Two conceptions of the mind

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Aguda, Benjamin J.
Embodied cognition; Grounded cognition; Modularity; Neo empiricism; Simulation; Philosophy
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Since the cognitive revolution during the last century the mind has been conceived of as being computer-like. Like a computer, the brain was assumed to be a physical structure (hardware) upon which a computational mind (software) was built. The mind was seen as a collection of independent programs which each have their own specific tasks, or modules. These modules took sensory input "data" and transduced it into language-like representations which were used in mental computations. Recently, a new conception of the mind has developed, grounded cognition. According to this model, sensory stimulus is saved in the original format in which it was received and recalled using association mechanisms. Rather than representations being language-like they are instead multimodal. The manipulation of these multimodal representations requires processing distributed throughout the brain. A new holistic model for mental architecture has developed in which the concerted activity of the brain's modal systems produces functional systems which are intimately codependent with one another. The purpose of this thesis is to explore both the modular and multimodal theories of mental architecture. Each will be described in detail along with their supporting paradigms, cognitivism and grounded cognition. After my expositions I will offer support for my own position regarding these two theories before suggesting avenues for future research.