THE MODULARITY MOVEMENT REVISTEDDan of tdaxp
has added an interesting counterpoint to my last post on modularity
where he expands the concept with a look at research into brain physiology and cognitive function in "Evolution Away From Modularity
". An excerpt:"[Evolutionary Psychologists interpret the] Watson selection tasks [as meaning] subjects appear to reason more effectively about social contracts than about non-social contracts... subjects ignore the logical properties of the condition they're evlauation and focus exclusively on whether someone is receiving a benefit without playing the correspond cost... subjects... focus on whether someone has taken a benefit from them without paying a cost to them." (Buller 171)"The theory behind the cheater-detection mechanism module should lead us to expect a mechanism that is specialized in detecting cheaters in the domain of social exchanges. But the experimental results that purportedly support the existence of a cheater-detection module involve detecting cheaters int eh domain of social contracts." (Buller 172) (a problem for EP or a distinction without a difference?)"
Interestingly enough, I've found out from Dan's post that there is a "Massive Modularity Thesis
" about the brain but I'm not sufficiently well informed here to evaluate the pro and con positions ( a good question for the Drs. Eide
!). My intuitive guess is that modularity is a meta-principle and wherever you have complex systems you will also have some evidence of modularity and that the human brain will be no exception. That is however, only a guess.
I'd love to have any experts with a medical, psychological or scientific background, who might be reading this, to weigh in on this question.