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NTU Philosophical Review

Issue 48, October 2014

Tzu-Wei Hung
Pages 159-189

Why the Enzyme Model of Modularity Fails to Explain Higher Cognitive Processes

The enzyme model (EM), inspired by biological enzyme catalysis, is a computational-functional description of information processing and distribution in modular cognitive systems. It has been argued that EM offers advantages in solving both the allocation problem and global computation and thus may play a role in upholding the massive modularity hypothesis (MMH). This paper, however, argues that EM solutions are untenable, as EM avoids the infinite regress of allocation problem only at a high cost and with several critical drawbacks. Moreover, to clarify global processes, EM needs to satisfy two necessary conditions: first to demonstrate that the EM allows cross module communication, and second to be sensitive to not only the syntax but also the semantics of representations. I argue that EM only satisfies the first condition and thus fails to hold.