Is representation rife?

Ratio 16 (2):107-123 (2003)
Abstract
This paper applies a teleosemantic perspective to the question of whether there is genuine representation outside the familiar realm of belief‐desire psychology. I first explain how teleosemantics accounts for the representational powers of beliefs and desires themselves. I then ask whether biological states which are simpler than beliefs and desires can also have representational powers. My conclusion is that such biologically simple states can be ascribed representational contents, but only in a system‐relative way: such states must be ascribed varying contents when viewed as components in different biological systems. I conclude by arguing that ‘the genetic code’ does not even embody this kind of system‐relative representation
Keywords Belief  Desire  Metaphysics  Psychology  Representation  Semantics
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References found in this work BETA
Anthony Appiah (1986). Truth Conditions: A Causal Theory. In Jeremy Butterfield (ed.), Language, Mind and Logic. Cambridge University Press 25--45.
Robert C. Cummins (1975). Functional Analysis. Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
D. H. Mellor (1988). I and Now. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 89:79 - 94.

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