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Summary In representation, one thing stands in for, designates, or is about something else. The relation between the mind and the world has long been characterised as representational: Aristotle, the Scholastics, Descartes, and Locke held some form of representational theory of mind, and Brentano’s concept of intentionality is often understood in representational terms. Contemporary naturalistic philosophy of mind has focused on explaining how the semantic property of representing something can play a causal role in producing behaviour. This project was aided by the development of computational theory in the twentieth century, which showed how physically-implemented states could participate in causal processes preserving the semantic interpretation of those states. These ‘vehicles’ of representation are the theoretical posits of cognitive science. Key debates concern what sorts of things can be representations (e.g. symbols, activation patterns), the format in which representations bear their contents (e.g. linguistically, pictorially), and the legitimacy of representation-talk beyond the realm of traditional mental states.
Key works The first attempt at a theory of representation is probably Peirce’s theory of signs (Peirce 1940). Contemporary approaches to representation such as Fodor 1975, Millikan 1984, and Dretske 1988 tend to incorporate both an account of representation and a theory of how representations acquire their contents. Not all theories of representation aim to underwrite the propositional attitudes of folk-psychology: Cummins 1989 focuses on representation as an explanatory posit in computational cognitive science; similar approaches are the subject of a dialogue between Daniel Dennett, Andy Clark and others in Clapin 2002. Haugeland 1998 looks at the distinctions between several ‘representational genera’ such as iconic versus linguistic, discrete versus distributed. Egan 1995 explores the relation between representation, computation, and cognition, and Ramsey 2007 questions the role of representation in current theories of cognition.
Introductions Crane 2003 is an accessible introduction to mental representation. Stich & Warfield 1994 is a collection of articles on the topic including the introductory essay Stich 1992. Pitt 2008 is an encyclopedia entry on mental representation, and Ryder 2009 is an overview of representation in the philosophy of psychology.
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Subcategories:See also:History/traditions: Representation
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  1. Lynne Rudder Baker, Representation".
    My main reaction to "Intelligence without representation" is to applaud. Dreyfus's use of Merleau-Ponty is a refreshing new breeze in philosophy of psychology. About twenty or so years ago, philosophers struck an unfortunate course..
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  2. Sven Bernecker (2008). Representationalism, First-Person Authority, and Second-Order Knowledge. In Anthony E. Hatzimoysis (ed.), Self-Knowledge. Oxford University Press.
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  3. Mark H. Bickhard (2002). Mind as Process. In F.G. Riffert & Marcel Weber (eds.), Searching for New Contrasts. Vienna: Peter Lang. 285-294.
    assumptions about the phenomena of interest with process models. Thus, phlogiston has been replaced by combustion, caloric by random thermal motion, and vital fluid by far- from-equilibrium self-reproducing organizations of process. The most significant exceptions to this historical pattern are found in studies of the mind. Here, substance assumptions are still ubiquitous, ranging from models of representation to those of emotions to personality and psychopathology. Substance assumptions do pernicious damage to our ability to understand such phenomena. In this discussion, I (...)
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  4. Mark H. Bickhard (2000). Information and Representation in Autonomous Agents. Cognitive Systems Research 1 (2):65-75.
    Information and representation are thought to be intimately related. Representation, in fact, is commonly considered to be a special kind of information. It must be a _special_ kind, because otherwise all of the myriad instances of informational relationships in the universe would be representational -- some restrictions must be placed on informational relationships in order to refine the vast set into those that are truly representational. I will argue that information in this general sense is important to genuine agents, but (...)
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  5. Mark H. Bickhard (1998). Levels of Representationality. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 10 (2):179-215.
    The dominant assumptions -- throughout contemporary philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence -- about the ontology underlying intentionality, and its core of representationality, is that of encodings -- some sort of informational or correspondence or covariation relationship between the represented and its representation that constitutes that representational relationship. There are many disagreements concerning details and implementations, and even some suggestions about claimed alternative ontologies, such as connectionism (though none that escape what I argue is the fundamental flaw in these (...)
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  6. Boris & Hella Schapiro (2009). Meta-Representations and Paradigms. In Wolfgang Wildgen & Barend van Heusden (eds.), Metarepresentation, Self-Organization and Art. Peter Lang.
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  7. Ingar Brinck & G. (1999). Representation and Self-Awareness in Intentional Agents. Synthese 118 (1):89-104.
    Several conditions for being an intrinsically intentional agent are put forward. On a first level of intentionality the agent has representations. Two kinds are described: cued and detached. An agent with both kinds is able to represent both what is prompted by the context and what is absent from it. An intermediate level of intentionality is achieved by having an inner world, that is, a coherent system of detached representations that model the world. The inner world is used, e.g., for (...)
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  8. Roberto Casati (2003). Representational Advantages. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3):281–298.
