Thought, Language and Mental Representation


We examine the proposal that thinking is a combinatorial operation on mental representations, and argue that it cannot be. If the argument is successful it shows that cognitive science cannot explain intelligent linguistic behavior by explaining what thinking is. We point out that this does not impugn the practice of cognitive scientists interested in human language, which, properly understood, consists in the framing and testing of hypotheses about the causally necessary enabling conditions of intelligent linguistic behavior.

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