Selective representing and world-making

Minds and Machines 12 (3):383-395 (2002)
Abstract
In this paper, we discuss the thesis of selective representing — the idea that the contents of the mental representations had by organisms are highly constrained by the biological niches within which the organisms evolved. While such a thesis has been defended by several authors elsewhere, our primary concern here is to take up the issue of the compatibility of selective representing and realism. In this paper we hope to show three things. First, that the notion of selective representing is fully consistent with the realist idea of a mind-independent world. Second, that not only are these two consistent, but that the latter (the realist conception of a mind-independent world) provides the most powerful perspective from which to motivate and understand the differing perceptual and cog- nitive profiles themselves. And third, that the (genuine and important) sense in which organism and environment may together constitute an integrated system of scientific interest poses no additional threat to the realist conception.
Keywords Metaphysics  Niche  Realism  Representation  World
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