Acategorial states in a representational theory of mental processes

Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (5-6):5 - 6 (2010)
We propose a distinction between precategorial, acategorial and categorial states within a scientifically oriented understanding of mental processes. This distinction can be specified by approaches developed in cognitive neuroscience and the analytical philosophy of mind. On the basis of a representational theory of mental processes, acategoriality refers to a form of knowledge that presumes fully developed categorial mental representations, yet refers to nonconceptual experiences in mental states beyond categorial states. It relies on a simultaneous experience of potential individual representations and their actual “representational ground”, an undifferentiated precategorial state. This simultaneity is possible if the mental state does not reside in a representation but in between representations. Acategoriality can be formally modeled as an unstable state of a dynamical mental system that is subject to particular stability criteria.
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