Regress arguments against the language of thought

Analysis 57 (1):60-66 (1997)
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Abstract

The Language of Thought Hypothesis is often taken to have the fatal flaw that it generates an explanatory regress. The language of thought is invoked to explain certain features of natural language (e.g., that it is learned, understood, and is meaningful), but, according to the regress argument, the language of thought itself has these same features and hence no explanatory progress has been made. We argue that such arguments rely on the tacit assumption that the entire motivation for the language of thought consists in explaining the explanandum that allegedly generates the regress. But this tacit assumption is simply false. The Language of Thought Hypothesis is a cogent view and one with considerable explanatory advantages.

Author Profiles

Eric Margolis
University of British Columbia
Stephen Laurence
University of Sheffield

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