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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. Liliana Albertazzi (2003). From Kanizsa Back to Benussi: Varieties of Intentional Reference. [REVIEW] Axiomathes 13 (3-4):239-259.
    The essay analyses the mereological structure of an act of intentional presentation, on the basis of Benussi' and Kanizsa's works. Several aspects are discussed, among which: The existence of diverse formats of representation, their eventual continuity, the presence of subjective integrations at primary levels, and the identification of phrases in the phenomenic structure of an act of presentation. It is argued that the difference between perceptual and mental presence, as elaborated by Kanizsa, proves to be a valid instrument for the (...)
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  2. Karen Anderson, Jeanne Milostan & Garrison W. Cottrell (1998). Assessing the Contribution of Representation to Results. In M. A. Gernsbacher & S. J. Derry (eds.), Proceedings of the 20th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 48--53.
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  3. R. Assagiol (1972). Notes on Symbols. Humanitas 8 (2):161-167.
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  4. Ė Atai͡an & A. S. Abrahamyan (eds.) (2011). Nshan, Hamakarg, Haghordaktsʻum: Hodvatsneri Zhoghovatsu Nvirvats Ēdvard Atʻayani Hishatakin. Eph Hratarakchʻutʻyun.
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  5. D. C. B. (1961). The Symbolic Life of Man. Review of Metaphysics 14 (4):726-726.
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  6. R. J. B. (1969). Representation. Review of Metaphysics 23 (2):366-367.
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  7. R. J. B. (1969). Representation. Review of Metaphysics 23 (2):366-367.
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  8. 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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  9. Stefania Bandini, Gaetano A. Lanzarone & Alessandra Valpiani (1998). Revisiting the Mental Models Theory in Terms of Computational Models Based on Constructive Induction. Philosophica 62.
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  10. William F. Battig, John M. Williams & John G. Williams (1962). Transfer From Verbal-Discrimination to Paired-Associate Learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology 63 (3):258.
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  11. Teresa Bejarano (2003). Metarepresentation and Human Capacities. Pragmatics and Cognition 11 (1):93-140.
    Both metarepresentation and cultural learning have an identical origin. The imitation of new and complex motor patterns is a crucial skill not only because it enables cultural transmission but also because its high requisites give rise to the exclusively human mind. The premotor plan at the base of such imitation requires the ability to fictionalize bodily postures, which implies a second line of awareness. Only by means of this second line can the human being deal with situations different from his (...)
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  12. 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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  13. Mark H. Bickhard (2007). Mechanism is Not Enough. Pragmatics and Cognition 15 (3):573-585.
    I will argue that mechanism is not sufficient to capture representation, thus cognition. More generally, mechanism is not sufficient to capture normativity of any sort. I will also outline a model of emergent normativity, representational normativity in particular, and show how it transcends these limitations of mechanism. To begin, I will address some illustrative attempts to model representation within mechanistically naturalistic frameworks, first rather generally, and then in the cases of the models of Fodor and Millikan.
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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. K. W. Britton (1976). Symbols. Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures 10:208-222.
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  20. D. E. Broadbent (1989). Lasting Representations and Temporary Processes. In Henry L. I. Roediger & Fergus I. M. Craik (eds.), Varieties of Memory and Consciousness: Essays in Honor of Endel Tulving. Lawrence Erlbaum. 211--227.
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  21. Deborah J. Brown (1996). A Furry Tile About Mental Representation. Philosophical Quarterly 46 (185):448-66.
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  22. D. Browne (1999). Robert Cummins, Representations, Targets, and Attitudes. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (1):115.
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  23. James D. Carney (1993). Representation and Style. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (4):811-828.
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  24. Abel Lassalle Casanave, Bruno Vaz & Sérgio Schultz (2010). Diagramas e Provas. Doispontos 6 (2).
    A concepção padrão de prova é uma concepção lingüística de prova. No entanto, literatura recente reivindica a legitimidade de provas heterogêneas, isto é, que incorporem recursos visuais ou gráficos. Tal reivindicação implica em um melhor exame da distinção entre representação lingüística e representação gráfica ou visual; concomitantemente, ela também comporta uma análise da dualidade entre discursivo e intuitivo em filosofia da lógica e da matemática. Neste breve artigo examinamos dois exemplos canônicos de provas heterogêneas, salientando, no entanto, seu caráter discursivo. (...)
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  25. 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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  26. Sophie Cassagnes-Brouquet (2010). Guyonne Leduc (éd.), Réalités et représentations des Amazones. Clio 2:280-281.
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  27. J. Cassell (1999). Speech-Gesture Mismatches: Evidence for One Underlying Representation of Linguistic and Nonlinguistic Information: Evidence for One Underlying Representation of Linguistic and Nonlinguistic Information. Pragmatics and Cognition 7 (1):1-34.
