Foundations Of Cognitive Science

Fodor's First Law

 “I should like to propose a generalization; one which I fondly hope will some day come to be known as ‘Fodor’s First Law of the Nonexistence of Cognitive Science’.  It goes like this: the more global (e.g. the more isotropic) a cognitive process is, the less anybody understands it” (Fodor, 1983, p. 107).  Fodor’s first law is the claim that higher-level cognitive processing will never be explained by cognitive science, because it cannot by definition be understood at the implementational level.  Evolutionary psychologists disagree with this claim, and have countered with the massive modularity hypothesis which is a claim that even high-level cognitive processing is modular (Carruthers, 2006).


  1. Fodor, J. A. (1983). The Modularity Of Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  2. Carruthers, P. (2006). The Architecture Of The Mind: Massive Modularity And The Flexibility Of Thought. Oxford

(Added October 2010)