Haugeland doesn’t have what I would call a theory of mental representation. Indeed, it isn’t clear that he believes there is such a thing. But he does have a theory of intentionality and a correlative theory of objectivity, and it is this material that I will be discussing in what follows. It will facilitate the discussion that follows to have at hand some distinctions and accompanying terminology I introduced in Representations, Targets and Attitudes (Cummins, 1996; RTA hereafter). Couching the (...) discussion in these terms will, I hope, help to identify points of agreement and disagreement between Haugaland and myself. In RTA, I distinguished between the target a representation has on a given occasion of its application, and its content. RTA takes representation deployment to be the business of intenders: mechanisms whose business it is to represent some particular class of targets. Thus, on standard stories about speech perception, there is a mechanism (called a parser) whose business it is to represent the phrase structure of the linguistic input currently being processed. When this intender passes a representation R to the consumers of its products, those consumers will take R to be a representation of the phrase structure of the current input. There is no explicit vocabulary to mark the target-content distinction in ordinary language. Expressions like "what I referred to," "what I meant," and the like, are ambiguous. Sometimes they mean targets, sometimes contents. Consider the following dialogue. (shrink)
This paper examines visual representation from a distinctive, interdisciplinary perspective that draws on ethics, visual studies and critical race theory. Suggests ways to clarify complex issues of representational ethics in marketing communications and marketing representations, suggesting an analysis that makes identity creation central to societal marketing concerns. Analyzes representations of the exotic Other in disparate marketing campaigns, drawing upon tourist promotions, advertisements, and mundane objects in material culture. Moreover, music is an important force in marketing communication: visual representations in (...) music promotions are also explored as data for inquiry. Offers an alternative to phenomenologically based approaches in marketing and consumer research scholarship that use consumer responses to generate data. Contributes additional insight into societal marketing and places global marketing processes within the intersection of ethics, aesthetics and representation. (shrink)
Neuropsychological findings used to motivate the "two visual systems" hypothesis have been taken to endanger a pair of widely accepted claims about spatial representation in conscious visual experience. The first is the claim that visual experience represents 3-D space around the perceiver using an egocentric frame of reference. The second is the claim that there is a constitutive link between the spatial contents of visual experience and the perceiver's bodily actions. In this paper, I review and assess three main (...) sources of evidence for the two visual systems hypothesis. I argue that the best interpretation of the evidence is in fact consistent with both claims. I conclude with some brief remarks on the relation between visual consciousness and rational agency. (shrink)
It is a live possibility that certain of our experiences reliably misrepresent the world around us. I argue that tracking theories of mental representation (e.g. those of Dretske, Fodor, and Millikan) have difficulty allowing for this possibility, and that this is a major consideration against them.
I defend a theory of mental representation that satisfies naturalistic constraints. Briefly, we begin by distinguishing (i) what makes something a representation from (ii) given that a thing is a representation, what determines what it represents. Representations are states of biological organisms, so we should expect a unified theoretical framework for explaining both what it is to be a representation as well as what it is to be a heart or a kidney. I follow Millikan in (...) explaining (i) in terms of teleofunction, explicated in terms of natural selection. -/- To explain (ii), we begin by recognizing that representational states do not have content, that is, they are neither true nor false except insofar as they both “point to” or “refer” to something, as well as “say” something regarding whatever it is they are about. To distinguish veridical from false representations, there must be a way for these separate aspects to come apart; hence, we explain (ii) by providing independent theories of what I call f-reference and f-predication (the ‘f’ simply connotes ‘fundamental’, to distinguish these things from their natural language counterparts). -/- Causal theories of representation typically founder on error, or on what Fodor has called the disjunction problem. Resemblance or isomorphism theories typically founder on what I’ve called the non-uniqueness problem, which is that isomorphisms and resemblance are practically unconstrained and so representational content cannot be uniquely determined. These traditional problems provide the motivation for my theory, the structural preservation theory, as follows. F-reference, like reference, is a specific, asymmetric relation, as is causation. F-predication, like predication, is a non-specific relation, as predicates typically apply to many things, just as many relational systems can be isomorphic to any given relational system. Putting these observations together, a promising strategy is to explain f-reference via causal history and f-predication via something like isomorphism between relational systems. -/- This dissertation should be conceptualized as having three parts. After motivating and characterizing the problem in chapter 1, the first part is the negative project, where I review and critique Dretske’s, Fodor’s, and Millikan’s theories in chapters 2-4. Second, I construct my theory about the nature of representation in chapter 5 and defend it from objections in chapter 6. In chapters 7-8, which constitute the third and final part, I address the question of how representation is implemented in biological systems. In chapter 7 I argue that single-cell intracortical recordings taken from awake Macaque monkeys performing a cognitive task provide empirical evidence for structural preservation theory, and in chapter 8 I use the empirical results to illustrate, clarify, and refine the theory. (shrink)
The main thesis of this paper is twofold. In the first half of the paper, (§§1-2), I argue that there are two notions of mental representation, which I call objective and subjective. In the second part (§§3-7), I argue that this casts familiar tracking theories of mental representation as incomplete: while it is clear how they might account for objective representation, they at least require supplementation to account for subjective representation.
