According to rtm, a propositional attitude inherits its content from the content of the representation to which the thinker is related. For example, angie believes that david stole a candy bar if and only if there is a belief relation between Angie and a mental representation, the content of which is david stole a candy bar. Thus, where φ you names a propositional attitude, and p is the content of a propositional attitude, a technical rendering of rtm is as follows: (R1) A subject s φ s that p if and only if there is a relation rφ and a mental representation. According to rtm, the difference between Angies believing that david stole a candy bar and her hoping that david stole a candy bar, lies in there being different relations between her and the same representation of the content david stole a candy bar. Thus, (R1) is a schema. For specific propositional attitudes, the name of the attitude will take the place of φ in the schema. For example, the case of belief is as follows: (R1B) A subject S believes that p if and only if there is a relation Rbelief and a mental representation P such that S bears Rbelief to p and P means that. Rtm is a species of intentional realism —the view that propositional attitudes are real states of organisms, and in particular that a mature psychology will make reference to such states in the explanation of behavior.
Since loth is the claim that mental representation has both combinatorial syntax and compositional semantics, it allows for the further claim that mental processes are causal processes defined over the syntax of mental representations, in ways that respect semantic constraints on those representations (Fodor 1975. This further claim is the causal-syntactic theory of mental processes (csmp). Loth and csmp together assert that the brain, like a digital computer, processes linguistically structured representations in ways that are sensitive to the syntax of those representations. Indeed, the advent of the digital computer inspired ctm. This will be further discussed below. Rtm and the Propositional Attitudes loth is a specification of the representational theory of mind (RTM). Rtm is the thesis that commonsense mental states, the propositional attitudes such as believing, desiring, hoping, wishing, and fearing are relations between a subject and a mental representation.
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Third, the posited language is not appropriately thought of as being introspectively accessible to a thinking subject. In other words, while thinkers may have access to much of what goes on while they are fountainhead thinking (for example the images, words and so on that may be visible in sponsorship the minds eye the language of thought is not visible as such. Rather, it is best thought of as the representations that are being tokened in and processed by the brain, during and beneath all that is accessible to the thinker. (However, that they are not introspectively accessible is not to be taken to indicate that they are not causally efficacious in the production of behavior. On the contrary, they must be, if the theory is to explain the production of rational behavior.) Casting loth as the idea of sentences in the head can be useful, if understood appropriately: as sentences of a species-wide formal language, encoded in the operations.
Mental Processes as causal-Syntactic Processes Representational systems with combinatorial syntax and compositional semantics are incredibly important, as they allow for processes to be defined over the syntax of the system of representations that will nevertheless respect constraints on the semantics of those representations. For example, standard rules of inference for sentential logic—rules such as modus ponens, which allows the inference from a representation of the form a é b together with a representation of the form A to a representation of the form b—are defined over the syntax. Nevertheless, the rules respect the following semantic constraint: given true premises, correct application of them will result only in true conclusions. Processes defined over the syntax of representations, moreover, can be implemented in physical systems as causal processes. Hence, representational systems possessing both combinatorial syntax and compositional semantics allow for the construction of physical systems that behave in ways that respect the semantic constraints of the implemented representational system. That is, they allow for the construction of machines that think rationally. Modern digital computers are just such machines: they employ linguistically structured representations and processes defined over the syntax of those representations, implemented as causal processes.
For instance, the truth-value of a representation with the form A B is true just in case the truth-value of a is false or the truth-value of b is true. Alter the arrangement of the parts (B A) or the overall structure (a b) or the components (A C) and the truth-value of the whole may change as well. Therefore it also possesses a compositional semantics. Loth amounts to the idea that mental representation has both a combinatorial syntax and a compositional semantics. It is the idea that thoughts occur in a formal mental language (termed the language of thought or often mentalese). A common way of casting it is as the claim that thoughts are literally sentences in the head.
