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  The idea that the mind is composed of various distinct modules, each with its own structures and capacities, has been advanced most vigorously by the American linguists, Noam Chomsky and Jerry Fodor. The constitution of the mind is envisaged to parallel the heterogeneity of the human body, in which a number of interacting subsystems (for instance, the heart, liver and lungs) are clearly distinct from one another. In a similar way, the uniquely human attribute of language is believed to stem from an independent faculty of mind whose constitution and functioning are quite different from other modules of mind. Hence knowledge of language is consigned to a module quite separate from those responsible for perceptual processing, numeracy, or general problem-solving. The uniqueness of language knowledge provides the clearest argument in favour of the modularity hypothesis, although the content and organization of individual modules is still very much a controversial issue. MS

See also innateness.



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