David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 161 (1):119 - 139 (2008)
Nearly all of the ways philosophers currently attempt to define the terms ‘representation’ and ‘function’ undermine the scientific application of those terms by rendering the scientific explanations in which they occur vacuous. Since this is unacceptable, we must develop analyses of these terms that avoid this vacuity. Robert Cummins argues in this fashion in Representations, Targets, and Attitudes. He accuses ‘use theories’ of representational content of generating vacuous explanations, claims that nearly all current theories of representational content are use theories, and offers a non-use theory of representational content which avoids explanatory vacuity. One task I undertake in this article is to develop an alternative non-use theory which avoids an objection fatal to that theory
|Keywords||Scientific explanation Explanation Function Functional explanation Functional analysis Mental representation Psychological explanation Cognitive explanation|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Jerry A. Fodor (1987). Psychosemantics: The Problem of Meaning in the Philosophy of Mind. MIT Press.
Robert C. Cummins (1975). Functional Analysis. Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Andre Ariew, Robert C. Cummins & Mark Perlman (eds.) (2002). Functions: New Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology and Biology. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Pete Mandik & Rick Grush (2002). Representational Parts. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1 (389):394.
Robert C. Cummins (1992). Conceptual Role Semantics and the Explanatory Role of Content. Philosophical Studies 65 (1-2):103-127.
Jennifer Hudin (2006). Motor Intentionality and its Primordiality. Inquiry 49 (6):573 – 590.
Adam Toon (2010). Models as Make-Believe. In Roman Frigg & Matthew Hunter (eds.), Beyond Mimesis and Convention: Representation in Art and Science. Boston Studies in Philosophy of Science
Ryan Nichold (2003). Scientific Content, Testability, and the Vacuity of Intelligent Design Theory. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 77 (4):591-611.
Richard J. Hall (1990). Does Representational Content Arise From Biological Function? PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:193 - 199.
Juha Saatsi (2011). The Enhanced Indispensability Argument: Representational Versus Explanatory Role of Mathematics in Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):143-154.
Chris Eliasmith (2000). How Neurons Mean: A Neurocomputational Theory of Representational Content. Dissertation, Washington University in St. Louis
Mark H. Bickhard (1993). Representational Content in Humans and Machines. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 5:285-33.
Andre Kukla (1996). Antirealist Explanations of the Success of Science. Philosophy of Science 63 (3):305.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads50 ( #80,619 of 1,789,825 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #139,341 of 1,789,825 )
How can I increase my downloads?