Representation

Edited by Zoe Drayson (University of California, Davis)
About this topic
Summary In representation, one thing stands in for, designates, or is about something else. The relation between the mind and the world has long been characterised as representational: Aristotle, the Scholastics, Descartes, and Locke held some form of representational theory of mind, and Brentano’s concept of intentionality is often understood in representational terms. Contemporary naturalistic philosophy of mind has focused on explaining how the semantic property of representing something can play a causal role in producing behaviour. This project was aided by the development of computational theory in the twentieth century, which showed how physically-implemented states could participate in causal processes preserving the semantic interpretation of those states. These ‘vehicles’ of representation are the theoretical posits of cognitive science. Key debates concern what sorts of things can be representations (e.g. symbols, activation patterns), the format in which representations bear their contents (e.g. linguistically, pictorially), and the legitimacy of representation-talk beyond the realm of traditional mental states.
Key works The first attempt at a theory of representation is probably Peirce’s theory of signs (Peirce 1940). Contemporary approaches to representation such as Fodor 1975, Millikan 1984, and Dretske 1988 tend to incorporate both an account of representation and a theory of how representations acquire their contents. Not all theories of representation aim to underwrite the propositional attitudes of folk-psychology: Cummins 1989 focuses on representation as an explanatory posit in computational cognitive science; similar approaches are the subject of a dialogue between Daniel Dennett, Andy Clark and others in Clapin 2002. Haugeland 1998 looks at the distinctions between several ‘representational genera’ such as iconic versus linguistic, discrete versus distributed. Egan 1995 explores the relation between representation, computation, and cognition, and Ramsey 2007 questions the role of representation in current theories of cognition.
Introductions Crane 2003 is an accessible introduction to mental representation. Stich & Warfield 1994 is a collection of articles on the topic including the introductory essay Stich 1992. Pitt 2008 is an encyclopedia entry on mental representation, and Ryder 2009 is an overview of representation in the philosophy of psychology.
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  1. Phenomenal Consciousness from the Prospect of Representational Theory of Mind.Seyed Mohammad Hosseini & Kambiz Badee - 2013 - Falsafe 41 (1):85-104.
    One of the most important questions in epistemology is the nonphysical realities, like phenomenal consciousness. The main claim of physicalism is real explanations of events and properties are only physical explanations and representationalists are agree too. Thus these realities can explained by the rule of biases of physical and objective events.On the other hand , phenomenalists maintain that conscious experiences and aspect of subjectivity of phenomenal consciousness are not. In this article I attempt formulated the problem of phenomenal consciousness based (...)
  2. Review: Truth in Perspective: Recent Issues in Logic, Representation and Ontology. [REVIEW]Daniel Nolan - 2001 - Studia Logica 68 (3):404-407.
  3. How the Brain Makes Up the Mind: A Heuristic Approach to the Hard Problem of Consciousness.Dan Bruiger - manuscript
    A solution to the “hard problem” requires taking the point of view of the organism and its sub- agents. The organism constructs phenomenality through acts of fiat, much as we create meaning in language, through the use of symbols that are assigned meaning in the context of an embodied evolutionary history. Phenomenality is a virtual representation, made to itself by an executive agent (the conscious self), which is tasked with monitoring the state of the organism and its environment, planning future (...)
  4. Arguing About Representation.Mark Rowlands - 2017 - Synthese 194 (11):4215-4232.
    The question of whether cognition requires representations has engendered heated discussion during the last two decades. I shall argue that the question is, in all likelihood, a spurious one. There may or may not be a fact of the matter concerning whether a given item qualifies as a representation. However, even if there is, attempts to establish whether cognition requires representation have neither practical nor theoretical utility.
  5. Les Représentations Sociales: Perspectives Dialectiques.G. Rocher - 2002 - Social Science Information 41 (1):83-99.
  6. Mental Representations and the Dynamic Theory of Mind.Cristinel Ungureanu - 2012 - Logos and Episteme 3 (3):489-502.
    In this paper I will investigate the possibility of defending the concept of ‘mental representation’ against certain contemporary critiques. Some authors, likeAnthony Chemero, argue that it is possible to explain offline actions with dynamic concepts. Hence, the dynamic discourse preempts the representational one. I doubt that this is a recommendable strategy. A form of representation is necessary, though one which is different from the classical one. Instead of eliminating the concept of representation or of splitting cognitive explanation in two separate (...)
  7. Active Viewership and Ethical Representation: Responsible Spectatorship in Alfredo Jaar’s “Real Pictures” and Gil Courtemanche’s Un Dimanche À la Piscine À Kigali.Angela Ritter - 2016 - Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy 24 (1):205-223.
    In its discussion of Gil Courtemanche’s Un dimanche à la piscine à Kigali and Alfredo Jaar’s installation of “Real Pictures,” both of which are representations of the Rwandan Genocide, this analysis contributes to a larger discussion on ethical representations of violence. Generally the discussion of the ethics of representation analyzes the ways in which the author or artist portrays the violent events. It focuses on the importance of the historical and political context when describing the events, as well as on (...)
  8. Representation and Explanation.Jennifer Wang - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):462-468.
  9. Representations, Targets, and Attitudes.Frances Egan & Robert Cummins - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (1):118.
  10. Aboutness: Towards Foundations for the Information Artifact Ontology.Werner Ceusters & Barry Smith - 2015 - In Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Biomedical Ontology (ICBO). CEUR vol. 1515. pp. 1-5.
