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[Xmca-l] Re: Chomsky, Vygotsky, and phenomenology



I'd not heard about the run-in of Fodor with PDP advocates, but it's not surprising because parallel distributed processing really is a theory of learning, what's more a theory that has been applied to demonstrate how grammatical competencies can be learned in a way that does not require instantiating rules into the cognitive system. Thus PDP makes a strong claim to accounting for grammar without the need for rules--innate, or otherwise. This is a real threat to the Chomskyan legacy, as Chomsky's major argument for innate grammar was that (1) grammar is a really complicated rule system, and (2) young children who routinely come to master the grammar of their native language could not possibly acquire this rule system through learning. 

David

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 10:48 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Chomsky, Vygotsky, and phenomenology

Fodor and Cogsci did, however, directly Butt heads. He specifically claims the impossibility of cognitive of science in the form of (now) parallel distributed processing systems. The discussion of that claim produced at lot of fireworks at the local CHIP seminar when I got folks to read Fodor and present their own, presumably relevent work.

If the issue has been consensually resolved, i have failed to hear about it.
mike
PS--- An excellent discussion of the learning paradox is in Yrjo's Learning by Expanding, which can be found at http://lchc.ucsd.edu/mca/Paper/Engestrom/Learning-by-Expanding.pdf

On Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 8:32 AM, David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu> wrote:
>
> This is very true, Martin.
>
> But Chomsky's innateness thesis--that the deep structure of human 
> grammar is hard-wired as part of our genetic endowment--has no 
> resonance with assumptions of cognitive science. The reason there was 
> not a more active contesting of innateness by cognitive scientists is twofold.
>
> First, cognitive science, fashioned at that time around the metaphor 
> of the serial digital computer, is a theory of information processing, 
> not of learning. The early models of learning (e.g., Anderson's 
> initial ACT
> Theory) were very brittle, positing that new production rules (the 
> basic elements of mental processing) could be created mechanically in 
> ways that
> (a) meshed into the existing structure of production rules, and (b) 
> improved the performance and capabilities of the system--very 
> questionable claims. So cognitive science did not have a secure 
> foundation for learning that they would want to defend against the 
> quite outlandish thesis that the basic structures of language don't 
> have to be learned because we come equipped with them.
>
> Second, it was politically opportune to have Chomsky to join forces 
> with the emerging cognitive science as a way to slay the dragon of 
> behaviorism--looking at Chomsky's critique of Skinner's Verbal 
> Learning, who WOULDN'T want Chomsky on their side!
>
> David
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces+dkirsh=lsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> xmca-l-bounces+dkirsh=lsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Martin 
> xmca-l-bounces+John
> Packer
> Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 9:25 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Chomsky, Vygotsky, and phenomenology
>
> I think Chomsky's work added credibility to the efforts at the end of 
> the 1950s to change the character of psychology. Computers were just 
> becoming available, and they seemed to offer a model, or a metaphor, for psychology:
> a machine, made of transistors and wires, could be programmed to 
> process information, using an internal language that followed formal 
> rules for manipulating abstract elements that represented (at least 
> for the programmer and user!) some aspect of the world.
>
> Chomsky's approach to language was to formalize it: he viewed language 
> as a collection of grammatical rules that operated (with no attention 
> to
> semantics) on abstract elements (Sentence, Noun, Verb...), to generate 
> strings of sentences that a linguist would consider grammatical.
>
> Chomskian linguistics was considered a kind of test case of the 
> feasibility of a cognitive psychology, one that could challenge the 
> claim by behaviorists that science must study only what is observable, 
> so a scientific psychology must study behavior. Chomsky's work seemed 
> to show that science could also reconstruct an underlying competence 
> that was not directly observable. That is what cognitive psychology 
> has been doing ever since.
>
> Martin
>
> On Dec 17, 2014, at 9:36 AM, Carol Macdonald <carolmacdon@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Do you think Chomsky knows he is? Howard Gardner is a very generous
> fellow.
> >
> > On 17 December 2014 at 16:28, Martin John Packer 
> > <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
> > wrote:
> >>
> >> oh, I just read your second paragraph...
> >>
> >> Howard Gardner lists Noam Chomsky as one of the "founders of 
> >> cognitive science," along with Jerome Bruner, John McCarthy, George 
> >> Miller, and Allen Newell (1985, p. 23).
> >>
> >> Gardner, H. (1985). The mind's new science: A history of the 
> >> cognitive revolution. New York: Basic Books.
> >>
> >> Martin
> >>
> >> On Dec 17, 2014, at 8:54 AM, Carol Macdonald 
> >> <carolmacdon@gmail.com>
> >> wrote:
> >>
> >>> Well yes, and as linguistic and psychology student I was very 
> >>> proud of
> >> him
> >>> for his review, it made me laugh and laugh.  But Chomsky never 
> >>> read
> >> Piaget
> >>> or Vygotsky.  He would have been interested in Vygotsky's 
> >>> interpretation
> >> of
> >>> Behaviousrism.
> >>>
> >>> As to cognitive psychology - well I suppose we should be pleased, 
> >>> but Chomsky had no direct hand in that.
> >>>
> >>> Carol.
> >>>
> >>> On 17 December 2014 at 14:49, Martin John Packer <
> >> mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>> Chomsky knew enough about psychology to write a devastating 
> >>>> review of
> B.
> >>>> F. Skinner's book 'Verbal behavior,' which still makes very 
> >>>> interesting reading. And Chomsky's own book 'Syntactic Structures'
> >>>> was one of the
> >> key
> >>>> components in the emergence of cognitive psychology in the late 
> >>>> 1950s,
> >> as
> >>>> Howard Gardner's book makes clear.
> >>>>
> >>>> Martin
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>> --
> >>> Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
> >>> Developmental psycholinguist
> >>> Academic, Researcher,  and Editor
> >>> Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> > --
> > Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
> > Developmental psycholinguist
> > Academic, Researcher,  and Editor
> > Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa
>
>
>
>

--
It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.