The political institutions under which we live today evolved from a revolutionary idea that shook the world in the second part of the eighteenth century: that a people should govern itself. Yet if we judge contemporary democracies by the ideals of self-government, equality, and liberty, we find that democracy is not what it was dreamt to be. This book addresses central issues in democratic theory by analyzing the sources of widespread dissatisfaction with democracies around the world. With attention throughout (...) to historical and cross-national variations, the focus is on the generic limits of democracy in promoting equality, effective participation, control of governments by citizens, and liberty. The conclusion is that although some of this dissatisfaction has good reasons, some is based on an erroneous understanding of how democracy functions. Hence, although the analysis identifies the limits of democracy, it also points to directions for feasible reforms. (shrink)
This updated edition of a well-established anthology of social and political philosophy combines extensive selections from classical works with significant recent contributions to the field, many of which are not easily available. Its central focus is on the liberal currents in modern Western political thought--variants of classical liberalism, modern liberalism, and libertarianism--with specific focus on differing conceptions of political obligation, freedom, distributive justice, and representative democracy. The text is organized into four thematic sections: Political Obligation and Consent, Freedom and (...) Coercion, Justice and Equality, and Democracy and Representation, making it easily accessible to students. Each chapter features selections from classical thinkers alongside writings by influential contemporary philosophers and political theorists, thus tracing the historical development and transformation of Western political thought on key issues in the field. Among the classical authors represented in this collection are Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Mill. Contemporary contributors include John Rawls, Isaiah Berlin, Thomas Scanlon, Robert Nozick, Thomas Nagel, Ronald Dworkin, and Hanna Pitkin. Each section is preceded by an introductory overview and followed by a helpful, current bibliography providing guides to further reading. (shrink)
The three major essays collected in this volume were written in the latter half of Mill's life (1806-1873) and were quickly accepted into the canon of European political and social thought. Today, when liberty and representativegovernment collide with other principles and when women still experience prejudice, Mill's essays reveal his sense of history, intelligence, and ardent concern for human liberty, and continue to shed light on politics and contemporary society.
The banner of deliberative democracy is attracting increasing numbers of supporters, in both the world's older and newer democracies. This effort to renew democratic politics is widely seen as a reaction to the dominance of liberal constitutionalism. But many questions surround this new project. What does deliberative democracy stand for? What difference would deliberative practices make in the real world of political conflict and public policy design? What is the relationship between deliberative politics and liberal constitutional arrangements? The 1996 publication (...) of Amy Gutmann and Dennis F. Thompsons Democracy and Disagreement was a signal contribution to the ongoing debate over the role of moral deliberation in democratic politics. In Deliberative Politics an all-star cast of political, legal, and moral commentators seek to criticize, extend, or provide alternatives to Gutmann and Thompson's hopeful model of democratic deliberation. The essays discuss the value and limits of moral deliberation in politics, and take up practical policy issues such as abortion, affirmative action, and health care reform. Among the impressive roster of contributors are Norman Daniels, Stanley Fish, William A. Galston, Jane Mansbridge, Cass R. Sunstein, Michael Walzer, and Iris Marion Young, and the editor of the volume, Stephen Macedo. The book concludes with a thoughtful response from Gutmann and Thompson to their esteemed critics. This fine collection is essential reading for anyone who takes seriously the call for a more deliberative politics. (shrink)
This is the first English translation of the first work of Otto von Gierke, arguably the greatest historian of ideas of the nineteenth century. Community in Historical Perspective includes much of the first volume of Das Deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht, originally published in 1868, and the texts translated here have become essential reading for anyone interested not only in the history of ideas and alternatives to conventional socialism and liberalism, but also, as recent experience has shown, contemporary European affairs. Von Gierke's represented (...) an unparalleled attempt to justify a political programme of structural pluralism, and to interpret the entire course of European history from the Dark Ages onwards as a progressive interaction between 'fellowship' (or 'comradeship') and 'lordship' (or 'sovereignty'). This interaction was to generate a polity of autonomous associations within a constitutional state based upon consent and federal unity, and von Gierke here laid the basis for a distinctively Germanic programme of federalism and quasi-pluralism, with a strongly nationalist emphasis upon the unique capacity of Germans, despite long periods of absolute rule, for corporate self-management. (shrink)
"Thirty-five years ago few could have predicted that The New Science of Politics would be a best-seller by political theory standards. Compressed within the Draconian economy of the six Walgreen lectures is a complete theory of man, society, and history, presented at the most profound and intellectual level. . . . Voegelin's [work] stands out in bold relief from much of what has passed under the name of political science in recent decades. . . . The New Science is aptly (...) titled, for Voegelin makes clear at the outset that a 'return to the specific content' of premodern political theory is out of the question. . . . The subtitle of the book, An Introduction, clearly indicates that The New Science of Politics is an invitation to join the search for the recovery of our full humanity."--From the new Foreword by Dante Germino "This book must be considered one of the most enlightening essays on the character of European politics that has appeared in half a century. . . . This is a book powerful and vivid enough to make agreement or disagreement with even its main thesis relatively unimportant."-- Times Literary Supplement "Voegelin . . . is one of the most distinguished interpreters to Americans of the non-liberal streams of European thought. . . . He brings a remarkable breadth of knowledge, and a historical imagination that ranges frequently into brilliant insights and generalizations."--Francis G. Wilson, American Political Science Review "This book is beautifully constructed . . . his erudition constantly brings a startling illumination."--Martin Wright, International Affairs "A ledestar to thinking men who seek a restoration of political science on the classic and Christian basis . . . a significant accomplishment in the retheorization of our age."--Anthony Harrigan, Christian Century. (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)
