Fodor on the Mind-Body Problem

In this paper Fodor provides both a historical and philosophical account of the rise of Functionalism as one of the dominant paradigms within both the philosophy of mind and the psychological sciences. Here he argues that the appeal of Functionalism arises in part from the critical failures of the theories before it – such as Logical Behaviorism and Central State Identity Theory – as well as it’s ability to integrate it’s predecessors successes without replicating their failures. Lastly, Fodor addresses possible problems for Functionalism and whether it is robust enough a theory to withstand it’s detractors.

Goldin-Meadow on Language, Cognition, and Gesture

“To test whether the language we speak influences our behavior even when we are not speaking, we asked speakers of four languages differing in their predominant word orders (English, Turkish, Spanish, and Chinese) to perform two nonverbal tasks: a communicative task (describing an event by using gesture without speech) and a noncommunicative task (reconstructing an event with pictures). We found that the word orders speakers used in their everyday speech did not influence their nonverbal behavior. Surprisingly, speakers of all four languages used the same order and on both nonverbal tasks. This order, actor–patient–act, is analogous to the subject–object–verb pattern found in many languages of the world and, importantly, in newly developing gestural languages. The findings provide evidence for a natural order that we impose on events when describing and reconstructing them nonverbally and exploit when constructing language anew.”