Hume is a naturalist in many different respects and about many different topics; this paper argues that he is also a naturalist about intentionality and representation. It does so in the course of answering four questions about his theory of mental representation: (1) Which perceptions represent? (2) What can perceptions represent? (3) Why do perceptions represent at all? (4) Howdo perceptions represent what they do? It appears that, for Hume, all perceptions except passions can represent; and they can (...) represent bodies, minds, and persons, with their various qualities. In addition, ideas can represent impressions and other ideas. However, he explicitly rejects the view that ideas are inherently representational, and he implicitly adopts a view according to which things (whether mental or non-mental) represent in virtue of playing, through the production of mental effects and dispositions, a significant part of the causal and/or functional role of what they represent. It is in virtue of their particular functional roles that qualitatively identical ideas are capable of representing particulars or general kinds; substances or modes; relations; past, present, or future; and individuals or compounds. (shrink)
How can the human mind represent the external world? What is thought, and can it be studied scientifically? Does it help to think of the mind as a kind of machine? Tim Crane sets out to answer questions like these in a lively and straightforward way, presuming no prior knowledge of philosophy or related disciplines. Since its first publication in 1995, The Mechanical Mind has introduced thousands of people to some of the most important ideas in contemporary philosophy of mind. (...) Tim Crane explains some fundamental ideas that cut across philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence and cognitive science: what the mind-body problem is; what a computer is and how it works; what thoughts are and how computers and minds might have them. He examines different models of the mind from dualist to eliminativist, and questions whether there can be thought without language and whether the mind is subject to the same causal lsaws as natural phenomena. The result is a fascinating exploration of the theories and arguments surrounding the notions of thought and representation. The edition has been fully revised and updated, and includes a new chapter on consciousness and new sections on modularity and evolutionary psychology. There are also guides for further reading, a chronology and a new glossary of terms such as mentalese, connectionism and the homonculus fallacy. The Mechanical Mind is accessible to the general reader as well as students, and anyone interested in the mechanism of our minds. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue for three claims. The first is that the difference between analog and digital representation lies in the format and not the medium of representation. The second is that whether a given system is analog or digital will sometimes depend on facts about the user of that system. The third is that the first two claims are implicit in Haugeland's (1998) account of the distinction.