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)
Sellars (1963) distinguished in Empiricism and Philosophy of Mind between ordinary discourse, which expressed his “manifest image”, and scientific discourse, which articulated his “scientific image” of man-in-the-world in a way that is both central and problematic to the rest of his philosophy. Our contention is that the problematic feature of the distinction results from Sellars theory of inner episodes as theoretical entities. On the other hand, as Sellars attempted to account for our noninferential knowledge of such states, particularly in correspondence (...) with Castañeda, discussed by Lehrer and Stern (2000), he is lead to account of representation of such states that incorporates the states into what Lehrer has called exemplar representation (2004, 2011a) and Ismael reflexive self-description (2007). What is common to the three accounts, with some differences, is that such states may be function reflexively in selfrepresentation. Our argument is that the elaboration of this account, suggested in Sellars, shows how the discourse of the manifest image can be transformed into the discourse of the scientific image as self-representations of scientific entities. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to consider whether some seats in a democratically elected legislative assembly ought to be reserved for representatives of future generations. In order to examine this question, I will propose a new democratic model for representing posterity. It is argued that this model has several advantages compared with a model for the democratic representation of future people previously suggested by Andrew Dobson. Nevertheless, the democratic model that I propose confronts at least two difficult problems. (...) First, it faces insoluble problems of representative legitimacy. Second, one might question whether this model provides a reasonably effective way to represent future interests compared with existing representative democratic institutions. Despite such problems, it is argued that political representation of posterity can be defended on the basis of fundamental ideas and ideals in recent theory of deliberative democracy. The first reason for this is that in a number of cases democratic decisions cannot be regarded as normatively legitimate from the point of view of deliberative democracy, unless posterity is given a voice. The second reason is that representation of posterity can contribute to more rational and impartial deliberations and decisions in legislative assemblies. (shrink)
Hegel holds that members of a society can only be fully free and autonomous if they enjoy political representation. Hegel grants political representation to the landed aristocracy and to members of corporations. Causal day laborers fall outside both of these groups. Consequently, they lack political representation in Hegel’s state; hence they lack the political resources for full freedom and autonomy. This is a serious problem, but not so serious as Hegel’s marxist critics maintain. I propose two solutions (...) based on Hegel’s institutional principles. First, day laborers typically work in the same industry, and often in the same factory. Once that regularity is established, such labor is no longer casual and it merits recognition through labor contracts and (ultimately) through corporate membership. Second, those workers who remain casual laborers deserve special attention from a government-sponsored agency which organizes and regularizes their training and job placement, and which represents their interests in Hegel’s Estates Assembly. I further suggest that Keynes’s public works strategy for moderating unemployment fits perfectly into Hegel’s institutional framework, and I show (contra Ilting) that Hegel’s exposition of the Crown is properly ordered. The Monarch is the organizational apex of Hegel’s government, but the Estates Assembly culminates Hegel’s program for achieving the political autonomy of individuals. (shrink)
This paper describes the processes of cognitive modeling and representation of human expertise for developing an ontology and knowledge base of an expert system. An ontology is an organization and classification of knowledge. Ontological engineering in artificial intelligence (AI) has the practical goal of constructing frameworks for knowledge that allow computational systems to tackle knowledge-intensive problems and supports knowledge sharing and reuse. Ontological engineering is also a process that facilitates construction of the knowledge base of an intelligent system, which (...) can be defined as a computer program that can duplicate problem-solving capabilities of human experts in specific areas. This paper presents the processes of knowledge acquisition, analysis, and representation, which laid the basis for ontology construction. In this case, the processes are applied in ontological engineering for construction of an expert system in the domain of monitoring of a petroleum production and separation facility. The acquired knowledge was also formally represented in two knowledge acquisition tools. (shrink)
Traditionally, debates over the issue of representation in liberalism and in socialism focused on such questions as who or whose interests should be represented in order to attest to the legitimacy of representation. In this article, a different and more fundamental approach is achieved by asking how the representation is accomplished. At this methodological point, liberalism and socialism diverge in their understanding of representativegovernment: Each follows its own philosophical paradigm(s) that underly and justify its (...) position. Differences between liberal and socialist understandings of representation are analytically compared in three pairs of categories: (a) micro versus macro, (b) individual versus class, and (c) the formalistic versus the substantive. The most crucial differences between the social systems are found in the last pair of categories-the formalistic versus the substantive approach to representationbecause different understandings of central concepts such as democracy, freedom, and equality stem from these two frameworks. (shrink)
A pressing question at the forefront of current global political debates is: how can we salvage the democratic project in the context of 'globalization'? In recent years political activists have mounted high-profile campaigns for the democratization of powerful international institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, and for greater 'corporate accountability'. In turn, many of the NGOs linked to these campaigns have themselves faced demands for greater democratic legitimacy. Global Stakeholder Democracy responds to these challenges by outlining an innovative (...) theoretical and institutional framework for democratizing the many state and non-state actors wielding public power in contemporary global politics. In doing so, the book lays out a promising new agenda for global democratic reform. Its analysis begins with the recognition that we cannot simply recreate traditional constitutional and electoral institutions of democratic states on a global scale, through the construction of a democratic 'super-state'. Rather, we must develop new kinds of democratic institutions capable of dealing with the realities of global