Journal Article

Cognitive Maps and the Language of Thought

Michael Rescorla

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 60, issue 2, pages 377-407
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axp012
Cognitive Maps and the Language of Thought

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Fodor advocates a view of cognitive processes as computations defined over the language of thought (or Mentalese). Even among those who endorse Mentalese, considerable controversy surrounds its representational format. What semantically relevant structure should scientific psychology attribute to Mentalese symbols? Researchers commonly emphasize logical structure, akin to that displayed by predicate calculus sentences. To counteract this tendency, I discuss computational models of navigation drawn from probabilistic robotics. These models involve computations defined over cognitive maps, which have geometric rather than logical structure. They thereby demonstrate the possibility of rational cognitive processes in an exclusively non-logical representational medium. Furthermore, they offer much promise for the empirical study of animal navigation.

Mental Representations

Mental Imagery, Perception, and Cognitive Maps

Cognitive Maps in Psychology

Cognitive Maps in Robotics

Cognitive Maps in the Strict Sense?

Logically Structured Representations?

Systematicity and Productivity

Consequences for Philosophy and Psychology

Appendix: Cartographic Semantics

Journal Article.  12093 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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