Doing without representing

Synthese 101 (3):401-31 (1994)
Abstract
Connectionism and classicism, it generally appears, have at least this much in common: both place some notion of internal representation at the heart of a scientific study of mind. In recent years, however, a much more radical view has gained increasing popularity. This view calls into question the commitment to internal representation itself. More strikingly still, this new wave of anti-representationalism is rooted not in armchair theorizing but in practical attempts to model and understand intelligent, adaptive behavior. In this paper we first present, and then critically assess, a variety of recent anti-representationalist treatments. We suggest that so far, at least, the sceptical rhetoric outpaces both evidence and argument. Some probable causes of this premature scepticism are isolated. Nonetheless, the anti-representationalist challenge is shown to be both important and progressive insofar as it forces us to see beyond the bare representational/non-representational dichotomy and to recognize instead a rich continuum of degrees and types of representationality.
Keywords Cognitive  Computation  Connectionism  Epistemology  Mind  Representation  Science
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DOI 10.1007/BF01063896
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References found in this work BETA
Paul Smolensky (1988). On the Proper Treatment of Connectionism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (1):1-23.

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Citations of this work BETA
Andy Clark (1999). An Embodied Cognitive Science? Trends in Cognitive Sciences 3 (9):345-351.
Randolph Clarke (2010). Skilled Activity and the Causal Theory of Action. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (3):523-550.

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