pluralism, and democratizing powerful non-state actors as well as states. Through reflecting on the democratic dilemmas surrounding the political power of global NGOs, the book mounts a powerful challenge to the state-centric theoretical assumptions that have underpinned the established democratic theories of both 'cosmopolitan' and 'communitarian' liberals. In particular, it challenges the widespread assumption that 'sovereign' power, 'bounded' (national or global) societies, and 'electoral' processes are essential institutional foundations of a democratic system. The book then re-thinks the democratic project from its conceptual foundations, posing the questions: What needs to be controlled? Who ought to control it? How could they do so? In answering these questions, the book develops a novel theoretical model of representative democracy that is focused on plural (state and non-state) actors rather than on unitary state structures. It elaborates a democratic framework based on the new theoretical concepts of 'public power', 'stakeholder communities' and 'non-electoral representation', and illustrates the practical implications of these proposals for projects of global institutional reform. (shrink)
This article examines the link between oligarchy and the notion of representative democracy, which for Castoriadis also implies the bureaucratisation of society. However, in an argument with and against Castoriadis, one has to decipher modern oligarchies before launching into a radical critique of the principle of representation. There is a diversity of representative democracies, and the complexity of modernity comes from a mixture of oligarchy, representation and democracy. Even though the idea of democracy has evolved, we (...) do not live under representative democracies but under liberal oligarchies. Direct democratic procedures and representative elements can sometimes be gathered in order to create new forms of political commitment. The main problem is avoiding a concentration of powers, which cannot create the conditions for the emergence of democratic institutions. (shrink)
The nub of the following argument is that there is a conflict between the idea of (liberal) neutrality on the one hand, and an intuitively plausible idea of political representation on the other. The conflict arises when neutrality is seen as a condition for political legitimacy: neutralist political representation is only legitimate insofar as the representative does not advance political ideas based on conceptions of the good that are not endorsed by the whole of the (reasonable) polity. (...) However, we often encounter examples of political representation that do not live up to this demand but nevertheless seem legitimate. Hence, neutralists should explain either why this counterintuitive notion of representation does not follow from neutrality or explain what representatives are meant and allowed to do in such a political arrangement. A plausible neutralist rejoinder to this is to say that legitimacy is not dependent on neutrality for all political decisions. Neutrality is important (only or predominantly) regarding a certain body of political decisions, viz., using the Rawlsian idiom, 'constitutional essentials and matters of basic justice.' However, such a two-levelled approach is not without its problems. I argue that a skein of theoretical and practical challenges to the two-levelled approach undermines, or at least weakens, this attempt to solve the problem about representation and neutrality, and that the two-levelled approach is unclear in certain key aspects. The aim of the article is, however, quite modest. It is not to challenge neutrality per se ; rather, it is a call for further clarification of the issues pertaining to the relationship between neutrality and representation. (shrink)
World semantics for relevant logics include so-called non-normal or impossible worlds providing model-theoretic counterexamples to such irrelevant entailments as (A ∧ ¬A) → B, A → (B∨¬B), or A → (B → B). Some well-known views interpret non-normal worlds as information states. If so, they can plausibly model our ability of conceiving or representing logical impossibilities. The phenomenon is explored by combining a formal setting with philosophical discussion. I take Priest’s basic relevant logic N4 and extend it, on the syntactic (...) side, with a representation operator, (R), and on the semantic side, with particularly anarchic non-normal worlds. This combination easily invalidates unwelcome “logical omniscience” in- ferences of standard epistemic logic, such as belief-consistency and closure under entailment. Some open questions are then raised on the best strategies to regiment (R) in order to express more vertebrate kinds of conceivability. (shrink)
In biosemiotics, life and living phenomena are described by means of originally anthropomorphic semiotic concepts. This can be justified if we can show that living systems as self-maintaining far from equilibrium systems create and update some kind of representation about the conditions of their self-maintenance. The point of view is the one of semiotic realism where signs and representations are considered as real and objective natural phenomena without any reference to the specifically human interpreter. It is argued that the (...) most basic concept of representation must be forward looking and that both C. Peirce’s and J. v. Uexküll’s concepts of sign assume an unnecessarily complex semiotic agent. The simplest representative systems do not have phenomenal objects or Umwelten at all. Instead, the minimal concept of representation and the source of normativity that is needed in its interpretation can be based on M. Bickhard’s interactivism. The initial normativity or natural self-interest is based on the ‘utility-concept’ of function: anything that contributes to the maintenance of a far from equilibrium system is functional to that system — every self-maintaining far from equilibrium system has a minimal natural self-interest to serve that function, it is its existential precondition. Minimal interactive representation emerges when such systems become able to switch appropriately between two or more means ofmaintaining themselves. At the level of such representations, a potentiality to detect an error may develop although no objects of representation for the system are provided. Phenomenal objects emerge in systems that are more complex. If a system creates a set of ongoingly updated ’situation images’ and can detect temporal invariances in the updating process, these invariances constitute objects for the system itself. Within them, a representative system gets an Umwelt and becomes capable of experiencing triadic signs. The relation between representation and its object is either iconic or indexical at this level. Correspondingly as in Peirce’s semeiotic, symbolic signs appear as more developed — for the symbolic signs, a more complex system is needed. (shrink)
