Representation and unexploited content
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Graham F. Macdonald & David Papineau (eds.), Teleosemantics. Oxford University Press (2006)
In this paper, we introduce a novel difficulty for teleosemantics, viz., its inability to account for what we call unexploited content—content a representation has, but which the system that harbors it is currently unable to exploit. In section two, we give a characterization of teleosemantics. Since our critique does not depend on any special details that distinguish the variations in the literature, the characterization is broad, brief and abstract. In section three, we explain what we mean by unexploited content, and argue that any theory of content adequate to ground representationalist theories in cognitive science must allow for it.1 In section four, we show that teleosemantic theories of the sort we identify in section two cannot accommodate unexploited content, and are therefore unacceptable if intended as attempts to ground representationalist cognitive science. Finally, in section five, we speculate that the existence and importance of unexploited content has likely been obscured by a failure to distinguish representation from indication, and by a tendency to think of representation as reference.
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Citations of this work BETA
Peter Schulte (2015). Perceptual Representations: A Teleosemantic Answer to the Breadth-of-Application Problem. Biology and Philosophy 30 (1):119-136.
Alistair M. C. Isaac (2013). Objective Similarity and Mental Representation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):683-704.
Carolyn Price (2014). Teleosemantics Re-Examined: Content, Explanation and Norms. Biology and Philosophy 29 (4):587-596.
Christopher J. May, Jeffrey C. Schank, Sanjay Joshi, Jonathan Tran, R. J. Taylor & I.-Esha Scott (2006). Rat Pups and Random Robots Generate Similar Self-Organized and Intentional Behavior. Complexity 12 (1):53-66.
Katerina Abramova & Mario Villalobos (2015). The Apparent Intentionality of Living Beings and the Game of Content. Philosophia 43 (3):651-668.
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