Summary of The Modularity of Mind

MIT Press,
First Edition: 1982 more...

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The Modularity of Mind book summary
How do people think? Analysts of our mental processes debate how modular our minds are, and explain why it matters.


5 Overall

9 Innovation

2 Style


This classic in cognitive science has a great deal to say, but an awkward way of saying it. Author Jerry A. Fodor’s style is academic and dense, a potential barrier to all but the most determined, well-prepared reader. Arcane and brilliant, Fodor intersperses colloquial jests with jargon-burdened exposition, leading one to believe that he could have written a book more accessible to the lay reader had he wished to do so. finds, however, that the book repays the persistent, dedicated reader. The reward is a fascinating exploration of the mind, drawing on the literature of epistemology and psychology, with occasional detours down the rarely explored byways of phrenology.

In this summary, you will learn

  • The difference between horizontal and vertical mental structures;
  • How experts explain the theory of "cognitive modularity;" and
  • Why cognitive science has made relatively little progress in studying nonmodular systems.


Faculty Psychology
Faculty psychology - based on human, mental faculties - suggests that different psychological mechanisms must interact to account for the way the mind functions. Faculty psychology takes very seriously the differences between such mental acts as perception, learning ...
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About the Author

Jerry A. Fodor is a philosopher who has written numerous books about the philosophy of mind and cognitive science.

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