Models are generally used by scientists to obtain predictions and to provide explanations about phenomena. Their predictive and explanatory power is generally thought of as depending on their representative power. It is still not clear, though, in virtue of which features models allow scientists to draw inferences about the system they stand for. In this paper, I focus on a special kind of models, namely imaginary models (I-models) such as the simple pendulum. The main question I address is: how (...) do scientists use I-models in representing target systems? First, I propose a clarification of the very notion of representation, by emphasizing the importance of what I call the format of a representation to the inferences cognitive agents can draw from it. Then, I analyze the various representational relationships that are in play in the use of I-models. I finally conclude that there is no special semantics to be applied to I-models, and that the study of the representational power of models in general should instead focus on the variety of the formats that are used in scientific practice. (shrink)
This first extensive study of Spinoza's philosophy of mind concentrates on two problems crucial to the philosopher's thoughts on the matter: the requirements for having a thought about a particular object, and the problem of the mind's relation to the body. Della Rocca contends that Spinoza's positions are systematically connected with each other and with a principle at the heart of his metaphysical system: his denial of causal or explanatory relations between the mental and the physical. In this way, Della (...) Rocca's exploration of these two problems provides a new and illuminating perspective on Spinoza's philosophy as a system. (shrink)
This paper argues that the contrast between direct and representative democracy is less important than that between simple majoritarianism and deliberative i.e., public reason centred, democracy, as only the latter is sufficiently sensitive to the problem of domination. Having explored a range of arguments in favour of direct democracy it is argued that moves in this direction are only warranted when the practice of public reasoning will be enhanced. Both symbolic representation and delegate democracy are rejected in favour (...) of substantive measures to formalise communication between voters and representatives and permit the formal contestation of political decision on the ground that these will provide stronger defences against domination within the political system. (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)
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 tbe evidence is in fact consistent with both claims. I conclude with some brief remarks on the relation between visual consciousness and rational agency. (shrink)
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)
Chisholm held that some states of ourselves are self-presenting and provide a stopping place in the quest for justification. The justification we have for accepting that we are in those states is transparent to us in a way that enables us to answer questions about justification. Representation enables us to apprehend such self-presenting states through themselves in a representational loop. It is a loop of exemplarization wherein the state is used as an exemplar to represent the kind of state (...) it is. The result is that the representation of the state provides the subject with a kind of representation that loops back onto itself escaping the bondage of stratified mentality. This form of representation by exemplarization is shown to resolve problems and paradoxes concerning subjectivity, consciousness and the self raised by the writings of Hume, Kierkegaard, Ferrier, Sartre and Frank Jackson. (shrink)
Are there distinct roles for intention and motor representation in explaining the purposiveness of action? Standard accounts of action assign a role to intention but are silent on motor representation. The temptation is to suppose that nothing need be said here because motor representation is either only an enabling condition for purposive action or else merely a variety of intention. This paper provides reasons for resisting that temptation. Some motor representations, like intentions, coordinate actions in virtue of (...) representing outcomes; but, unlike intentions, motor representations cannot feature as premises or conclusions in practical reasoning. This implies that motor representation has a distinctive role in explaining the purposiveness of action. It also gives rise to a problem: were the roles of intention and motor representation entirely independent, this would impair effective action. It is therefore necessary to explain how intentions interlock with motor representations. The solution, we argue, is to recognise that the contents of intentions can be partially determined by the contents of motor representations. Understanding this content-determining relation enables better understanding how intentions relate to actions. (shrink)
I oppose the popular view that the phenomenal character of perceptual experience consists in the subject's representing the (putative) perceived object as being so-and-so. The account of perceptual experience I favor instead is a version of the "Theory of Appearing" that takes it to be a matter of the perceived object's appearing to one as so-and-so, where this does not mean that the subject takes or believes it to be so-and-so. This plays no part in my criticisms of Representationalism. I (...) mention it only to be up front as to where I stand. My criticism of the Representationalist position is in sections. (1) There is no sufficient reason for positing a representative function for perceptual experience. It doesn't seem on the face of it to be that, and nothing serves in place of such seeming. (2) Even if it did have such a function, it doesn't have the conceptual resources to represent a state of affairs. (3) Even if it did, it is not suited to represent, e.g., a physical property of color. (4) Finally, even if I am wrong about the first three points, it is still impossible for the phenomenal character of the perceptual experience to consist in it's representing what it does. My central argument for this central claim of the paper is that it is metaphysically, de re possible that one have a certain perceptual experience without it's presenting any state of affairs. And since all identities hold necessarily, this identity claim fails. (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)
Intentional states represent. Belief represents how we take things to be; desire represents how we would like things to be; and so on. To represent is to make a division among possibilities; it is to divide the possibilities into those that are consistent with how things are being represented to be and those that are not. I will call the possibilities consistent with how some intentional state represents things to be, its content. There is no suggestion that this is the (...) only legitimate notion of content, but for anyone who takes seriously the representational nature of intentional states, it must be one legitimate and central notion of content. To discover that DNA has a double helix structure is to make a selection from the various possible structures. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Some photographs, more than mere representations, are ethical commands, calling us to respond to human suffering. Photos of Abu Graib, like iconic photos of Vietnam, called us to a posture of care, and confronted us with ourselves, with our national domination, and with how we represent ourselves to the world. This article, drawing on Kittay (1999), Butler (2004), and Levinas (1961, 1974, 1985), attempts to untangle the relation among care, domination, and representation. Implications for philosophers and journalists are suggested.
