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The relation between thought and language starting from Jerry Fodor

Grant number: 14/15037-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2014
Effective date (End): June 01, 2018
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy
Acordo de Cooperação: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:João Vergílio Gallerani Cuter
Grantee:Raquel Albieri Krempel
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:12/50005-6 - The Middle Wittgenstein, AP.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):17/02074-2 - Thought, language and concepts, BE.EP.DR


The main goal of this project is to present and discuss the controversial language of thought hypothesis, first formulated by Jerry Fodor in The Language of Thought. According to it, thought has a linguistic structure, but cannot be identified with any particular natural language. Rather, the language of thought is innate, and it is what makes learning a first language possible. The hypothesis has gained supporters such as Zenon Pylyshyn, who tries to base it on the cognitive sciences, and Steven Pinker, who accepts it in general terms, but differs from Fodor in saying that thought may also take the form of mental images. Despite being popular amongst philosophers and cognitive scientists, there are a number of strong criticisms that can be directed against the language of thought hypothesis. One derives from linguistic relativism. According to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, the language one speaks determines, or at least influences, his thoughts and perceptions of the world. Therefore, this idea calls into question the antecedence and independence of thought from language, which is presupposed by the language of thought. I intend to present and discuss both the differences within the group of proponents of the language of thought hypothesis, as well as the tensions between the language of thought hypothesis and a part of the philosophical tradition. I also intend to show what kind of counterarguments could be formulated against the objections to the language of thought hypothesis. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
KREMPEL, RAQUEL. Can Compositionality Solve the Thought-or-Language Problem?. PHILOSOPHICAL PAPERS, v. 48, n. 2, p. 265-291, . (14/15037-0)
Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
KREMPEL, Raquel Albieri. An essay on the language of thought. 2018. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD) São Paulo.

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