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Cognitive Science 9: Neural Network Models of Cognitive Processes

08/01/2013

Language and rules: The challenge for information-processing models

The physical symbol system hypothesis seems made perfectly to explain language understanding in humans. This is argued for by Fodor in his book The Language of Thought. He looks at some fundamental constraints to learning language. Since one cannot learn language the first time by appealing to the language itself, there must be some sort of language of thought, as Fodor is famous for.

Language learning in neural networks

Plausible alternatives to Fodor’s proposal exist for neural networks. The most striking piece of evidence is the ability to reproduce in models the same sorts of difficulties found in child learning of languages. There are some serious differences between human neurology and neural networks, but it is sort of a proof of concept that shows that there may be many different ways of modeling how human minds actually work.

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