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Hardcover | $53.00 Short | £44.95 | 488 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 36 b&w illus., 2 tables | April 2014 | ISBN: 9780262027236
eBook | $37.00 Short | April 2014 | ISBN: 9780262322454
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The Architecture of Cognition

Rethinking Fodor and Pylyshyn’s Systematicity Challenge
Edited by Paco Calvo and John Symons


In 1988, Jerry Fodor and Zenon Pylyshyn challenged connectionist theorists to explain the systematicity of cognition. In a highly influential critical analysis of connectionism, they argued that connectionist explanations, at best, can only inform us about details of the neural substrate; explanations at the cognitive level must be classical insofar as adult human cognition is essentially systematic. More than twenty-five years later, however, conflicting explanations of cognition do not divide along classicist-connectionist lines, but oppose cognitivism (both classicist and connectionist) with a range of other methodologies, including distributed and embodied cognition, ecological psychology, enactivism, adaptive behavior, and biologically based neural network theory. This volume reassesses Fodor and Pylyshyn’s “systematicity challenge” for a post-connectionist era.

The contributors consider such questions as how post-connectionist approaches meet Fodor and Pylyshyn’s conceptual challenges; whether there is empirical evidence for or against the systematicity of thought; and how the systematicity of human thought relates to behavior. The chapters offer a representative sample and an overview of the most important recent developments in the systematicity debate.


Ken Aizawa, William Bechtel, Gideon Borensztajn, Paco Calvo, Anthony Chemero, Jonathan D. Cohen, Alicia Coram, Jeffrey L. Elman, Stefan L. Frank, Antoni Gomila, Seth A. Herd, Trent Kriete, Christian J. Lebiere, Lorena Lobo, Edouard Machery, Gary Marcus, Emma Martín, Fernando Martínez-Manrique, Brian P. McLaughlin, Randall C. O’Reilly, Alex A. Petrov, Steven Phillips, William Ramsey, Michael Silberstein, John Symons, David Travieso, William H. Wilson, Willem Zuidema

About the Editors

Paco Calvo is Department Chair and Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Murcia, Spain.

John Symons is Department Chair and Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Kansas.


The Architecture of Cognition delivers what the editors promise. It re-examines Fodor and Pylyshyn’s systematicity challenge for a Post-Connectionist era and sheds light on how cognition could be systematic, and in which ways the systematicity of thought could be explained or, rather, negated or dismissed altogether.”—Philosophical Psychology