    Descriptive metaphysics investigates our naïve ontology as this is articulated in the content of our perception or of our pre-reflective thought about the world. But is access to such content reliable? Sceptics about the standard modes of access (introspection, or language-driven intuitions) may think that investigations in descriptive metaphysics can be aided by the controlled findings of cognitive science. Cognitive scientists have studied a promising range of representational advantages, that is, ways in which cognition favours one type of entity over (...)
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  9. Wayne D. Christensen (2004). Representation and the Meaning of Life. In Hugh Clapin (ed.), Representation in Mind. Elsevier.
    Also published in Representation in mind : new approaches to mental representation / Hugh Clapin, Phillil Staines, Peter Slezak (eds.) : ISBN 008044394X.
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  10. Hugh Clapin (ed.) (2004). Representation in Mind: New Approaches to Mental Representation. Elsevier.
    'Representation in Mind' is the first book in the new series 'Perspectives on Cognitive Science' and includes well known contributors in the...
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  11. Hugh Clapin (ed.) (2002). Philosophy of Mental Representation. Oxford University Press.
    In Philosophy of Mental Representation five of the most original and important thinkers in philosophy of mind engage in an overlapping dialogue about mental representation. In new papers, contributors Andy Clark, Robert Cummins, Daniel Dennett, John Haugeland, and Brian Cantwell Smith each investigate the views and claims of one of the other contributors regarding mental representation. The subject then offers a reply. An exciting feature of this collection is the dynamic discussion among all contributors following each exchange. This collection offers (...)
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  12. Hugh Clapin (2002). Tacit Representation in Functional Architecture. In , Philosophy of Mental Representation. Oxford University Press.
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  13. Andy Clark (2002). Minds, Brains and Tools. In Hugh Clapin (ed.), Philosophy of Mental Representation. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    The selected texts for this discussion were two recent pieces by Dennett (.
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  14. Andy Clark (2002). The Roots of 'Norm-Hungriness'. In Hugh Clapin (ed.), Philosophy of Mental Representation. Oxford University Press.
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  15. Peiling Cui (2009). Meta-Representation in Linguistic Jokes. In Wolfgang Wildgen & Barend van Heusden (eds.), Metarepresentation, Self-Organization and Art. Peter Lang. 9--71.
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  16. Robert C. Cummins (1991). Form, Interpretation, and the Uniqueness of Content: A Response to Morris. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 1 (1):31-42.
    In response to Michael Morris, I attempt to refute the crucial second premise of the argument, which states that the formality condition cannot be satisfied “non-stipulatively” in computational systems. I defend the view of representation urged in Meaning and Mental Representation against the charge that it makes content stipulative and therefore irrelevant to the explanation of cognition. Some other reservations are expressed.
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  17. Robert C. Cummins & Pierre Poirier (2004). Representation and Indication. In Hugh Clapin (ed.), Representation in Mind. Elsevier. 21--40.
    This paper is about two kinds of mental content and how they are related. We are going to call them representation and indication. We will begin with a rough characterization of each. The differences, and why they matter, will, hopefully, become clearer as the paper proceeds.
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  18. G. J. Dalenoort (1990). Toward a General Theory of Representation. Psychological Research 52:229-237.
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  19. Daniel C. Dennett (2001). Things About Things. In João Branquinho (ed.), The Foundations of Cognitive Science. Oup. 133.
    Perhaps we can all agree that in order for intelligent activity to be produced by embodied nervous systems, those nervous systems have to have things in them that are about other things in the following minimal sense: there is information about these other things not just present but usable by the nervous system in its modulation of behavior. (There is information about the climatic history of a tree in its growth rings--the information is present, but not usable by the tree.) (...)
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  20. Daniel C. Dennett (2001). The Foundations of Cognitive Science. Oup.
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  21. John Dilworth (2006). Representation as Epistemic Identification. Philo 9 (1):12-31.
    In a previous Philo article, it was shown how properties could be ontologically dispensed with via a representational analysis: to be an X is to comprehensively represent all the properties of an X. The current paper extends that representationalist (RT) theory by explaining representation itself in parallel epistemic rather than ontological terms. On this extended RT (ERT) theory, representations of X, as well as the real X, both may be identified as providing information about X, whether partial or comprehensive. But (...)
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  22. Umberto Eco (ed.) (1988). Meaning And Mental Representations. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    ..". an excellent collection... " -- Journal of Language Social Psychology An important collection of original essays by well-known scholars debating the questions of logical versus psychologically-based interpretations of language.
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  23. Kathleen Emmett (1988). Meaning and Mental Representation. In Perspectives On Mind. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
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  24. Kathleen Emmett (1988). Perspectives On Mind. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
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  25. Jerry A. Fodor (1986). Why Paramecia Don't Have Mental Representations. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 10 (1):3-23.
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  26. Keith Frankish (2010). Dual-Process and Dual-System Theories of Reasoning. Philosophy Compass 5 (10):914-926.