I argue against theories that attempt to reduce scientific representation to similarity or isomorphism. These reductive theories aim to radically naturalize the notion of representation, since they treat scientist's purposes and intentions as non-essential to representation. I distinguish between the means and the constituents of representation, and I argue that similarity and isomorphism are common but not universal means of representation. I then present four other arguments to show that similarity and isomorphism are not the (...) constituents of scientific representation. I finish by looking at the prospects for weakened versions of these theories, and I argue that only those that abandon the aim to radically naturalize scientific representation are likely to be successful. (shrink)
Much recent cognitive neuroscientific work on body knowledge is representationalist: “body schema” and “body images”, for example, are cerebral representations of the body (de Vignemont 2009). A framework assumption is that representation of the body plays an important role in cognition. The question is whether this representationalist assumption is compatible with the variety of broadly situated or embodied approaches recently popular in the cognitive neurosciences: approaches in which cognition is taken to have a ‘direct’ relation to the body and (...) to the environment. A “direct” relation is one where the boundaries between the body and the head, or between the environment and the animal are not theoretically important in the understanding of cognition. These boundaries do not play a theoretically privileged role in cognitive explanations of behavior. But representationalism appears to put a representational veil between the locus of cognition and that which is represented, making cognitive relations to the body and to the environment be indirect, with a high associated computational load. For this reason, direct approaches have tried to minimize the use of internal representations (Suchman 1987; Barwise 1987; Agre and Chapman 1987; Brooks 1992; Thelen and Smith 1994; van Gelder 1995; Port and van Gelder 1995; Clark 1997, 1999; Rupert 2009, p. 180). Does a cognitive neuroscience committed to direct relations rule out a representationalist approach to body knowledge? Or is direct representationalism possible? (shrink)
The recent discussion on scientific representation has focused on models and their relationship to the real world. It has been assumed that models give us knowledge because they represent their supposed real target systems. However, here agreement among philosophers of science has tended to end as they have presented widely different views on how representation should be understood. I will argue that the traditional representational approach is too limiting as regards the epistemic value of modelling given the focus (...) on the relationship between a single model and its supposed target system, and the neglect of the actual representational means with which scientists construct models. I therefore suggest an alternative account of models as epistemic tools. This amounts to regarding them as concrete artefacts that are built by specific representational means and are constrained by their design in such a way that they facilitate the study of certain scientific questions, and learning from them by means of construction and manipulation. (shrink)
This dissertation argues that mental representation is identical to phenomenal consciousness, and everything else that appears to be both mental and a matter of representation is not genuine mental representation, but either in some way derived from mental representation, or a case of non-mental representation.
In this paper I discuss one of the key issuesin the philosophy of neuroscience:neurosemantics. The project of neurosemanticsinvolves explaining what it means for states ofneurons and neural systems to haverepresentational contents. Neurosemantics thusinvolves issues of common concern between thephilosophy of neuroscience and philosophy ofmind. I discuss a problem that arises foraccounts of representational content that Icall ``the economy problem'': the problem ofshowing that a candidate theory of mentalrepresentation can bear the work requiredwithin in the causal economy of a mind and (...) anorganism. My approach in the current paper isto explore this and other key themes inneurosemantics through the use of computermodels of neural networks embodied and evolvedin virtual organisms. The models allow for thelaying bare of the causal economies of entireyet simple artificial organisms so that therelations between the neural bases of, forinstance, representation in perception andmemory can be regarded in the context of anentire organism. On the basis of thesesimulations, I argue for an account ofneurosemantics adequate for the solution of theeconomy problem. (shrink)
In modern, Western societies the purpose of schooling is to ensure that school-goers acquire knowledge of pre-existing practices, events, entities and so on. The knowledge that is learned is then tested to see if the learner has acquired a correct or adequate understanding of it. For this reason, it can be argued that schooling is organised around a representational epistemology: one which holds that knowledge is an accurate representation of something that is separate from knowledge itself. Since the object (...) of knowledge is assumed to exist separately from the knowledge itself, this epistemology can also be considered ‘spatial.’ In this paper we show how ideas from complexity have challenged the spatial epistemology’ of representation and we explore possibilities for an alternative ‘temporal’ understanding of knowledge in its relationship to reality. In addition to complexity, our alternative takes its inspiration from Deweyan ‘transactional realism’ and deconstruction. We suggest that ‘knowledge’ and ‘reality’ should not be understood as separate systems which somehow have to be brought into alignment with each other, but that they are part of the same emerging complex system which is never fully ‘present’ in any (discrete) moment in time. This not only introduces the notion of time into our understanding of the relationship between knowledge and reality, but also points to the importance of acknowledging the role of the ‘unrepresentable’ or ‘incalculable’. With this understanding knowledge reaches us not as something we receive but as a response, which brings forth new worlds because it necessarily adds something (which was not present anywhere before it appeared) to what came before. This understanding of knowledge suggests that the acquisition of curricular content should not be considered an end in itself. Rather, curricular content should be used to bring forth that which is incalculable from the perspective of the present. The epistemology of emergence therefore calls for a switch in focus for curricular thinking, away from questions about presentation and representation and towards questions about engagement and response. (shrink)
Making sense of modeling: beyond representation Content Type Journal Article Category Original paper in Philosophy of Science Pages 335-352 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0032-8 Authors Isabelle Peschard, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 3.
