Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Languages of thought need to be distinguished from learning mechanisms, and nothing yet rules out multiple distinctively human learning systems

Michael Tetzlaffa1 and Peter Carruthersa1

a1 Department of Philosophy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. mjt@umd.edu pcarruth@umd.edu http://www.philosophy.umd.edu/Faculty/pcarruthers/

Abstract

We distinguish the question whether only human minds are equipped with a language of thought (LoT) from the question whether human minds employ a single uniquely human learning mechanism. Thus separated, our answer to both questions is negative. Even very simple minds employ a LoT. And the comparative data reviewed by Penn et al. actually suggest that there are many distinctively human learning mechanisms.

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    Darwin's mistake: Explaining the discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds Derek C. Penn, Keith J. Holyoak and Daniel J. Povinelli Department of Psychology, University of California–Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095; Cognitive Evolution Group, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA 70504 dcpenn@ucla.edu http://reasoninglab.psych.ucla.edu/ http://www.cognitiveevolutiongroup.org/; Department of Psychology, University of California–Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095 holyoak@lifesci.ucla.edu http://reasoninglab.psych.ucla.edu/; Cognitive Evolution Group, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA 70504 ceg@louisiana.edu http://www.cognitiveevolutiongroup.org/
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