This way of explaining the thesis can be both helpful and misleading. First, it is important to note that sentences can be implemented in a multitude of different kinds of media, and they can be written in a natural language or encoded in some symbolic language. For example, they may be written on paper, etched in stone, or encoded in the various positions of a series of electrical switches. They may be written in English, French, first-order logic, or Morse code. Loth claims that at a high level of abstraction, the brain can be accurately described as encoding the sentences of a formal language. Second, it is equally important to note that the symbolic language loth posits is not equivalent to any particular spoken language but is the common linguistic structure in all human thought. Part of Fodors (1975) original argument for loth was that learning a spoken language requires already possessing an internal mental language, the latter being common to all members of the species.
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For example, sentential logic (propositional logic) employs symbols to represent simple declarative sentences (usually the capital letters a, b, c) and essay symbols for logical connectives (usually for and, dream v for or, for if then, and so on). Thus, a might be an atomic representation of the sentence gail is tall, b an atomic representation of the sentence Alan is bald, and c an atomic representation of the sentence Amanda is funny. In that case, (a b) v c would be a compound representation of the sentence either gail is tall and Alan is bald, or Amanda is funny. The components of this compound representation are the compound representation (a b) and the atomic representation. In short, sentential logic employs both atomic and compound representations, and the components of its compound representations are themselves either atomic or compound. Thus, it possesses a combinatorial syntax. Moreover, the semantic content of a representation within sentential logic (generally taken to be a truth-value— either true or false) is a function of the content of the syntactic constituents, together with overall structure and arrangement of the representation.
The language of reagan Thought Hypothesis. Combinatorial Syntax and Compositional Semantics. Loth is the claim that mental representation has a linguistic structure. A representational system has a linguistic structure if it employs both a combinatorial syntax and a compositional semantics (see fodor and Pylyshyn 1988 for this account of linguistic structuring). A representational system possesses a combinatorial syntax if, (i) it employs two sorts of representation: atomic representations and compound representations, and (ii) the constituents of compound representations are either compound or atomic. A representational system possesses a compositional semantics if, (iii) the semantic content of a representation is a function of the semantic content of its syntactic constituents, the overall structure of the representation, and the arrangement of the constituents within the overall structure. Formal languages are good examples of languages possessing both combinatorial syntax and compositional semantics.
and objections. The language of Thought Hypothesis, combinatorial Syntax and Compositional Semantics, mental Processes as causal-Syntactic Processes. Rtm and the Propositional Attitudes, the computational Theory of Mind, theories of meaning. Arguments for loth, the Only game in Town, productivity. Systematicity, inferential Coherence, problems and Objections, individuating Symbols. Context-dependent Properties of Thought, mental Images, mental Maps. Connectionist Networks, analog and Digital Representation, references and Further reading.
The cluster therefore is referred to often (and aptly) as the computational theory of mind (CTM). Loth was first introduced by, jerry fodor in his 1975 book, the language of Thought, and further elaborated and defended in a series of works by fodor and several collaborators. Fodors original argument for loth rested on the claim that (at the time) the only plausible psychological resume models presupposed linguistically structured mental representations. Subsequent arguments for loth are inferences to the best explanation. They appeal to supposed features of human cognition such as productivity, systematicity, and inferential coherence, arguing that these features are best explained if loth is true. Important objections to loth have come from those who believe that the mind is best modeled by connectionist networks, and by those who believe that (at least some) mental representation takes place in other formats, such as maps and images. This article has three main sections.
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The language of thought hypothesis (loth) is the hypothesis that mental representation has a linguistic structure, or in other words, that thought takes place within a mental language. The hypothesis is sometimes expressed as the claim that thoughts are sentences in the head. It is one of a cluster of other hypotheses that together offer a theory of the nature of thought and thinking. The other hypotheses in the cluster include the causal-syntactic theory of mental processes (csmp and the representational theory of mind (RTM). The former is the hypothesis that mental processes are causal processes defined over the syntax of mental representations. The latter is the hypothesis that propositional attitudes are relations between subjects and mental representations. Taken together these theses purport to explain how rational thought and behavior can be produced by a physical object, such gpa as the human brain. In short, the explanation is that the brain is a computer and that thinking is a computational process.