Pictorial representation is one species of visual representation--but not the only one, I argue. There are three additional varieties or species of visual representation--namely 'structural', 'aspect' and 'integrative' representation--which together comprise a category of 'delineative' rather than depictive visual representation. I arrive at this result via consideration of previously neglected orientational factors that serve to distinguish the two categories. I conclude by arguing that pictures (unlike 'delineations') are not physical objects, and that their multiplicity and (...) modal narrowness motivates a view of them as instead being (one kind of) 'delineatively' represented content or subject matter, as represented by those objects that are (commonly but wrongly, in my view) assumed to be pictures. (shrink)
b>: The problem of how physical systems, such as brains, come to represent themselves as subjects in an objective world is addressed. I develop an account of the requirements for this ability that draws on and refines work in a philosophical tradition that runs from Kant through Peter Strawson to Gareth Evans. The basic idea is that the ability to represent oneself as a subject in a world whose existence is independent of oneself involves the ability to represent space, and (...) in particular, to represent oneself as one object among others in an objective spatial realm. In parallel, I provide an account of how this ability, and the mechanisms that support it, are realized neurobiologically. This aspect of the article draws on, and refines, work done in the neurobiology and psychology of egocentric and allocentric spatial representation. (shrink)
Hubert Dreyfus argues that the traditional and currently dominant conception of an action, as an event initiated or governed by a mental representation of a possible state of affairs that the agent is trying to realise, is inadequate. If Dreyfus is right, then we need a new conception of action. I argue, however, that the considerations that Dreyfus adduces show only that an action need not be initiated or governed by a conceptual representation, but since a representation (...) need not be conceptually structured, do not show that we need a conception of action that does not involve representation. (shrink)
What role does the concept of representation play in the contexts of experimentation and explanation in cognitive neurobiology? In this article, a distinction is drawn between minimal and substantive roles for representation. It is argued by appeal to a case study that representation currently plays a role in cognitive neurobiology somewhere in between minimal and substantive and that this is problematic given the ultimate explanatory goals of cognitive neurobiological research. It is suggested that what is needed is (...) for representation to instead play a more substantive role. (shrink)
In Philosophy of Mental Representation five of the most original and important thinkers in philosophy of mind engage in an overlapping dialogue about mental representation. In new papers, contributors Andy Clark, Robert Cummins, Daniel Dennett, John Haugeland, and Brian Cantwell Smith each investigate the views and claims of one of the other contributors regarding mental representation. The subject then offers a reply. An exciting feature of this collection is the dynamic discussion among all contributors following each exchange. (...) This collection offers the latest thinking on mental representation carefully and critically analyzed by the leading thinkers in the field. (shrink)
This paper investigates the prospects of Rodney Brooks’ proposal for AI without representation. It turns out that the supposedly characteristic features of “new AI” (embodiment, situatedness, absence of reasoning, and absence of representation) are all present in conventional systems: “New AI” is just like old AI. Brooks proposal boils down to the architectural rejection of central control in intelligent agents—Which, however, turns out to be crucial. Some of more recent cognitive science suggests that we might do well to (...) dispose of the image of intelligent agents as central representation processors. If this paradigm shift is achieved, Brooks’ proposal for cognition without representation appears promising for full-blown intelligent agents—Though not for conscious agents. (shrink)
b>: In this article I outline, apply, and defend a theory of natural representation. The main consequences of this theory are: i) representational status is a matter of how physical entities are used, and specifically is not a matter of causation, nomic relations with the intentional object, or information; ii) there are genuine (brain-)internal representations; iii) such representations are really representations, and not just farcical pseudo-representations, such as attractors, principal components, state-space partitions, or what-have-you;and iv) the theory allows us (...) to sharply distinguish those complex behaviors which are genuinely cognitive from those which are merely complex and adaptive. (shrink)
