MODULARITY OF MIND

Abstract

Author(s): Yasaman CHOUBSAZ

When we are talking about language acquisition, an important issue is how the different abilities including acquiring syntax, phonetics and vocabulary are picked up by infants from very little input. A range of theories have been created in order to explain this problem. The aim of this article is to review Chomsky and Fodor's theories about the structure of mind, modularity of mind, and more specifically modularity of language. Chomsky's work over several decades has provided a wealth of evidence that "the language faculty constitutes a separate module in this sense, akin in many respects to any other organ of the body." Chomsky believes that there are two notions of modularity and he provides evidence for both kinds of modularity. Jerry Fodor who is an American philosopher and cognitive scientist believes that in order to represent the realities of human mind, the existence of various kinds of cognitive psychological mechanism is necessary. He maintains that our mind has two kinds of faculties: vertical and horizontal. The most important characteristics of these two faculties and their contribution in acquiring language are discussed in the article and the last part is the pros and cons concerning the modularity thesis.

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