massive modularity hypothesis has been center-stage in debates about cognitive architecture and evolutionary psychology. In this bold, wide-ranging and ambitious book, Carruthers sets out and defends what is, by far, the clearest and most plausible version of the massive modularity hypothesis to be found in the literature. He also explores the often surprising implications of his version of massive modularity for a wide range of issues including creativity, consciousness, norms and scientific reasoning. This is the best sort of interdisciplinary research— innovative, broadly informed, and crystal clear. It is essential reading for anyone interested in how the human mind works and how it evolved." —Stephen Stich, Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Rutgers University

"Claims about the architecture (or overall structure) of the mind play a key role in explanations of virtually every fundamental feature of human existence—from our capacity for science and creativity, to practical reasoning and morality. Carruthers's book—ostensibly a defense of "massive modularity"—provides what is surely the richest and most complete picture of the mind to date, laying out the structure of human and animal minds with unparalleled empirical richness and philosophical rigor. It is one of the most important books in the philosophy of mind in decades. A truly monumental achievement."— Stephen Laurence, University of Sheffield

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199207084
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Maryland
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Table of Contents

1. The Case for Massive Modularity
2. The Architecture of Animal Minds
3. Modules of the Human Mind
4. Modularity and Flexibility: the First Steps
5. Creative Cognition in a Modular Mind
6. The Cognitive Basis of Science
7. Distinctively Human Practical Reason
8. Conclusion to the Volume

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