Although widely recognized as founder and key figure in the current re-emergence of pragmatism, Charles Peirce is rarely brought into contemporary dialogue. In this book, Kory Sorrell shows that Peirce has much to offer contemporary debate and deepens the value of Peirce’s view of representation in light of feminist epistemology, philosophy of science, and cultural anthropology. Drawing also on William James and John Dewey, Sorrell identifies ways in which bias, authority, and purpose are ineluctable constituents of shared representation. (...) He nevertheless defends Peirce’s realistic account of representation, showing how the independently real world both constrains social representation and informs its content. Most importantly, Sorrell shows how members of a given community not only represent but transform a shared world—and how those practices of representation may, and should, be improved. (shrink)
Spatial Representation presents original, specially written essays by leading psychologists and philosophers on a fascinating set of topics at the intersection of these two disciplines. They address such questions as these: Do the extraordinary navigational abilities of birds mean that these birds have the same kind of grip on the idea of a spatial world as we do? Is there a difference between the way sighted and blind subjects represent the world 'out there'? Does the study of brain-injured subjects, (...) such as 'blind seers', tell us anything about the working of normal spatial consciousness? -/- The essays are arranged into five sections, each of which reflects a central area of research into spatial cognition, and opens with a short introduction by the editors, designed to facilitate cross-disciplinary reading. The volume as a whole offers a rich and compelling expression of the view that to advance our understanding of the way we represent the external world it is necessary to draw on both philosophical and psychological approaches. (shrink)
Several authors have detected profound analogies between Kant and Wittgenstein. Their claims have been contradicted by scholars, such being the agreed penalty for attributions to authorities. Many of the alleged similarities have either been left unsubstantiated at a detailed exegetical level, or have been confined to highly general points. At the same time, the 'scholarly' backlash has tended to ignore the importance of some of these general points, or has focused on very specific issues or purely terminological matters. To advance (...) the debate, I distinguish four different topics: questions of actual influence; parallels at the methodological level; substantial similarities in philosophical logic; substantial similarities in the philosophy of mind. The article concentrates on the second and third topic. Section I argues that the critical conception of philosophy shared by Kant and Wittgenstein is itself due to the fact that they explain the a priori status of necessary propositions by reference to the way we experience or represent reality. Section II shows how the Tractatiis linguistically transforms this 'reflective turn', replacing Kant's preconditions of experience by preconditions of symbolic representation. Section III suggests that this explanation of the a priori involves the idea of an isomorphism between thought and reality, and that both Kant's transcendental idealism and Wittgenstein's early metaphysics of symbolism distort this isomorphism. Wittgenstein later rejected this metaphysics of symbolism, on the grounds that language is autonomous, and section IV detects parallels between that idea and Kant's 'diallelus' argument against the correspondence theory of truth. Finally, I claim that while Wittgenstein is right to insist that all a priori propositions are conceptual, Kant, in calling them synthetic a priori, is right to deny that they simply unpack the concepts involved in the propositions themselves. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to explore the visual representation of dignity, through the particular example of the seventeenth century Spanish painter Diego Velzquez. Velzquez works at a point in Western history when modern conceptions of dignity are beginning to be formed. It is argued that Velzquez' portraits of royalty and aristocracy articulate a tension between a feudal conception of majesty and a modern conception of the dignity of merit. On this level, modern conceptions of dignity of merit (...) are understood in terms of a struggle to excel in particular activities, and thus to overcome the risk of failure. More radically, Velzquez' portraits of dwarfs and the mentally disabled are argued to be expressive of dignity, not by finding a positive representation of the sitter's dignity, or to find scales of activities by which they can be positively assessed, but rather by grounding their dignity, negatively, in a protest against indignity and humiliation. Drawing on Honneth's analysis of dignity in terms of a theory of recognition, it is argued that the indignity of the court dwarf lies in the fracturing of their communication with the rest of society. The task of repairing that fractured communication is achieved, not by representing a dignified ideal, but rather by drawing attention to the prejudices that serve to exclude the humiliated from full participation in society. In conclusion, it is suggested that the conceptualisation and representation of the elderly today finds effective exemplars in Velzquez' portraits of court dwarfs, rather than in his portraits of the elderly. (shrink)
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)
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)
This paper is a revised and extended version of a keynote contribution to a recent conference on Cognitive Informatics. It offers a brief summary of some of the core concerns of other contributions to the conference, highlighting the range of issues under discussion; and argues that many of the central concepts and preoccupations of cognitive informatics as understood by participants--and others in the general field of computation--rely on ill-founded realist assumptions, and what has been termed the functionalist view of (...) class='Hi'>representation. Even if such ideas--albeit in a revised form -- can be defended, there must be a more extensive engagement with the literature and issues outside the confines of the computing and computational orthodoxy. (shrink)
The combined use of computers and telecommunications and the latest evolution in the field of Artificial Intelligence brought along new ways of contracting and of expressing will and declarations. The question is, how far we can go in considering computer intelligence and autonomy, how can we legally deal with a new form of electronic behaviour capable of autonomous action? In the field of contracting, through Intelligent Electronic Agents, there is an imperious need of analysing the question of expression of consent, (...) and two main possibilities have been proposed: considering electronic devices as mere machines or tools, or considering electronic devices as legal persons. Another possibility that has been frequently mentioned consists in the application of the rules of agency to electronic transactions. Meanwhile, the question remains: would it possible, under a Civil Law framework, to apply the notions of “legal personhood” and “representation” to electronic agents? It is obvious that existing legal norms are not fit for such an endeavouring challenge. Yet, the virtual world exists and it requires a new but realistic legal approach on software agents, in order to enhance the use of electronic commerce in a global world. (shrink)
