Structural representation and surrogative reasoning

Synthese 87 (3):449 - 508 (1991)
It is argued that a number of important, and seemingly disparate, types of representation are species of a single relation, here called structural representation, that can be described in detail and studied in a way that is of considerable philosophical interest. A structural representation depends on the existence of a common structure between a representation and that which it represents, and it is important because it allows us to reason directly about the representation in order to draw conclusions about the phenomenon that it depicts. The present goal is to give a general and precise account of structural representation, then to use that account to illuminate several problems of current philosophical interest — including some that do not initially seem to involve representation at all. In particular, it is argued that ontological reductions (like that of the natural numbers to sets), compositional accounts of semantics, several important sorts of mental representation, and (perhaps) possible worlds semantics for intensional logics are all species of structural representation and are fruitfully studied in the framework developed here.
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    References found in this work BETA
    D. M. Armstrong (1973). Belief, Truth and Knowledge. London,Cambridge University Press.
    Paul Benacerraf (1965). What Numbers Could Not Be. Philosophical Review 74 (1):47-73.
    Tyler Burge (1973). Reference and Proper Names. Journal of Philosophy 70 (14):425-439.

    View all 32 references

    Citations of this work BETA
    Thomas Mormann (2009). New Work for Carnap's Quasi-Analysis. Journal of Philosophical Logic 38 (3):249-282.
    Chris John Daly (2008). Fictionalism and the Attitudes. Philosophical Studies 139 (3):423 - 440.

    View all 14 citations

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