A mechanism for planning ahead would appear to be essential to any creature with more than insect level intelligence. In this paper it is shown how planning, using full means-ends analysis, can be had while avoiding the so called symbol grounding problem. The key role of knowledge representation in intelligence has been acknowledged since at least the enlightenment, but the advent of the computer has made it possible to explore the limits of alternate schemes, and to explore the nature (...) of our everyday understanding of the world around us. In particular, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics has forced a close examination, by people other than philosophers, of what it means to say for instance that "snow is white." One interpretation of the "new AI" is that it is questioning the need for representation altogether. Brooks and others have shown how a range of intelligent behaviors can be had without representation, and this paper goes one step further showing how intending to do things can be achieved without symbolic representation. The paper gives a concrete example of a mechanism in terms of robots that play soccer. It describes a belief, desire and intention (BDI) architecture that plans in terms of activities. The result is a situated agent that plans to do things with no more ontological commitment than the reactive systems Brooks described in his seminal paper, "Intelligence without Representation.". (shrink)
I argue that the concept of representation is ambiguous: a picture of 'a man', when there is no actual man that it depicts, both does, in one sense, and does not, in another sense, represent 'a man'--hence the need for a distinction of internal from external representation. Internal representation is also defended from reductive, non-referential alternative views, and from 'prosthesis' views of picturing, according to which seeing a picture of an actual man just is seeing through the (...) picture to that actual man himself. The view also provides a strong foundation for a theory of reference to fictional entities. (shrink)
James Elkins has shaped the discussion about how we—as artists, as art historians, or as outsiders—view art. He has not only revolutionized our thinking about the purpose of teaching art, but has also blazed trails in creating a means of communication between scientists, artists, and humanities scholars. In Six Stories from the End of Representation , Elkins weaves stories about recent images from painting, photography, physics, astrophysics, and microscopy. These images, regardless of origin, all fail as representations: they are (...) blurry, dark, pixellated, or otherwise unclear. In these opaque images, Elkins finds an opportunity to create stories that speak simultaneously to artists and to scientists, and to open both those fields to those of us who have little purchase in either. Regarding each image through the lens of the discipline that produced it, Elkins simultaneously affirms the unique structure of each way of viewing the world and brings those views together into a vibrant conversation. (shrink)
Abstract: The emergence of cross-border communities and transnational associations requires new ways of thinking about the norms involved in democracy in a globalized world. Given the significance of human rights fulfillment, including social and economic rights, I argue here for giving weight to the claims of political communities while also recognizing the need for input by distant others into the decisions of global governance institutions that affect them. I develop two criteria for addressing the scope of democratization in transnational contexts— (...) common activities and impact on basic human rights —and argue for their compatibility. I then consider some practical implications for institutional transformation and design, including new forms of transnational representation. (shrink)
The current orthodoxy on mental representation can be characterized in terms of three central ideas. The -rst is ontological, the second semantic, and the third methodological. The ontological tenet is that mental representation is a two-place relation holding between a representing state and a represented entity (object, event, state of a.airs). The semantic tenet is that the relation in question is probably information-theoretic at heart, perhaps augmented teleologically, functionally, or teleo-functionally to cope with di/cult cases. The methodological tenet (...) is that mental representations are posited solely on third-person explanatory grounds. In this paper, I argue that this picture of mental representation is satisfactory only as an account of mental representation at the sub-personal level. It is unsatisfactory, in a principled way, as an account of mental representation at the personal level. (shrink)
According to Uriah Kriegel’s self-representational theory of consciousness, mental state M is conscious just in case it is a complex with suitably integrated proper parts, M1 and M2, such that M1 is a higher-order representation of lower-order representation M2. Kriegel claims that M thereby “indirectly” represents itself, and he attempts to motivate this claim by appealing to what he regards as intuitive cases of indirect perceptual and pictorial representation. For example, Kriegel claims that it’s natural to say (...) that in directly perceiving the front surface of an apple one thereby perceives the apple itself. Cases such as this are supposed to provide intuitive support for the principle that if X represents Y, and Y is highly integrated into complex object Z, then X indirectly represents Z. In this paper I provide counterexamples to Kriegel’s principle of indirect representation, before going on to argue that we can explain what is going on in those cases in which the subject seems to represent a complex whole by representing one its parts without positing indirect representations anyway. I then argue that my alternative approach is superior to Kriegel’s in a number of ways, thereby rendering his theory of consciousness implausible. (shrink)
