A Border Dispute: The Place of Logic in Psychology

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A Bradford Book, 1986 - Psychology - 212 pages
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A Border Dispute integrates the latest work in logic and semantics into a theory of language learning and presents six worked examples of how that theory revolutionizes cognitive psychology.

Macnamara's thesis is set against the background of a fresh analysis of the psychologism debate of the 19th-century, which led to the current standoff between logic and psychology. The book presents psychologism through the writings of John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant, and its rejection by Gottlob Frege and Edmund Husserl. It then works out the general thesis that logic ideally presents a competence theory for part of human reasoning and explains how logical intuition is grounded in properties of the mind.

The next six chapters present examples that illustrate the relevance of logic to psychology. These problems are all in the semantics of child language (the learning of proper names, personal pronouns, sortals or common nouns, quantifiers, and the truth-functional connectives) and reflect Macnamara's rich background in developmental psychology, particularly child language - a field, he points out, that embraces all of cognition. Technical problems raised by but not included in the examples in the main part of the text are dealt with in a separate chapter. The book concludes by describing laws in cognitive psychology, or the type of science made possible by Macnamara's new theory.

John Macnamara is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science, McGill University. A Bradford Book.

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