In Critical Condition

Polemical Essays on Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Mind

In this book Jerry Fodor contrasts his views about the mind with those of a number of well-known philosophers and cognitive scientists, including John McDowell, Christopher Peacocke, Paul Churchland, Daniel Dennett, Paul Smolensky, and Richard Dawkins. Several of these essays are published here for the first time. The rest originated as book reviews in the Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books, or in journals of philosophy or psychology. The topics examined include cognitive architecture, the nature of concepts, and the status of Darwinism in psychology. Fodor constructs a version of the Representational Theory of Mind that blends Intentional Realism, Computational Reductionism, Nativism, and Semantic Atomism.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. 1. Review of John McDowell's Mind and World
  3. 2. Special Sciences: Still Autonomous after All These Years (A Reply to Jaegwon Kim's "Multiple Realization and the Metaphysics of Reduction")
  4. 3. Review of Christopher Peacocke's A Study of Concepts
  5. 4. There Are No Recognitional Concepts—Not Even RED
  6. 5. There Are No Recognitional Concepts—Not Even RED, Part 2: The Plot Thickens
  7. 6. Do We Think in Mentalese? Remarks on Some Arguments of Peter Carruthers
  8. 7. Review of A. W. Moore's Points of View
  9. 8. Review of Paul Churchland's The Engine of Reason, The Seat of the Soul
  10. 9. Connectionism and the Problem of Systematicity: Why Smolensky's Solution Doesn't Work

    Jerry Fodor and Biran McLaughlin

  11. 10. Connectionism and the Problem of Systematicity (Continued): Why Smolensky's Solution Still Doesn't Work
  12. 11. There and Back Again: A Review of Annette Karmiloff-Smith's Beyond Modularity
  13. 12. Review of Jeff Elman et al., Rethinking Innateness
  14. 13. Review of Steven Mithen's The Prehistory of the Mind
  15. 14. Review of Richard Dawkins's Climbing Mount Improbable
  16. 15. Deconstructing Dennett's Darwin
  17. 16. Is Science Biologically Possible? Comments on Some Arguments of Patricia Churchland and of Alvin Plantinga
  18. 17. Review of Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works and Henry Plotkin's Evolution in Mind
  19. References
  20. Index