The sense of embodiment is vital for self recognition. An examination of anosognosia for hemiplegia—the inability to recognise that one is paralysed down one side of one’s body—suggests the existence of ‘online’ and ‘offline’ representations of the body. Online representations of the body are representations of the body as it is currently, are newly constructed moment by moment and are directly “plugged into” current perception of the body. In contrast, offline representations of the body are representations of what the body (...) is usually like, are relatively stable and are constructed from online representations. This distinction is supported by an analysis of phantom limb—the feeling that an amputated limb is still present—phenomena. Initially it seems that the sense of embodiment may arise from either of these types of representation; however, an integrated representation of the body seems to be required. It is suggested information from vision and emotions is involved in generating these representations. A lack of access to online representations of the body does not necessarily lead to a loss in the sense of embodiment. An integrated offline representation of the body could account for the sense of embodiment and perform the functions attributed to this sense. (shrink)
The orthodox view in the study of representation is that a strictly third-person objective methodology must be employed. The acceptance of this methodology is shown to be a fundamental and debilitating error. Toward this end I defend what I call.
We propose that scientific representation is a special case of a more general notion of representation, and that the relatively well worked-out and plausible theories of the latter are directly applicable to thc scientific special case. Construing scientific representation in this way makes the so-called “problem of scientific representation” look much less interesting than it has seerned to many, and suggests that some of the (hotly contested) debates in the literature are concerned with non-issues.
I consider two threats to the idea that on-line intelligent behaviour (the production of fluid and adaptable responses to ongoing sensory input) must or should be explained by appeal to neurally located representations. The first of these threats occurs when extra-neural factors account for the kind of behavioural richness and flexibility normally associated with representation-based control. I show how this anti-representational challenge can be met, if we apply the thought that, to be a representational system, an action-oriented neural system (...) must not only be the source of at least some of the observed behavioural richness and flexibility, it must also feature two architectural traits, namely arbitrariness and homuncularity. Unfortunately, however, this solution opens the door to our second threat to representation. The homuncularity condition will not be met by any system in which the causal contribution of each component is massively context-sensitive and variable over time. I end by discussing the empirical bet that biological nervous systems will not exhibit this style of causation. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to defend the structural concept of representation, as defined by homomorphisms, against its main objections, namely: logical objections, the objection from misrepresentation, theobjection from failing necessity, and the copy theory objection. The logical objections can be met by reserving the relation.
I think van Fraassen is right to see the development of quantum mechanics as a turning point for physical science with a profound moral for philosophy, and not just for the philosophy of science. But the moral is not that even a completely successful physical theory may fail to account for the appearances by showing how they arise within the reality it represents. The moral is more radical: it is that a physical theory – even a fundamental theory – may (...) be completely successful in all its applications without offering a representation of reality at all. (shrink)
This essay focuses on the historical text as a whole. It does so by conceiving of the historical text as representation - in the way the we may say of a photo or a painting that it represents the person depicted on it. It is argued that representation cannot be properly understood by modelling it on true description. So all the central questions asked since the days of Frege with regard to how the true statement relates to the (...) world must be asked anew, if we wish to understand how a historical representation relates to what it is about. Three claims are made. In the first place, representation is not a two-place but a three-place operator: apart from a representation (say, a book on Napoleon) and what the representation represents (Napoleon himself), a representation also indicates an aspect of represented reality (an aspect of Napoleon). The second claim is that this notion of the aspect is crucial for a proper understanding of (historical) representation. Thirdly, it is argued that traditional theories of reference cannot account for the relationship between a representation and the aspect indicated by it. (shrink)