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  27. B. Freed, Ausonio Marras & Patrick Maynard (eds.) (1975). Forms of Representation: Proceedings of the 1972 Philosophy Colloquium of the University of Western Ontario. American Elsevier Pub. Co..
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  28. Robert M. French (2002). Natura Non Facit Saltum: The Need for the Full Continuum of Mental Representations. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (3):339-340.
    Natura non facit saltum (Nature does not make leaps) was the lovely aphorism on which Darwin based his work on evolution. It applies as much to the formation of mental representations as to the formation of species, and therein lies our major disagreement with the SOC model proposed by Perruchet & Vinter.
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  29. Shaun Gallagher (2000). Representation and Deliberate Action. Houston Studies in Cognitive Science 1.
    Dreyfus enlists the aid of Merleau-Ponty in his critique of representationalist theories of cognition. Such theories posit a representational element at some level of cognitive activity. The nature of the representation and how we think of it will depend upon the level at which one claims to find it. If we consider the case of perception, at one extreme it might be claimed that the representation is a conscious one, that is, that the perceiving subject is conscious of a representation, (...)
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  30. D. D. Gamble (1992). Meaning and Mental Representation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 70 (3):343-357.
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  31. Peter Gardenfors (1996). Mental Representation, Conceptual Spaces and Metaphors. Synthese 106 (1):21-47.
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  32. Nicholas Georgalis (1986). Intentionality and Representation. International Studies in Philosophy 18 (3):45-58.
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  33. Peter Godfrey-Smith, Model-Based Science and the Representational Theory of Mind.
    Over the past 30 years, one topic much discussed in the philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology has been the status of "the representational theory of mind," or "RTM." As usually conceived, the representational theory holds that the mind operates (in part) by creating, storing, and using internal representations of objects and events in the world.
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  34. A. Goldman (1986). Constraints on Representation. In Myles Brand & Robert M. Harnish (eds.), The Representation of Knowledge and Belief. University of Arizona Press. 287--313.
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  35. Mário de Gouveia (2012). Hidácio de Chaves E a Galécia Do Século VHidácio de Chaves and 5th Century Galécia: Mental Representations of a Cleric at the “Outer Reaches of the World”. Cultura 29:201-216.
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  36. Robert Gulicvank (1982). Mental Representation-a Functionalist View. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 63 (January):3-20.
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  37. Ulf Harebdarski (2009). A Pragmaticistic View on Metarepresentative Semiosis. In Wolfgang Wildgen & Barend van Heusden (eds.), Metarepresentation, Self-Organization and Art. Peter Lang. 9--213.
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  38. John Haugeland (2002). Andy Clark on Cognition and Representation. In Philosophy of Mental Representation. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
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  39. John Haugeland (2002). Philosophy of Mental Representation. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
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  40. John Heil (1980). Cognition and Representation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 58 (June):158-168.
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  41. Jakob Hoepelman (ed.) (1988). Representation and Reasoning: Proceedings of the Stuttgart Conference Workshop on Discourse Representation, Dialogue Tableaux, and Logic Programming. M. Niemeyer Verlag.
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  42. Melinda Hogan (1994). What is Wrong with an Atomistic Account of Mental Representation. Synthese 100 (2):307-27.
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  43. Steven Horst (1992). Proceedings of the Conference on Cognition and Representation.
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  44. Alfonso M. Iacono (2010). L'illusione E Il Sostituto: Riprodurre, Imitare, Rappresentare. B. Mondadori.
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  45. Ray S. Jackendoff (1991). The Problem of Reality. Noûs 25 (September):411-33.
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  46. Anne Jaap Jacobson, The Uninviting Room: Representations Without Contents.
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  47. Sandra Jovchelovitch (2006). Knowledge in Context: Representations, Community, and Culture. Routledge.
    This authored book provides an innovative and systematic account of key debates within the social psychology of knowledge, using the theory of social representations as a guide. This account is then elaborated and integrated into a conceptually coherent theoretical framework to further the social psychological dimensions of the relationship between representations, knowledge and context. Jovchelovitch highlights the social psychological components of the process of knowledge formation and their impact in the constitution of communities, culture and public spheres. Whilst this exploration (...)
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  48. András Kertész & Csilla Rákosi (2009). On the Metascientific Representation of Inconsistency in Linguistic Theories. In Wolfgang Wildgen & Barend van Heusden (eds.), Metarepresentation, Self-Organization and Art. Peter Lang.
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  49. Tarja Knuuttila & Aki Petteri Lehtinen (eds.) (2010). Representaatio: Tiedon Kivijalasta Tieteiden Työkaluksi. Gaudeamus Helsinki University Press.
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  50. Ole Kühl (2009). Musical Semantics : Avery Brief Introduction. In Wolfgang Wildgen & Barend van Heusden (eds.), Metarepresentation, Self-Organization and Art. Peter Lang.
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