David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Minds and Machines 19 (3):301-318 (2009)
According to Ramsey (Representation reconsidered, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2007), only classical cognitive science, with the related notions of input–output and structural representations, meets the job description challenge (the challenge to show that a certain structure or process serves a representational role at the subpersonal level). By contrast, connectionism and other nonclassical models, insofar as they exploit receptor and tacit notions of representation, are not genuinely representational. As a result, Ramsey submits, cognitive science is taking a U-turn from representationalism back to behaviourism, thus presupposing that (1) the emergence of cognitivism capitalized on the concept of representation, and that (2) the materialization of nonclassical cognitive science involves a return to some form of pre-cognitivist behaviourism. We argue against both (1) and (2), by questioning Ramsey’s divide between classical and representational, versus nonclassical and nonrepresentational, cognitive models. For, firstly, connectionist and other nonclassical accounts have the resources to exploit the notion of a structural isomorphism, like classical accounts (the beefing-up strategy); and, secondly, insofar as input–output and structural representations refer to a cognitive agent, classical explanations fail to meet the job description challenge (the deflationary strategy). Both strategies work independently of each other: if the deflationary strategy succeeds, contra (1), cognitivism has failed to capitalize on the relevant concept of representation; if the beefing-up strategy is sound, contra (2), the return to a pre-cognitivist era cancels out.
|Keywords||Cognitive explanation Representation Cognitivism Connectionism Isomorphism|
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References found in this work BETA
Paul M. Churchland (1989). A Neurocomputational Perspective: The Nature of Mind and the Structure of Science. MIT Press.
Rick Grush (2004). The Emulation Theory of Representation: Motor Control, Imagery, and Perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (3):377-396.
William Ramsey (2007). Representation Reconsidered. Cambridge University Press.
Dan Ryder (2004). SINBaD Neurosemantics: A Theory of Mental Representation. Mind and Language 19 (2):211-240.
Nicholas Shea (2007). Content and Its Vehicles in Connectionist Systems. Mind and Language 22 (3):246–269.
Citations of this work BETA
William Bechtel (forthcoming). Investigating Neural Representations: The Tale of Place Cells. Synthese:1-35.
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