Free «The Philosophy of Mind and Cognition» Essay Sample

Philosophy of the mind is a branch of philosophy that is concerned or rather studies the nature of the mind and it various expressions. As such they range from intentionality, sense of perception, consciousness, emotions and feelings, character qualities, traits, the insentient, decision, thinking, memory, thoughts and belief. In connection to this, the language of thought hypothesis and the map theory will be brought into view in order to show the view that best describes the content of the mind. In this line, Language of Thought hypothesis views the mind in the sense that the intentional mental states are a constitution of the mental representations given in language form (Heil 2004).  

This is to suggest that the mental representations are language like and thus they have a combinatorial sentence structure and semantics. The syntaxes are either complex or atomic in making and it follows that the complex syntaxes are a combination of the atomic ones. In the same line of thought, combinatorial semantics can be described in the same way as the content of a representation of the mind that is complex of which it is determined by the syntax and the atomic content thereof (Braddon-Mitchell  & Jackson 2006).

There are several arguments that have been put forward in order reveal the authenticity of Language of Thought hypothesis. As such, LOT brings into view the fact that the intentional states casually interact with perception, behaviour and other such like states of the mind. At the same time, the aspect of systematicity is explored in that it assumes that in order to have one belief; other beliefs that are related in content are a prerequisite. Accordingly,  if a person can think that “a” is “F” and “b” is “G”, then, the individual should be in a position to think that “a” is “G” and  “b” is “F”. In the same line of thought,  LOT exposes productivity of the mind in that there are indefinitely many beliefs that one can have or rather there can be many thoughts in the mind. Opacity is also exposed by the hypothesis in the sense that, if x=y, one can belief that “x” is F without believing that “y” is “F”.

 LOT in addition, makes a provision for a model of reasoning. This is to bring out the aspect of rule-based operations on mental representations basically on the foundation of their syntactic nature. Having stated the LOT hypothesis, it is important to bring into view philosophy of the mind from a map theory point of view. In this case, the intentional states of the mind are stipulated as map like representations rather than being language like representations (Heil 2004, p.106). From this point, it is important to bring out the argument that maps give some information by giving lots of information. Moreover, maps might not have basic representational units.

Additionally, map theory bears the advantage that just as LOT hypothesis can explain causal interaction, systematicity, productivity and opacity, map theory is well able.  In both cases, the theories have faced objections based on several different reasons. For instance, those that object map theory state that it falls short of being a good model of reasoning. Its beliefs are pointed out as abstract as they are based on logics and mathematics. Again, the beliefs involve logical concepts in that they are seen as conditional beliefs. Furthermore, the beliefs are about things that cannot be observed together with the fact that a map representation cannot bring out the aspect of being conscious of only one particular belief or thought.

From the above definitions and explanations of the Language of Thought hypothesis and the Map theory in effort to explain the content of the mind, there are several reasons that make one to be superlative to another. In this regard, LOT has not so much received the public approval. This is for the reason that the explanations of the Phenomena are not well explained and thus the way the mental language is learned, understood  and meanings drawn is not explained. So to speak, other objections of LOT hypothesis are based on the fact that the theory or rather the hypothesis does not give explanations for the cognitive tasks such as perceptual pattern of recognition and they are not biologically realistic (Christensen & Turner 1993).

 In relation to the observations made in regard to the content of the mind as stipulated by LOT hypothesis and the Map theory, the map theory is better placed in its view of the mental content. This is because the Map theory is able to show the main idea, focus or subject of the mind. Equally, there are the main themes that originate from the central image as branches. In line with this, other sub-branches originate from the main ones and finally it becomes a structure that is well organized (Braddon-Mitchell & Jackson 2006). Its organization brings about the ideas, thoughts, and words and can represent the structure of the mind in a way that the content can be viewed without limitations as it is in the LOT hypothesis which views the content of the mind as computer software that uses language like representation. Just as language has syntaxes, the theory assumes the same for the mind.

 However, the theory falls short in representing the mind content as its explanations are limited to explain how the representations of LOT get the content.  Therefore, it is essential to note that both LOT hypothesis and the map theory relate to the content of the mind yet the latter is superlative to the former as it is more realistic on the grounds of biology in explaining the content of the mind. There are quiet many limitations that surround the LOT hypothesis as the explanations of the phenomena are too shallow and the language like representation of the mind content becomes limited in this sense. Therefore, more research on this area is required order to define a theory that bests describe the content of the mind.   


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