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Spring 2023 Dept Lecture Series presents Prof. Eric Mandelbaum (CUNY Graduate Center)

Thursday, March 09, 2023, 03:00pm - 05:00pm

The Best Game in Town: The Re-Emergence of the Language of Thought Hypothesis Across the Cognitive Sciences


What is the structure of thought? Many philosophers and cognitive scientists think we've moved past the language of thought (LoT). They believe that instead of symbolic, logical, abstract cognition, we can simply posit deep neural nets, associative models, sensory representations, embodied/extended/etc. cognition, or some other more fashionable approach. However, experimental evidence from the study of perception, infant and animal reasoning, automatic cognition in adults, and cutting-edge computational modeling tells a different story: the LoT hypothesis now enjoys more robust empirical support than ever before. In the course of defending this claim, I'll also outline six properties that are suggestive of an LoT. The presence and absence of these properties open up possibilities for taxonomizing differences in minds and mental processes in terms of their expressive power, thus giving us a guide for mapping the many languages of thought, both within and across species.

Location Philosophy Seminar Room