This category needs an editor. We encourage you to help if you are qualified.
Volunteer, or read more about what this involves.
About this topic
Summary At least since the rise of anti-representational dynamicism (including so-called radical dynamicism, embedded and embodied cognition as well as enactivism), cognitive science and AI research has been engaged with issues concerning the need for representation in modelling and explaining intelligence. Traditionally, AI research has been based on the tenet that representation is necessary for intelligence. The anti-representational dynamicist approach rejects representation (and computation) as being key to understanding cognition and intelligence. The AI without Representation category centers on the proposal that AI can do without the central ingredient of representing the world.
Key works Given the strong interrelation between this category and other leaf categories, the interested reader is referred to related works in sibling categories, such as Symbols and Symbol Systems, Implicit/Explicit Rules and Representations as well as Computation and Representation, Misc. More specific classical works on the present topic include the following ones. Varela et al 1991 offer an early introduction to embodied cognition without representation. Bearing a similar name to this category is Rodney Brooks' famous work based on his mobots in Brooks 1991. Bearing the same name is Hubert L. Dreyfus' analysis of Merleau-Ponty's Critique of Mental Representation in Dreyfus 2002. Clark & Toribio 1994 offer an early critique of the anti-representationalist approach to modelling and understanding intelligence. Shimon Edelman ms offers a nice comparative analysis of the anti-representational approach, on the one hand, and those who defend the need for representation Markman & Dietrich 2000, on the other hand. Garzon 2008 outlines a general account of cognition without the need of positing representational resources.
Introductions Bickhard 1993 Müller 2007 Wallis 2004
Related categories

40 found
  1. added 2018-02-17
    Who’s Driving the Syntactic Engine?Emiliano Boccardi - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (1):23-50.
    The property of being the implementation of a computational structure has been argued to be vacuously instantiated. This claim provides the basis for most antirealist arguments in the field of the philosophy of computation. Standard manoeuvres for combating these antirealist arguments treat the problem as endogenous to computational theories. The contrastive analysis of computational and other mathematical representations put forward here reveals that the problem should instead be treated within the more general framework of the Newman problem in structuralist accounts (...)
  2. added 2018-02-09
    Cognitive Robot Architectures: Proceedings of EUCognition 2016.Ron Chrisley, Vincent C. Müller, Yulia Sandamirskaya & Markus Vincze (eds.) - 2017 - Hamburg: CEUR-WS.
    The European Association for Cognitive Systems is the association resulting from the EUCog network, which has been active since 2006. It has ca. 1000 members and is currently chaired by Vincent C. Müller. We ran our annual conference on December 08-09 2016, kindly hosted by the Technical University of Vienna with Markus Vincze as local chair. The invited speakers were David Vernon and Paul F.M.J. Verschure. Out of the 49 submissions for the meeting, we accepted 18 a papers and 25 (...)
  3. added 2016-12-08
    Computation and Functionalism: Syntactic Theory of Mind Revisited.Murat Aydede - 2005 - In Gurol Irzik & Guven Guzeldere (eds.), Boston Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science. Springer.
    I argue that Stich's Syntactic Theory of Mind (STM) and a naturalistic narrow content functionalism run on a Language of Though story have the same exact structure. I elaborate on the argument that narrow content functionalism is either irremediably holistic in a rather destructive sense, or else doesn't have the resources for individuating contents interpersonally. So I show that, contrary to his own advertisement, Stich's STM has exactly the same problems (like holism, vagueness, observer-relativity, etc.) that he claims plague content-based (...)
  4. added 2016-12-08
    Extending the Classical View of Representation.Arthur B. Markman & Eric Dietrich - 2000 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4 (12):470-475.
    Representation is a central part of models in cognitive science, but recently this idea has come under attack. Researchers advocating perceptual symbol systems, situated action, embodied cognition, and dynamical systems have argued against central assumptions of the classical representational approach to mind. We review the core assumptions of the dominant view of representation and the four suggested alternatives. We argue that representation should remain a core part of cognitive science, but that the insights from these alternative approaches must be incorporated (...)