Representation is more than a matter of elections and parties. This book offers a radical new perspective on the subject. Representation, it argues, is all around us, a dynamic practise across societies rather than simply a fixed feature of government. At the heart of the argument is the straightforward but versatile notion of the representative claim. People claim to speak or stand for others in multiple, shifting, and surprising patterns. At the same time they offer images (...) of their constituents and audiences as artists paint portraits. Who can speak for and about us in this volatile world of representations? Which representative claims can have democratic legitimacy? The Representative Claim is set to transform our core assumptions about what representation is and can be. At a time when political representation is widely believed to be in crisis, the book provides a timely and critical corrective to conventional wisdom on the present and potential future of representative democracy. (shrink)
Government, the systematic exercise of command by some over others backed by the allegedly legitimate use of violence, requires justification. All government is predicated upon a distinction between rulers and ruled. Who should occupy the position of ruler and who the position of the ruled is a perennial problem. In thecontemporary world, representative democracy is the only plausible contender for the role of justified government. The key to the justification and popularacceptance of democracy as a (or (...) the) legitimate form of government is the idea of representation, the idea being that in a representative democracy, the people,in some way, rule themselves and thus bridge the gap between the ruler and ruled. However, if a satisfactory account of representation is not forthcoming, thejustificatory status of representative democracy becomes problematic. (shrink)
This essay addresses ethical aspects of the design and use of virtual reality (VR) systems, focusing on the behavioral options made available in such systems and the manner in which reality is represented or simulated in them. An assessment is made of the morality of immoral behavior in virtual reality, and of the virtual modeling of such behavior. Thereafter, the ethical aspects of misrepresentation and biased representation in VR applications are discussed.
There is ongoing controversy as to whether the genome is a representing system (Sterelny K., <span class='Hi'>Smith</span> K.C. and Dickson M. 1996. Biol. Philos. 11: 377–403; Griffiths P.E. 2001. Philos. Sci. 68: 394–412). Although it is widely recognised that DNA carries information, both correlating with and coding for various outcomes, neither of these implies that the genome has semantic properties like correctness or satisfaction conditions (Godfrey-<span class='Hi'>Smith</span> P. 2002. In: Wolenski J. and Kajania-Placek K. (eds), In the Scope of Logic, (...) Methodology, and the Philosophy of Sciences, Vol. II. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 387–400). Here a modified version of teleosemantics is applied to the genome to show that it does indeed have semantic properties – there is representation in the genome. The account differs in three respects from previous attempts to apply teleosemantics to genes. It emphasises the role of the consumer of representations (in addition to their mode of production). It rejects the standard assumption that genetic representation can be used to explain the course of an organism’s development. And it identifies the explanatory role played by representational properties of the genome. A striking consequence of this account is that other inheritance systems could also be representational. Thus, a version of the parity thesis is accepted (Griffiths P.E. 2001. Philos. Sci. 68: 394–412). However, the criteria for being an inheritance system are demanding, so semantic properties are not ubiquitous. (shrink)
In Part I we saw that the works of Helmholtz, Holder, Campbell and Stevens contain the main ingredients for the analysis of the conditions which make (fundamental) measurement possible, but, so to speak, that what is lacking in the work of the first three is to be found in the work of the last, and vice versa. The first tradition focuses on the conditions that an empirical qualitative system must satisfy in order to be numerically representable, but pays no (...) attention to the relation between possible different representations. The second tradition focuses on the study of scale types and the mathematical properties of the transformations that characterize the scales, but says nothing about the empirical facts these scales represent and the nature of such representation. Then, these two lines of research need to be appropriately integrated. In this Part II, we shall see how this integration is brought about in the foundational work of Suppes, the extensions and modifications which are generated around this work and the mature theory which results from all of this. (shrink)
When sharing a task with another person that requires turn taking, as in doubles games of table tennis, performance on the shared task is similar to performing the whole task alone. This has been taken to indicate that humans co-represent their partner’s task share, as if it were their own. Task co-representation allows prediction of the other’s responses when it is the other’s turn, and leads to response conflict in joint interference tasks. However, data from our lab cast doubt (...) on the view that task co-representation and resulting response conflict are the only or even primary source of effects observed in task sharing. Recent findings furthermore suggest another potential source of interference in joint task performance that has been neglected so far: Self-other discrimination and conflict related to agent identification (i.e., determining whether it is “my” or the other’s turn). Based on these findings we propose that participants might not always co-represent what their partner is supposed to do, but instead co-represent that another agent is responsible for part of the task, and when it is his turn. We call this account the actor co-representation account. (shrink)
Dienes & Perner's target article constitutes a significant advance in thinking about implicit knowledge. However, it largely neglects processing details and thus the time scale of mental states realizing propositional attitudes. Considering real-time processing raises questions about the possible brevity of implicit representation, the nature of processes that generate explicit knowledge, and the points of view from which knowledge may be represented. Understanding the propositional attitude analysis in terms of momentary mental states points the way toward answering these questions.
