© 2010, Jack Coughlin


[From the introduction]

The two main paradigms in cognitive science are computationalism and connectionism. The former takes as its starting point the analogy of the mind as a computer, and so attempts to describe cognition in terms of discrete symbol manipulation, in the manner of a digital computer. Connectionism is a more “bottom-up” approach to cognitive science, assuming the neurological structure of the brain to be fundamentally important. It is the task of this paper to demonstrate that connectionist theories of cognitive science face a dilemma: either they are mere descriptions of the physical implementation of a computationalist system, or they fail to predict and account for an apparently crucial and fundamental feature of human cognition, the systematicity of thought.

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