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Jerry Fodor

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Jerry Alan Fodor
Full nameJerry Alan Fodor
BornApril 22, 1935
New York City, New York
DiedNovember 29, 2017(2017-11-29) (aged 82)
New York City, New York
Era20th / 21st-century philosophy
RegionWestern Philosophy
Main interestsPhilosophy of mind
Philosophy of language
Cognitive science
Rationalism · Cognitivism
Notable ideasModularity of mind
Language of thought

Jerry Fodor (April 22, 1935 – November 29, 2017) was a philosopher. He mostly worked on the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, both of which are concerned with how the mind worked.

His studies have concerned themselves with the idea of whether thought is expressed in language or whether it is absurd to think so. Fodor also attempted to tie in the design of the brain to the thoughts held within. This is described by many as a return to the 19th century practice of phrenology, although Fodor offers more science to back his version up than phrenologists. It is these views which led other philosophers, such as Jared Cole and Daniel Dennett to describe Fodor's claims as absurd and out of date.

Fodor lived in Newark, New Jersey with his wife, Janet. He had two children and several cats. Outside philosophy he enjoyed opera and writes for the London Review of Books.

Fodor died in New York City of complications from Parkinson's disease on November 29, 2017 at the age of 82.[1]



  • Fodor, Jerry A. 1975. The language of thought.
  • Fodor, Jerry A. 1981. Representations: philosophical essays on the foundations of cognitive science. The MIT Press.

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    ISBN 0-262-06079-5
  • Fodor, Jerry A. 1983. The modularity of mind. The MIT Press.

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    ISBN 0-262-56025-9
  • Fodor, Jerry A. 2000. The mind doesn't work that way: the scope and limits of computational psychology. MIT Press.

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    ISBN 0-262-56146-8