Why Children Don't have to Solve the Frame Problems

We all believe an unbounded number of things about the way the world is and about the way the world works. For example, I believe that if I move this book into the other room, it will not change color -- unless there is a paint shower on the way, unless I carry an umbrella through that shower, and so on; I believe that large red trucks at high speeds can hurt me, that trucks with polka dots can hurt me, and so on; that if I move this book, the room will stay in place -- unless there is a pressure switch under the book attached to a bomb, unless the switch communicates to the bomb by radio and there is shielding in the way, and so on; that the moon is not made of green cheese, that the moon is not made of caviar, that the moon is not made of gold, and so on. The problems involved in accounting for such infinite proliferations of beliefs -- and the computations and inferences that take them into account -- are collectively called the Frame Problems, and are considered by some to constitute a major discovery of a new philosophical problem. How could we possibly learn them all? How could the brain possibly hold them all? The problems appear insoluble, impossible. Yet we all learn and hold such unbounded numbers of beliefs; in particular, children do. Something must be wrong. I wish to argue that the frame problem arises from a fundamental presupposition about the nature of representation -- a false presupposition. Yet, it is a presupposition that dominates contemporary developmental psychology (and psychology more broadly, and cognitive science, artificial intelligence, philosophy of mind, and so on). In particular, I will offer an alternative model of the nature of representation within which the frame problem does not arise -- within which such unboundedness is natural.
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