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Profile: Whit Schonbein (University of New Mexico)
  1. Whit Schonbein (2014). Varieties of Analog and Digital Representation. Minds and Machines 24 (4):415-438.
    The ‘received view’ of the analog–digital distinction holds that analog representations are continuous while digital representations are discrete. In this paper I first provide support for the received view by showing how it (1) emerges from the theory of computation, and (2) explains engineering practices. Second, I critically assess several recently offered alternatives, arguing that to the degree they are justified they demonstrate not that the received view is incorrect, but rather that distinct senses of the terms have become entrenched (...)
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  2. Whit Schonbein (2012). The Linguistic Subversion of Mental Representation. Minds and Machines 22 (3):235-262.
    Embedded and embodied approaches to cognition urge that (1) complicated internal representations may be avoided by letting features of the environment drive behavior, and (2) environmental structures can play an enabling role in cognition, allowing prior cognitive processes to solve novel tasks. Such approaches are thus in a natural position to oppose the ‘thesis of linguistic structuring’: The claim that the ability to use language results in a wholesale recapitulation of linguistic structure in onboard mental representation. Prominent examples of researchers (...)
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  3. Whit Schonbein (2010). Can Computational Simulations of Language Emergence Support a 'Use' Theory of Meaning? Philosophical Psychology 23 (1):59-74.
    Some researchers claim that simulations of the emergence of communication in populations of autonomous agents provide empirical support for 'use' theories of meaning. I argue that this claim faces at least two major challenges. First, the empirical adequacy of such simulations must be justified, or the inference from simulation results to real-world linguistic behavior must be dropped; and second, the proffered simulations are in fact compatible with all of the competing theories of meaning surveyed, suggesting that theories of meaning are (...)
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