David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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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
W. V. Quine (1960). Word and Object. The MIT Press.
Robert Nozick (1981). Philosophical Explanations. Harvard University Press.
Jerry A. Fodor (1975). The Language of Thought. Harvard University Press.
Donald Davidson (1984). Inquiries Into Truth And Interpretation. Oxford University Press.
W. V. Quine (1969). Ontological Relativity and Other Essays. Columbia University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Tarja Knuuttila (2011). Modelling and Representing: An Artefactual Approach to Model-Based Representation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2):262-271.
Mauricio Suárez (2010). Scientific Representation. Philosophy Compass 5 (1):91-101.
Alex Morgan (2014). Representations Gone Mental. Synthese 191 (2):213-244.
William Bechtel (forthcoming). Investigating Neural Representations: The Tale of Place Cells. Synthese:1-35.
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