  5. added 2015-11-07
    Simple or Complex Bodies? Trade-Offs in Exploiting Body Morphology for Control.Matej Hoffmann & Vincent C. Müller - 2017 - In Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic & Raffaela Giovagnoli (eds.), Representation of Reality: Humans, Other Living Organisms and Intelligent Machines. Berlin: Springer. pp. 335-345.
    Engineers fine-tune the design of robot bodies for control purposes, however, a methodology or set of tools is largely absent, and optimization of morphology (shape, material properties of robot bodies, etc.) is lagging behind the development of controllers. This has become even more prominent with the advent of compliant, deformable or ”soft” bodies. These carry substantial potential regarding their exploitation for control—sometimes referred to as ”morphological computation”. In this article, we briefly review different notions of computation by physical systems and (...)
  6. added 2014-11-10
    Dispositional Versus Epistemic Causality.Paul Bohan Broderick, Johannes Lenhard & Arnold Silverberg - 2006 - Minds and Machines 16 (3).
    Noam Chomsky and Frances Egan argue that David Marr’s computational theory of vision is not intentional, claiming that the formal scientific theory does not include description of visual content. They also argue that the theory is internalist in the sense of not describing things physically external to the perceiver. They argue that these claims hold for computational theories of vision in general. Beyond theories of vision, they argue that representational content does not figure as a topic within formal computational theories (...)
  7. added 2014-05-28
    Intelligence Without Robots: A Reply to Brooks.Oren Etzioni - 1993 - AI Magazine 14 (4):7-16.
    In his recent papers, entitled Intelligence without Representation and Intelligence without Reason, Brooks argues for mobile robots as the foundation of AI research. This article argues that even if we seek to investigate complete agents in real-world environments, robotics is neither necessary nor sufficient as a basis for AI research. The article proposes real-world software environments, such as operating systems or databases, as a complementary substrate for intelligent-agent research and considers the relative advantages of software environments as test beds for (...)
  8. added 2014-04-15
    Quantification Without Variables in Connectionism.John A. Barnden & Kankanahalli Srinivas - 1996 - Minds and Machines 6 (2):173-201.
    Connectionist attention to variables has been too restricted in two ways. First, it has not exploited certain ways of doing without variables in the symbolic arena. One variable-avoidance method, that of logical combinators, is particularly well established there. Secondly, the attention has been largely restricted to variables in long-term rules embodied in connection weight patterns. However, short-lived bodies of information, such as sentence interpretations or inference products, may involve quantification. Therefore short-lived activation patterns may need to achieve the effect of (...)
  9. added 2014-03-31
    Thinking and Computing: Computers as Special Kinds of Signs. [REVIEW]James H. Fetzer - 1997 - Minds and Machines 7 (3):345-364.
    Cognitive science has been dominated by the computational conception that cognition is computation across representations. To the extent to which cognition as computation across representations is supposed to be a purposive, meaningful, algorithmic, problem-solving activity, however, computers appear to be incapable of cognition. They are devices that can facilitate computations on the basis of semantic grounding relations as special kinds of signs. Even their algorithmic, problem-solving character arises from their interpretation by human users. Strictly speaking, computers as such — apart (...)
  10. added 2014-03-31
    Doing Without Representing.Andy Clark & Josefa Toribio - 1994 - Synthese 101 (3):401-31.
    Connectionism and classicism, it generally appears, have at least this much in common: both place some notion of internal representation at the heart of a scientific study of mind. In recent years, however, a much more radical view has gained increasing popularity. This view calls into question the commitment to internal representation itself. More strikingly still, this new wave of anti-representationalism is rooted not in armchair theorizing but in practical attempts to model and understand intelligent, adaptive behavior. In this paper (...)
  11. added 2014-03-26
    Doing Without Representations Which Specify What to Do.Fred A. Keijzer - 1998 - Philosophical Psychology 11 (3):269-302.
    A discussion is going on in cognitive science about the use of representations to explain how intelligent behavior is generated. In the traditional view, an organism is thought to incorporate representations. These provide an internal model that is used by the organism to instruct the motor apparatus so that the adaptive and anticipatory characteristics of behavior come about. So-called interactionists claim that this representational specification of behavior raises more problems than it solves. In their view, the notion of internal representational (...)
