Tucson, Arizona, United States of America
  •  2477
    Language and Learning: The Debate Between Jean Piaget and Noam Chomsky (edited book)
    Harvard University Press. 1980.
    Introduction: How hard is the "hard core" of a scientific program? / Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini -- pt. 1. The debate: 1. Opening the debate: The psychogenesis of knowledge and its epistemological significance / Jean Piaget -- On cognitive structures and their development: a reply to Piaget / Noam Chomsky -- 2. About the fixed nucleus and its innateness: Introductory remarks / Jean Piaget -- Cognitive strategies in problem solving / Guy Cellerier -- Some clarifications on innatism and constructi…Read more
  •  84
    Most biologists and some cognitive scientists have independently reached the conclusion that there is no such thing as learning in the traditional “instructive‘ sense. This is, admittedly, a somewhat extreme thesis, but I defend it herein the light of data and theories jointly extracted from biology, especially from evolutionary theory and immunology, and from modern generative grammar. I also point out that the general demise of learning is uncontroversial in the biological sciences, while a si…Read more
  •  78
    Even deeper problems with neural network models of language
    with Thomas G. Bever, Noam Chomsky, and Sandiway Fong
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46. 2023.
    We recognize today's deep neural network (DNN) models of language behaviors as engineering achievements. However, what we know intuitively and scientifically about language shows that what DNNs are and how they are trained on bare texts, makes them poor models of mind and brain for language organization, as it interacts with infant biology, maturation, experience, unique principles, and natural law.
  •  55
    Broca's aphasia, broca's area, and syntax: A complex relationship
    with Stefano F. Cappa, Andrea Moro, and Daniela Perani
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1): 27-28. 2000.
    Three types of problems are raised in this commentary: On the linguistic side, we emphasize the importance of an appropriate definition of the different domains of linguistics. This is needed to define the domains (lexicon-syntax-semantics) to which transformational relations apply. We then question the concept of Broca's aphasia as a “functional” syndrome, associated with a specific lesion. Finally, we discuss evidence from functional brain imaging. The breadth and potential impact of such evid…Read more
  •  55
    "Fascinating and insightful.... I cannot recall a book that has made me think more about the nature of thinking." -- Richard C. Lewontin Harvard University Everyone knows that optical illusions trick us because of the way we see. Now scientists have discovered that cognitive illusions, a set of biases deeply embedded in the human mind, can actually distort the way we think. In Inevitable Illusions, distinguished cognitive researcher Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini takes us on a provocative, challeng…Read more
  •  30
    Bloom masterfully captures the state-of-the-art in the study of lexical acquisition. He also exposes the extent of our ignorance about the learning of names for non-observables. HCLMW adopts an innatist position without adopting modularity of mind; however, it seems likely that modularity is needed to bridge the gap between object names and the rest of the lexicon.
  •  29
    Language as ergonomic perfection
    with Roeland Hancock and Thomas Bever
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (5): 530-531. 2008.
    Christiansen & Chater (C&C) have taken the interactionist approach to linguistic universals to an extreme, adopting the metaphor of language as an organism. This metaphor adds no insights to five decades of analyzing language universals as the result of interaction of linguistically unique and general cognitive systems. This metaphor is also based on an outmoded view of classical Darwinian evolution and has no clear basis in biology or cognition
  •  24
    Many important language universals are not reducible to processing or cognition
    with David P. Medeiros and Thomas G. Bever
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39. 2016.
    Christiansen & Chater (C&C) ignore the many linguistic universals that cannot be reduced to processing or cognitive constraints, some of which we present. Their claim that grammar is merely acquired language processing skill cannot account for such universals. Their claim that all other universal properties are historically and culturally based is a nonsequitur about language evolution, lacking data.
  •  23
    Arguments in the syntactic straitjacket
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (3): 297-298. 2003.
    While the search for the neural basis of the language of thought is a laudable enterprise, and the article by Hurford a valiant first attempt, we argue that in investigating the argument structure of natural language it will ultimately prove more fruitful to consider the restrictions forced on the system by its inherently syntactic character.
  •  20
    Minds with meanings
    Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 11 (1): 1-18. 2020.
    : Jerry Fodor and Zenon Pylyshyn have proposed a purely referential-causal semantics, a semantics without meanings. Adopting Pylyshyn’s previous treatment of the fact that we can perceive and track something before we have any idea of what that is, these authors claim that such causal relations to external entities allow us to word-label them and thereby build an entire lexicon with specific referents. I disagree and explain why I do so. The kind of semantics that I prefer is radically opposite:…Read more
  •  1
    Livelli di realtà (edited book)
    with A. J. Ayer
    Feltrinelli. 1987.
  • The fractionation of miracles
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences. forthcoming.
  • OCk, athryn, 163 Byrne, Ruth MJ, 61 Cosmides, Leda, 187 Garnham, Alan, 45, 117
    with P. N. Johnson-Laird, Jane Oakhill, Josef Perner, Lance J. Rips, Jennifer A. Sanderson, Michael Siegal, and Yohtaro Takano
    Cognition 31 295. 1989.