The posterior parietal cortex and frontal eye field contain maps of visual salience on which the decision to choose a saccade may be based. However, an averaging express saccade is not represented by a victorious unimodal representation in the superior colliculus. Normalization as described by Findlay & Walker is not necessary for the generation of saccades.
In this paper we provide a formal analysis of the idea of normative co-ordination. We argue that this idea is based on the assumption that agents can achieve flexible co-ordination by conferring normative positions to other agents. These positions include duties, permissions, and powers. In particular, we explain the idea of declarative power, which consists in the capacity of the power-holder of creating normative positions, involving other agents, simply by proclaiming such positions. In addition, we account also for the concepts (...) of representation, namely the representatives capacity of acting in the name of his principal, and of mandate, which is the mandatees duty to act as the mandator has requested. Finally, we show how the framework can be applied to represent the contract-net protocol. Some brief remarks on future research and applications conclude this contribution. (shrink)
Almost all representations have both distributed and localist aspects, depending upon what properties of the data are being considered. With noisy data, features represented in a localist way can be detected very efficiently, and in binary representations they can be counted more efficiently than those represented in a distributed way. Brains operate in noisy environments, so the localist representation of behaviourally important events is advantageous, and fits what has been found experimentally. Distributed representations require more neurons to perform as (...) efficiently, but they do have greater versatility. (shrink)
Emergence seems necessary for any naturalistic account of the world — none of our familiar world existed at the time of the Big Bang, and it does now — and normative emergence is necessary for any naturalistic account of biology and mind — mental phenomena, such as representation, learning, rationality, and so on, are normative. But Jaegwon Kim’s argument appears to render causally efficacious emergence impossible, and Hume’s argument appears to render normative emergence impossible, and, in its general form, (...) it precludes any emergence at all. I argue that both of these barriers can be overcome, and, in fact, that they each constitute reductios of their respective underlying presuppositions. In particular, causally efficacious ontological emergence can be modeled, but only within a process metaphysics, thus avoiding Kim’s argument, and by making use of non-abbreviatory forms of definition, thus avoiding Hume’s argument. I illustrate these points with models of the emergent nature of normative function and of representation. (shrink)
George Mason University, USA It has been suggested that the production of public goods through a government involves a circularity problem. Since government itself is a public good, how can we use government to produce other public goods? Several solutions to this supposed circularity are offered. Government is a unique kind of public good with some potentially self-generating and self-supporting features. The public goods theory of government remains intact, and this enterprise helps shed some light (...) on the special features of government. Key Words: public goods theory of the state free riders circularity problem. (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)
This paper critically reviews Philip Kitcher's most recent epistemology of science, real realism . I argue that this view is unstable under different understandings of the term 'representation', and that the arguments offered for the position are either unsound or invalid depending on the understanding employed. Suitably modified those arguments are however convincing in favor of a deflationary version of real realism, which I refer to as the bare view . The bare view accepts Kitcher's Galilean strategy, and the (...) ensuing commitment to the existence of unobservables; but it does not trade on a correspondence or copy theory of representation. So the bare view, unlike real realism, does not entail that our representations match reality even approximately. (shrink)
We report the results of three experiments designed to assess the role of suppositions in human reasoning. Theories of reasoning based on formal rules propose that the ability to make suppositions is central to deductive reasoning. Our first experiment compared two types of problem that could be solved by a suppositional strategy. Our results showed no difference in difficulty between problems requiring affirmative or negative suppositions and very low logical solution rates throughout. Further analysis of the error data showed a (...) pattern of responses, which suggested that participants reason from a superficial representation of the premises in these arguments and this drives their choice of conclusion. Our second experiment employed a different set of suppositional problems but with extremely similar proofs in terms of the rules applied and number of inferential steps required. As predicted by our interpretation of reasoning strategies employed in Experiment 1, logical performance was very much higher on these problems. Our third experiment showed that problems that could be solved by constructing an initial representation of the premises were easier than problems in which this representation was not sufficient. This effect was independent of the suppositional structure of the problems. We discuss the implications of this research for theories of reasoning based on mental models and inference rules. (shrink)
The act of `setting the law' enjoys a central position in Kelsen's theory of authority. His analysis of this act criticizes, amongst others, the assumption of natural-law doctrines that norms are objective when they duplicate a content given directly to cognition and independently of the act whereby the norm is enacted. Correctly, Kelsen attacks the concept of representation underlying this assumption as an example of metaphysical dualism and a copy theory of knowledge. Does, then, an alternative understanding of authority (...) require scrapping representation from a theory of positive law? Or does it require interpreting representation differently? Following the second path, this paper reconstructs the act of setting the law in terms of the critical concept of representation developed by Ernst Cassirer and suggests how, thus reconstructed, the structure of this act can account for the law's authority and its contingency. (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 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)
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.
