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Layers in the Fabric of Mind: A Critical Review of Cognitive Ontogeny

By G. Nagarjuna


The essay is critically examines the conceptual problems with the influential modularity model of mind. We shall see that one of the essential characters of modules, namely informational encapsulation, is not only inessential, it ties a knot at a crucial place blocking the solution to the problem of understanding the formation of concepts from percepts (nodes of procedural knowledge). Subsequently I propose that concept formation takes place by modulation of modules leading to cross-representations, which were otherwise prevented by encapsulation. It must be noted that the argument is not against modular architecture, but a variety of an architecture that prevents interaction among modules. This is followed by a brief argument demonstrating that module without modularization, i.e. without developmental history, is impossible. Finally the emerging picture of cognitive development is drawn in the form of the layers in the fabric of mind, with a brief statement of the possible implications

Topics: Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Philosophy of Mind, Evolutionary Psychology, Epistemology
Publisher: Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai, India
Year: 2006
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