  12. added 2014-03-24
    Comments on Hubert L. Dreyfus €œIntelligence Without Representation”.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2002 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1 (4):411-412.
    My main reaction to “Intelligence without representation” is to applaud. Dreyfus’s use of Merleau-Ponty is a refreshing new breeze in philosophy of psychology. About twenty or so years ago, philosophers struck an unfortunate course dictated by a pair of dubious assumptions: (1) that ordinary psychological attributions were at risk unless vindicated by some science; and (2) that the only possible scientific vindication required that intentional content be represented in the brain. Thus did representationalism become, in Jerry Fodor’s memorable phrase, “the (...)
  13. added 2014-03-24
    Doing Without Representation: Coping with Dreyfus.Jonathan Webber - 2002 - Philosophical Explorations 5 (1):82-88.
    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 (...)
  14. added 2014-03-24
    Refocusing the Question: Can There Be Skillful Coping Without Propositional Representations or Brain Representations? [REVIEW]Hubert L. Dreyfus - 2002 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1 (4):413-25.
  15. added 2014-03-18
    Intention Without Representation.Peter Wallis - 2004 - Philosophical Psychology 17 (2):209-223.
    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 (...)
  16. added 2014-03-15
    Is There a Future for AI Without Representation?Vincent C. Müller - 2007 - Minds and Machines 17 (1):101-115.
    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 (...)
  17. added 2014-03-15
    Representation and Development of Cognition.Hengwei Li & Huaxin Huang - 2007 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 2 (4):583-600.
    One of the major divergences between dynamical systems theory and symbolism lies in their views on the role of representation in cognition. From the perspective of development, the cognitive development could be divided into three levels: sensorimotor, imagery representation and linguistic representation. It is claimed that representation is not a sufficient condition though it is necessary for cognition. However, it does not mean that the authors agree with the notion of strong coupling in dynamicism that completely rejects representation.
  18. added 2014-03-09
    Explaining the Computational Mind.Marcin Miłkowski - 2013 - MIT Press.
    In the book, I argue that the mind can be explained computationally because it is itself computational—whether it engages in mental arithmetic, parses natural language, or processes the auditory signals that allow us to experience music. All these capacities arise from complex information-processing operations of the mind. By analyzing the state of the art in cognitive science, I develop an account of computational explanation used to explain the capacities in question.
  19. added 2014-03-07
    Explaining Computation Without Semantics: Keeping It Simple. [REVIEW]Nir Fresco - 2010 - Minds and Machines 20 (2):165-181.
    This paper deals with the question: how is computation best individuated? -/- 1. The semantic view of computation: computation is best individuated by its semantic properties. 2. The causal view of computation: computation is best individuated by its causal properties. 3. The functional view of computation: computation is best individuated by its functional properties. -/- Some scientific theories explain the capacities of brains by appealing to computations that they supposedly perform. The reason for that is usually that computation is individuated (...)
  20. added 2014-03-07
    A Conceptual and Computational Model of Moral Decision Making in Human and Artificial Agents.Wendell Wallach, Stan Franklin & Colin Allen - 2010 - Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (3):454-485.
    Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in general, comprehensive models of human cognition. Such models aim to explain higher-order cognitive faculties, such as deliberation and planning. Given a computational representation, the validity of these models can be tested in computer simulations such as software agents or embodied robots. The push to implement computational models of this kind has created the field of artificial general intelligence (AGI). Moral decision making is arguably one of the most challenging tasks for computational (...)
  21. added 2014-03-05
    Philosophy for the Rest of Cognitive Science.Nigel Stepp, Anthony Chemero & Michael T. Turvey - 2011 - Topics in Cognitive Science 3 (2):425-437.
    Cognitive science has always included multiple methodologies and theoretical commitments. The philosophy of cognitive science should embrace, or at least acknowledge, this diversity. Bechtel’s (2009a) proposed philosophy of cognitive science, however, applies only to representationalist and mechanist cognitive science, ignoring the substantial minority of dynamically oriented cognitive scientists. As an example of nonrepresentational, dynamical cognitive science, we describe strong anticipation as a model for circadian systems (Stepp & Turvey, 2009). We then propose a philosophy of science appropriate to nonrepresentational, dynamical (...)