The degree to which information is encoded explicitly in a representation is related to the computational cost of recovering or using the information. Knowledge that is implicit in a system need not be represented at all, even implicitly, if the cost of recovering it is prohibitive.
[Working paper] Pogge (2008) and Wenar (2008) have recently argued that we are responsible for the persistence of the so-called "resource curse". But their analyses are limited in important ways. I trace these limitations to their undue focus on the ways in which the international rules governing resource transactions undermine government accountability. To overcome the shortcomings of Pogge's and Wenar's analyses, I propose a normative framework organized around the social value of government responsiveness and discuss the implications of (...) adopting this framework for future normative assessment of the resource curse and our relationships to it. (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.
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)
Information and representation are thought to be intimately related. Representation, in fact, is commonly considered to be a special kind of information. It must be a _special_ kind, because otherwise all of the myriad instances of informational relationships in the universe would be representational -- some restrictions must be placed on informational relationships in order to refine the vast set into those that are truly representational. I will argue that information in this general sense is important to genuine (...) agents, but that it is a blind alley with regard to the attempt to understand representation. On the other hand, I will also argue that a different, quite non-standard, form of information is central to genuine representation. First I turn to some of the reasons why information as usually considered is the wrong category for understanding representation; second to an alternative model of representation -- one that is naturally emergent in autonomous agents, and that does involve information, but not in any standard form; and third I return to standard notions of informational relationships and show what they are in fact useful for. (shrink)
The introduction of connectionist or parallel distributed processing (PDP) systems to model cognitive functions has raised the question of the possible relations between these models and traditional information processing models which employ rules to manipulate representations. After presenting a brief account of PDP models and two ways in which they are commonly interpreted by those seeking to use them to explain cognitive functions, I present two ways one might relate these models to traditional information processing models and so not totally (...) repudiate the tradition of modelling cognition through systems of rules and representations. The proposal that seems most promising is that PDP-type structures might provide the underlying framework in which a rule and representation model might be implemented. To show how one might pursue such a strategy, I discuss recent research by Barsalou on the instability of concepts and show how that might be accounted for in a system whose microstructure had a PDP architecture. I also outline how adopting a multi-leveled view of the mind, where on one level the mind employed a PDP-type system and at another level constituted a rule processing system, would allow researchers to relocate some problems which seemed difficult to explain at one level, such as the capacity for concept learning, to another level where it could be handled in a straightforward manner. (shrink)
This paper examines the nomic covariationist strategy of using idealization to define representation. While the literature has focused upon the possibility of defining ideal conditions for perception, I argue that nomic covariationist appeals to idealization are pseudoscientific and contrary to a foundational and empirically well-supported methodological presupposition in cognitive science. Moreover, one major figure in this camp fails to come to grips with its role and its problems in mainstream science. Thus he forwards a false dichotomy of the sciences (...) and treats idealization as a blank check written by scientists on an unknown bank. Finally, I consider and reject alternative formulations of the nomic covariationist's idealization strategy. (shrink)
The paper articulates a puzzle that consists in the prima facie incompatibility between three widely accepted theses. The first thesis is, roughly, that there are intrinsically self-representational thoughts. The second thesis is, roughly, that there is a particular causal constraint on mental representation. The third thesis is, roughly, that nothing causes itself. In this paper, the theses are articulated in a less rough manner with the occurrence of the puzzle as a result. Finally, a number of solution strategies are (...) considered, and a preliminary diagnosis is provided. (shrink)
The crisis of representation and the academic study of religion -- Phenomenology, consciousness, essence : critical surveys of the history of the study of religion -- Individual men in their solitude? : a critique of William James' individualistic approach to religion in the varieties of religious experience -- The concept of essence-and-manifestation in the history of the study of religion -- The concept of development in continental geisteswissenschaft and religionswissenshaft : before and after Darwin -- The transcendental pretense and (...) Eliade's humanist hermeneutics towards a Nietzschean semiotics of religion -- Post-structural (dis)placements : genealogy, religious studies, and the problematics of historical identity -- Religion as the structuring of asymmetrical relations : towards a definition -- Towards a semiotic theory of religion. (shrink)
The New Thinking contained in this volume rejects an Evolutionary Psychology that is committed to innate domain-specific psychological mechanisms: gene-based adaptations that are unlearnt, developmentally fixed and culturally universal. But the New Thinking does not simply deny the importance of innate psychological traits. The problem runs deeper: the concept of innateness is not suited to distinguishing between the two positions. That points to a more serious problem with the concept of innateness as it is applied to human psychological phenotypes. This (...) paper argues that the features of recent human evolution highlighted by the New Thinking imply that the concept of inherited representation, set out here, is a better tool for theorising about human cognitive evolution. (shrink)
This study examines the relationship between thought and language by considering the views of Kant and the later Wittgenstein along with many strands of contemporary debate in the area of mental content. Building on an analysis of the nature of concepts and conceptions of objects, Gillett provides an account of psychological explanation and the subject of experience, offers a novel perspective on mental representation and linguistic meaning, looks at the difficult topics of cognitive roles and singular thought, and concludes (...) with an outline of certain considerations relevant to skeptical arguments and the nature of perception. The resulting synthesis demonstrates interesting correlations with current work in cognitive and developmental psychology, and is directly relevant to continuing work in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophical psychology. (shrink)