Representation and “reliable presence”

Summary. The “New Computationalism” that is the subject of this special issue requires an appropriate notion of representation. The purpose of this essay is to recommend such a notion. In cognitive science generally, there have been two primary candidates for spelling out what it is to be a representation: teleological accounts and accounts based on “decoupling.” I argue that the latter sort of account has two serious problems. First, it is multiply ambiguous; second, it is revisionist and alienating to many of the potential allies of the “New Computationalism”. I also suggest that teleological accounts do not suffer from these problems, making them more appropriate as the foundation of any new computationalism.
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