The present paper argues that ‘mature mathematical formalisms’ play a central role in achieving representation via scientific models. A close discussion of two contemporary accounts of how mathematical models apply—the DDI account (according to which representation depends on the successful interplay of denotation, demonstration and interpretation) and the ‘matching model’ account—reveals shortcomings of each, which, it is argued, suggests that scientific representation may be ineliminably heterogeneous in character. In order to achieve a degree of unification that is (...) compatible with successful representation, scientists often rely on the existence of a ‘mature mathematical formalism’, where the latter refers to a—mathematically formulated and physically interpreted—notational system of locally applicable rules that derive from (but need not be reducible to) fundamental theory. As mathematical formalisms undergo a process of elaboration, enrichment, and entrenchment, they come to embody theoretical, ontological, and methodological commitments and assumptions. Since these are enshrined in the formalism itself, they are no longer readily obvious to either the novice or the proficient user. At the same time as formalisms constrain what may be represented, they also function as inferential and interpretative resources. (shrink)
It is almost universally acknowledged that first-order logic (FOL), with its clean, well-understood syntax and semantics, allows for the clear expression of philosophical arguments and ideas. Indeed, an argument or philosophical theory rendered in FOL is perhaps the cleanest example there is of “representing philosophy”. A number of prominent syntactic and semantic properties of FOL reflect metaphysical presuppositions that stem from its Fregean origins, particularly the idea of an inviolable divide between concept and object. These presuppositions, taken at face value, (...) reflect a significant metaphysical viewpoint, one that can in fact hinder or prejudice the representation of philosophical ideas and arguments. Philosophers have of course noticed this and have, accordingly, sought to alter or extend traditional FOL in novel ways to reflect a more flexible and egalitarian metaphysical standpoint. The purpose of this paper, however, is to document and discuss how similar “adaptations” to FOL—culminating in a standardized framework known as Common Logic —have evolved out of the more practical and applied encounter of FOL with the problem of representing, sharing, and reasoning upon information on the World Wide Web. (shrink)
Robert Cummins [(1996) Representations, targets and attitudes, Cambridge, MA: Bradford/MIT, p. 1] has characterized the vexed problem of mental representation as "the topic in the philosophy of mind for some time now." This remark is something of an understatement. The same topic was central to the famous controversy between Nicolas Malebranche and Antoine Arnauld in the 17th century and remained central to the entire philosophical tradition of "ideas" in the writings of Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Reid and Kant. However, the (...) scholarly, exegetical literature has almost no overlap with that of contemporary cognitive science. I show that the recurrence of certain deep perplexities about the mind is a systematic and pervasive pattern arising not only throughout history, but also in a number of independent domains today such as debates over visual imagery, symbolic systems and others. Such historical and contemporary convergences suggest that the fundamental issues cannot arise essentially from the theoretical guise they take in any particular case. (shrink)
The main task of this paper is to understand if and how static images like photographs can represent and/or depict temporal extension (duration). In order to do this, a detour will be necessary to understand some features of the nature of photographic representation and depiction in general. This important detour will enable us to see that photographs (can) have a narrative content, and that the skilled photographer can 'tell a story' in a very clear sense, as well as control (...) and guide the attention of the spectator of the photograph. The understanding and defence of this claim is a secondary aim of this paper, and it will then allow us to provide a good treatment of the particular case of photographic representation and depiction of temporal extension. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes two conceptions of representation at work in the philosophical literature. On the first, "contentive" conception (found, for example, in Searle and Fodor), something is a representation, roughly, if it has "propositional content". On the second, "indicative" conception (found, for example, in Dretske), representations must not only have content but also have the function of indicating something about the world. Desire is representational on the first view but not on the second. This paper argues that philosophers (...) and psychologists have sometimes conflated these two conceptions, and it examines the consequences of this conflation for the developmental literature on the child's understanding of mind. Specifically, recent research by Gopnik and Perner on the child's understanding of desire is motivated by an argument that equivocates between the two conceptions of representation. Finally, the paper suggests that an examination of when the child understands the possibility of misrepresentation in art would be helpful in charting the child's understanding of indicative representation. (shrink)
This is a follow-up article toPhilip Brey's ``The ethics of representation andaction in Virtual Reality'' (published in thisjournal in January 1999). Brey's call for moreanalysis of ethical issues of virtual reality(VR) is continued by further analyzing issuesin a specialized domain of VR – namelymulti-user environments. Several elements ofBrey's article are critiqued in order to givemore context and a framework for discussion.Issues surrounding representations ofcharacters in multi-user virtual realities aresurveyed in order to focus attention on theimportance of additional discussion andanalysis (...) of specialized aspects of VR. (shrink)