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  28. Justine Cassell, David McNeill & Karl-Erik McCullough (1999). Speech-Gesture Mismatches: Evidence for One Underlying Representation of Linguistic and Nonlinguistic Information. Pragmatics and Cognition 7 (1):1-34.
    Adults and children spontaneously produce gestures while they speak, and such gestures appear to support and expand on the information communicated by the verbal channel. Little research, however, has been carried out to examine the role played by gesture in the listener's representation of accumulating information. Do listeners attend to the gestures that accompany narrative speech? In what kinds of relationships between gesture and speech do listeners attend to the gestural channel? If listeners do attend to information received in gesture, (...)
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  29. Sanjay Chandrasekharan & Mark Tovey (2012). Sum, Quorum, Tether: Design Principles Underlying External Representations That Promote Sustainability. Pragmatics and Cognition 20 (3):447-482.
    We outline three challenges involved in designing external representations that promote sustainable use of natural resources. First, the task environment of sustainable resource-use is highly unstructured, and involves many uncoordinated and asynchronous actions. Following from this complex nature of the task environment, more task constraints and task interactions are involved in designing representations promoting sustainability, compared to representations that seek to make tasks easier in structured task environments, such as aircraft cockpits and control rooms. Second, external representations promoting sustainable resource-use (...)
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  30. Tony Chemero (2001). Dynamical Explanation and Mental Representations. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 5 (4):141-142.
    Markman and Dietrich1 recently recommended extending our understanding of representation to incorporate insights from some “alternative” theories of cognition: perceptual symbol systems, situated action, embodied cognition, and dynamical systems. In particular, they suggest that allowances be made for new types of representation which had been previously under-emphasized in cognitive science. The amendments they recommend are based upon the assumption that the alternative positions each agree with the classical view that cognition requires representations, internal mediating states that bear information.2 In the (...)
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  31. Ronald L. Chrisley, Non-Compositional Representation in Connectionist Networks.
    have context-sensitive constituents, but rather because they sometimes have no constituents at all. The argument to be rejected depends on the assumption that one can only assign propositional contents to representations if one starts by assigning sub-propositional contents to atomic representations. I give some philosophical arguments and present a counterexample to show that this assumption is mistaken.
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  32. 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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  33. Paul M. Churchland (1998). The Neural Representation of the Social World. In The Digital Phoenix. Cambridge: Blackwell.
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  34. Elder Cl (1998). What Versus How in Naturally Selected Representations. In Daniel N. Robinson (ed.), The Mind. Oxford University Press. 107--426.
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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. Hugh Clapin (2002). Tacit Representation in Functional Architecture. In , Philosophy of Mental Representation. Oxford University Press.
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  38. 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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  39. Andy Clark (2002). The Roots of 'Norm-Hungriness'. In Hugh Clapin (ed.), Philosophy of Mental Representation. Oxford University Press.
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  40. Andy Clark (1994). Representational Trajectories in Connectionist Learning. Minds and Machines 4 (3):317-32.
    The paper considers the problems involved in getting neural networks to learn about highly structured task domains. A central problem concerns the tendency of networks to learn only a set of shallow (non-generalizable) representations for the task, i.e., to miss the deep organizing features of the domain. Various solutions are examined, including task specific network configuration and incremental learning. The latter strategy is the more attractive, since it holds out the promise of a task-independent solution to the problem. Once we (...)
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  41. Robert S. Corrington (1997). The Truth of Broken Symbols. Review of Metaphysics 51 (1):168-168.
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  42. Justine Coupland (2013). The Granny: Public Representations and Creative Performance. Pragmatics and Society 4 (1):82-104.
    The concept of `the granny' is not uncommon in British media texts, in a range of stereotyped representations of older women and in (sometimes playful, sometimes serious) invocations of the grandmother role. `Granny parties' are one genre of recreational social event where young people dress up as grannies. In this paper I bring together data from the media and from an ethnographic study of granny parties in order to assess the age-political and ideological significance of `granny' in these very different (...)
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  43. 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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  44. 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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  45. 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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  46. G. J. Dalenoort (1990). Toward a General Theory of Representation. Psychological Research 52:229-237.
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  47. Gary E. Dann (1999). Symbols of Transcendence. Review of Metaphysics 52 (4):954-955.
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  48. Robert S. Davidon (1952). The Effects of Symbols, Shift, and Manipulation Upon the Number of Concepts Attained. Journal of Experimental Psychology 44 (2):70.
  49. Hanne De Jaegher & D. Phil (2010). Enaction Versus Representation: An Opinion Piece. In Thomas Fuchs, Heribert Sattel & Peter Heningnsen (eds.), The Embodied Self: Dimensions, Coherence, and Disorders. Heningnsen.
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  50. H. De Jongste (1956). On Symbols. Philosophia Reformata 21 (4):162-174.
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