  22. added 2013-10-08
    Computers, Persons, and the Chinese Room. Part 1: The Human Computer.Ricardo Restrepo - 2012 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 33 (1):27-48.
    Detractors of Searle’s Chinese Room Argument have arrived at a virtual consensus that the mental properties of the Man performing the computations stipulated by the argument are irrelevant to whether computational cognitive science is true. This paper challenges this virtual consensus to argue for the first of the two main theses of the persons reply, namely, that the mental properties of the Man are what matter. It does this by challenging many of the arguments and conceptions put forth by the (...)
  23. added 2013-10-08
    Cognitive Maps and the Language of Thought.Michael Rescorla - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):377-407.
    Fodor advocates a view of cognitive processes as computations defined over the language of thought (or Mentalese). Even among those who endorse Mentalese, considerable controversy surrounds its representational format. What semantically relevant structure should scientific psychology attribute to Mentalese symbols? Researchers commonly emphasize logical structure, akin to that displayed by predicate calculus sentences. To counteract this tendency, I discuss computational models of navigation drawn from probabilistic robotics. These models involve computations defined over cognitive maps, which have geometric rather than logical (...)
  24. added 2013-05-07
    The Embodied Embedded Character of System 1 Processing.Samuel Bellini-Leite - 2013 - Mens Sana Monographs 11 (1):239-252.
    In the last thirty years, a relatively large group of cognitive scientists have begun characterising the mind in terms of two distinct, relatively autonomous systems. To account for paradoxes in empirical results of studies mainly on reasoning, Dual Process Theories were developed. Such Dual Process Theories generally agree that System 1 is rapid, automatic, parallel, and heuristic-based and System 2 is slow, capacity-demanding, sequential, and related to consciousness. While System 2 can still be decently understood from a traditional cognitivist approach, (...)
  25. added 2012-12-18
    Intelligence Without Representation: Merleau-Ponty's Critique of Mental Representation.Hubert L. Dreyfus - 2002 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1:367-83.
  26. added 2012-02-23
    Self-Organization Takes Time Too.Iris van Rooij - 2012 - Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (1):63-71.
    Four articles in this issue of topiCS (volume 4, issue 1) argue against a computational approach in cognitive science in favor of a dynamical approach. I concur that the computational approach faces some considerable explanatory challenges. Yet the dynamicists’ proposal that cognition is self-organized seems to only go so far in addressing these challenges. Take, for instance, the hypothesis that cognitive behavior emerges when brain and body (re-)configure to satisfy task and environmental constraints. It is known that for certain systems (...)
  27. added 2012-02-23
    Representation and Dynamics.Keld Stehr Nielsen - 2010 - Philosophical Psychology 23 (6):759-773.
    In the last decade several prominent critics have charged that invocation of representations is not only not essential for cognitive science, but should be avoided. These claims have been followed by counterarguments demonstrating that the notion certainly is important in explanations of cognitive phenomena. Analyzing some important contributions to the debate, Anthony Chemero has argued that representationalists still need to explain the significance of the notion once there is an available formal account of a system and has, accordingly, challenged representationalists (...)
  28. added 2012-01-09
    Beyond the Brain - How Body and Environment Shape Animal and Human Minds. [REVIEW]Mirko Farina - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.
    Beyond the Brain: How Body and Environment Shape Animal and Human Minds is an eye-opening and thought- provoking book that sets out a much-needed contribution to the study of the relationship between animals, cognition and the environment. The volume provides remarkable new insights into how to understand animal (including human) behavior, raises interesting questions about the role of environmental affordances in the emergence of complex cognitive processes and provides the reader with a refreshing break from the wearisome excess of brain-centric (...)
  29. added 2011-08-29
    Computation Without Representation.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (2):205-241.
    The received view is that computational states are individuated at least in part by their semantic properties. I offer an alternative, according to which computational states are individuated by their functional properties. Functional properties are specified by a mechanistic explanation without appealing to any semantic properties. The primary purpose of this paper is to formulate the alternative view of computational individuation, point out that it supports a robust notion of computational explanation, and defend it on the grounds of how computational (...)