The paper uses ideas from Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Genetic Algorithms to provide a model of the development of a fight-or-flight response in a simulated agent. The modelled development process involves (simulated) processes of evolution, learning and representation development. The main value of the model is that it provides an illustration of how simple learning processes may lead to the formation of structures which can be given a representational interpretation. It also shows how these may form the infrastructure (...) for closely-coupled agent/environment interaction. (shrink)
This essay focuses on the possibility of adopting a representational approach for technoscience, in which representation is considered as a situated process of dynamic “intra-action” (Barad 2007 ). Re-elaborating the recent critiques of representationalism (Thrift 2008 ), my analysis begins by analysing Hayles’s situated model of representation from an early essay where she explains her definition of constrained constructivism (Hayles [ 1991 ] 1997). The essay then discusses the notions of figuration and diffraction and the way they are (...) employed by Haraway in many of her writings for her critique of technoscience (Haraway 1991 , 1997 ). Finally, after considering diffraction through Barad’s reading of this practice in the context of her theory of agential realism ( 2007 ), it shows the links that relate constrained constructivism, situated knowledge and agential realism, and the way all of them work at “diffract[ing] the rays of technoscience” (Haraway 1997 : 16) through an alternative representational practice. (shrink)
This book is a study of the second-edition version of the 'Transcendental Deduction' (the so-called 'B-Deduction'), which is one of the most important and obscure sections of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. By way of a close analysis of the B-Deduction, Adam Dickerson makes the distinctive claim that the Deduction is crucially concerned with the problem of making intelligible the unity possessed by complex representations - a problem that is the representationalist parallel of the semantic problem of the unity of (...) the proposition. Along the way he discusses most of the key themes in Kant's theory of knowledge, including the nature of thought and representation, the notion of objectivity, and the way in which the mind structures our experience of the world. (shrink)
Concept representation is still an open problem in the field of ontology engineering and, more generally, of knowledge representation. In particular, the issue of representing “non classical” concepts, i.e. concepts that cannot be defined in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions, remains unresolved. In this paper we review empirical evidence from cognitive psychology, according to which concept representation is not a unitary phenomenon. On this basis, we sketch some proposals for concept representation, taking into account suggestions (...) from psychological research. In particular, it seems that human beings employ both prototype-based and exemplar-based representations in order to represent non classical concepts. We suggest that a similar, hybrid prototype-exemplar based approach could also prove useful in the field of knowledge representation technology. Finally, we propose conceptual spaces as a suitable framework for developing some aspects of this proposal. (shrink)
The concept of innateness is used to make inferences between various better-understood properties, like developmental canalization, evolutionary adaptation, heritability, species-typicality, and so on (‘innateness-related properties’). This article uses a recently-developed account of the representational content carried by inheritance systems like the genome to explain why innateness-related properties cluster together, especially in non-human organisms. Although inferences between innateness-related properties are deductively invalid, and lead to false conclusions in many actual cases, where some aspect of a phenotypic trait develops in reliance on (...) a genetic representation it will tend, better than chance, to have many of the innateness-related properties. The account also shows why inferences between innateness-related properties sometimes fail and argues that such inferences are especially misleading when applied to human psychology and behaviour because human psychological development is especially reliant on non-genetic inherited representations. (shrink)
In this paper, I take scientific models to be epistemic representations of their target systems. I define an epistemic representation to be a tool for gaining information about its target system and argue that a vehicle’s capacity to provide specific information about its target system—its informativeness—is an essential feature of this kind of representation. I draw an analogy to our ordinary notion of interpretation to show that a user’s aim of faithfully representing the target system is necessary for (...) securing this feature. (shrink)
Diego Velasquez's Las Meninas (The Maids of Honour) is an intriguing work of representational art. It seems to me that there are two central ways to analyse the painting as involving some kind of 'representation of a representation'.