The Language of Thought: No Syntax Without Semantics

Mind and Language 5 (3):187-213 (1990)
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Abstract
Many philosophers think that being in an intentional state is a matter of being related to a sentence in a mental language-a 'Language of Thought' (see especially Fodor 1975, 1987 Appendix; Field 1978). According to this view-which I shall call 'the LT hypothesis'-when anyone has a belief or a desire or a hope with a certain content, they have a sentence of this language, with that content, 'written' in their heads. The claim is meant quite literally: the mental representations that make up the items of this language have semantic and syntactic properties. This is why, according to this view, cognitive psychology does, and should, treat that part of the mind which deals with intentional states as a semantic and a syntactic 'engine'.
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