  30. added 2011-08-29
    Why Computation Need Not Be Traded Only for Internal Representation.Robert S. Stufflebeam - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):80-81.
    Although Clark & Thornton's “trading spaces” hypothesis is supposed to require trading internal representation for computation, it is not used consistently in that fashion. Not only do some of the offered computation-saving strategies turn out to be nonrepresentational, others (e.g., cultural artifacts) are external representations. Hence, C&T's hypothesis is consistent with antirepresentationalism.
  31. added 2011-06-29
    Representation Without Rules.Terence E. Horgan & John L. Tienson - 1989 - Philosophical Perspectives 17 (1):147-74.
  32. added 2011-06-06
    Semantics and the Computational Paradigm in Computational Psychology.Eric Dietrich - 1989 - Synthese 79 (April):119-41.
    There is a prevalent notion among cognitive scientists and philosophers of mind that computers are merely formal symbol manipulators, performing the actions they do solely on the basis of the syntactic properties of the symbols they manipulate. This view of computers has allowed some philosophers to divorce semantics from computational explanations. Semantic content, then, becomes something one adds to computational explanations to get psychological explanations. Other philosophers, such as Stephen Stich, have taken a stronger view, advocating doing away with semantics (...)
  33. added 2010-06-22
    Goals, No-Goals and Own Goals.Daniel C. Dennett - 1989 - Unwin Hyman.
  34. added 2008-12-31
    Critter Psychology: On the Possibility of Nonhuman Animal Folk Psychology.Kristin Andrews - 2007 - In Daniel D. Hutto & Matthew Ratcliffe (eds.), Folk Psychology Re-Assessed. Kluwer/Springer Press. pp. 191--209.
  35. added 2008-12-31
    On Reading Signs.Ruth G. Millikan - manuscript
    On Reading Signs; Some Differences between Us and The Others If there are certain kinds of signs that an animal cannot learn to interpret, that might be for any of a number of reasons. It might be, first, because the animal cannot discriminate the signs from one another. For example, although human babies learn to discriminate human speech sounds according to the phonological structures of their native languages very easily, it may be that few if any other animals are capable (...)
  36. added 2008-12-31
    Yet Another Revolution? Defusing the Dynamical System Theorists' Attack on Mental Representations.William P. Bechtel - 1996 - Presidential Address to Society of Philosophy and Psychology.
  37. added 2008-12-31
    What Might Cognition Be If Not Computation?Tim van Gelder - 1995 - Journal of Philosophy 92 (7):345-81.
  38. added 2008-12-31
    Today the Earwig, Tomorrow Man?David Kirsh - 1991 - Artificial Intelligence 47:161-184.
    A startling amount of intelligent activity can be controlled without reasoning or thought. By tuning the perceptual system to task relevant properties a creature can cope with relatively sophisticated environments without concepts. There is a limit, however, to how far a creature without concepts can go. Rod Brooks, like many ecologically oriented scientists, argues that the vast majority of intelligent behaviour is concept-free. To evaluate this position I consider what special benefits accrue to concept-using creatures. Concepts are either necessary for (...)
  39. added 2008-12-31
    Intelligence Without Representation.Rodney Brooks - 1991 - Artificial Intelligence 47:139-159.
    Artificial intelligence research has foundered on the issue of representation. When intelligence is approached in an incremental manner, with strict reliance on interfacing to the real world through perception and action, reliance on representation disappears. In this paper we outline our approach to incrementally building complete intelligent Creatures. The fundamental decomposition of the intelligent system is not into independent information processing units which must interface with each other via representations. Instead, the intelligent system is decomposed into independent and parallel activity (...)
  40. added 2008-12-31
    Cognitive Ethology.Daniel C. Dennett - 1989 - In Goals, No-Goals and Own Goals. Unwin Hyman.
    The field of Artificial Intelligence has produced so many new concepts--or at least vivid and more structured versions of old concepts--that it would be surprising if none of them turned out to be of value to students of animal behavior. Which will be most valuable? I will resist the temptation to engage in either prophecy or salesmanship; instead of attempting to answer the question: "How might Artificial Intelligence inform the study of animal behavior?" I will concentrate on the obverse: "How (...)