Generous or Parsimonious Cognitive Architecture? Cognitive Neuroscience and Theory of Mind

P. Gerrans, V. E. Stone
2008 British Journal for the Philosophy of Science  
Recent work in cognitive neuroscience on the child's Theory of Mind (ToM) has pursued the idea that the ability to metarepresent mental states depends on a domain-specific cognitive subystem implemented in specific neural circuitry: a Theory of Mind Module. We argue that the interaction of several domain-general mechanisms and lower-level domain-specific mechanisms accounts for the flexibility and sophistication of behavior, which has been taken to be evidence for a domain-specific ToM module.
more » ... his finding is of more general interest since it suggests a parsimonious cognitive architecture can account for apparent domain specificity. We argue for such an architecture in two stages. First, on conceptual grounds, contrasting the case of language with ToM, and second, by showing that recent evidence in the form of fMRI and lesion studies supports the more parsimonious hypothesis.
doi:10.1093/bjps/axm038 fatcat:wi2qvcr2nrghtp6gkms5lwrrmi