    The Information Artifact Ontology (IAO) was created to serve as a domain‐neutral resource for the representation of types of information content entities (ICEs) such as documents, data‐bases, and digital im‐ages. We identify a series of problems with the current version of the IAO and suggest solutions designed to advance our understanding of the relations between ICEs and associated cognitive representations in the minds of human subjects. This requires embedding IAO in a larger framework of ontologies, including most importantly the Mental (...)
  11. [Recensão a] GUHA, Amal, Compréhension de Textes Et Représentation de la Causalité. La Représentation des Relations Causales Dans le Cadre D´Une Sémantique Référentialiste En Psychologie Cognitive.Amândio Coxito - 2013 - Revista Filosófica de Coimbra 22 (43):295-301.
  12. Hyacinth: Regarding Dominic.James McGonigal - 1996 - New Blackfriars 77 (906):357-357.
  13. St. Dominic and the Rosary.Stanislaus M. Hogan - 1939 - New Blackfriars 20 (233):580-592.
  14. Representation.Bernard Kelly - 1937 - New Blackfriars 18 (205):245-247.
  15. St. Dominic.Hilary Pepler - 1930 - New Blackfriars 11 (125):461-470.
  16. St. Dominic.John O'Connor - 1929 - New Blackfriars 10 (113):1259-1261.
  17. A Distributed Representation of Internal Time.Marc W. Howard, Karthik H. Shankar, William R. Aue & Amy H. Criss - 2015 - Psychological Review 122 (1):24-53.
  18. Mesure de la Clart? De Quelques Representations Sensorielles.J. M. Trout - 1897 - Psychological Review 4 (3):332-335.
  19. Convolution and Modal Representations in Thagard and Stewart’s Neural Theory of Creativity: A Critical Analysis.Jean-Frédéric de Pasquale & Pierre Poirier - 2016 - Synthese 193 (5):1535-1560.
    According to Thagard and Stewart :1–33, 2011), creativity results from the combination of neural representations, and combination results from convolution, an operation on vectors defined in the holographic reduced representation framework. They use these ideas to understand creativity as it occurs in many domains, and in particular in science. We argue that, because of its algebraic properties, convolution alone is ill-suited to the role proposed by Thagard and Stewart. The semantic pointer concept allows us to see how we can apply (...)
  20. Polytopes as Vehicles of Informational Content in Feedforward Neural Networks.Feraz Azhar - unknown
    Localizing content in neural networks provides a bridge to understanding the way in which the brain stores and processes information. In this paper, I propose the existence of polytopes in the state space of the hidden layer of feedforward neural networks as vehicles of content. I analyze these geometrical structures from an information-theoretic point of view, invoking mutual information to help define the content stored within them. I establish how this proposal addresses the problem of misclassification, and provide a novel (...)
  21. Semiotic Symbols and the Missing Theory of Thinking.Robert Clowes - 2007 - Interaction Studiesinteraction Studies Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems 8 (1):105-124.
  22. Naturoids: From Representations to Concrete Realizations.Massimo Negrotti - 2004 - Pragmatics and Cognitionpragmatics and Cognition 12 (1):37-56.
  23. Varieties of Representation.Javier Kalhat - 2016 - Philosophy 91 (1):15-37.
    The concept of representation has a vast and highly diverse extension. In this paper I distinguish four kinds of representation, viz. proxy, make-believe, and intentional representation, as well as representation simpliciter. The bulk of the paper is devoted to intentional representation. I argue that the relation of intentional representation is non-reflexive, non-symmetrical, and non-transitive. I articulate a fundamental distinction between two aspects of the content of intentional representations, viz. subject and predicative content. Finally, I qualify and defend the distinction between (...)
  24. Meaning Without Representation: Essays on Truth, Expression, Normativity, and Naturalism.Steven Gross, Nicholas Tebben & Michael Williams (eds.) - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
    Much contemporary thinking about language is animated by the idea that the core function of language is to represent how the world is and that therefore the notion of representation should play a fundamental explanatory role in any explanation of language and language use. The chapters in this volume explore various ways this idea may be challenged as well as obstacles to developing various forms of anti- representationalism. Particular attention is given to deflationary accounts of truth, the role of language (...)
  25. On Representation.Catherine Porter (ed.) - 2002 - Stanford University Press.
    At his death in 1992, the eminent philosopher, critic, and theorist Louis Marin left, in addition to a dozen influential books, a corpus of some three hundred articles and essays published in journals and anthologies. A collection of twenty-two essays that appeared between 1971 and 1992, this book interrogates the theory and practice of representation as it is carried out by both linguistic and graphic signs, and thus the complex relation between language and image, between perception and conception. The essays (...)
  26. Representation Reconsidered.William Ramsey - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
    Cognitive representation is the single most important explanatory notion in the sciences of the mind and has served as the cornerstone for the so-called 'cognitive revolution'. This book critically examines the ways in which philosophers and cognitive scientists appeal to representations in their theories, and argues that there is considerable confusion about the nature of representational states. This has led to an excessive over-application of the notion - especially in many of the fresher theories in computational neuroscience. Representation Reconsidered shows (...)
  27. Representation in Digital Systems.Vincent C. Müller - 2008 - In Adam Briggle, Katinka Waelbers & Brey Philip (eds.), Current Issues in Computing and Philosophy. IOS Press. pp. 116-121.
    Cognition is commonly taken to be computational manipulation of representations. These representations are assumed to be digital, but it is not usually specified what that means and what relevance it has for the theory. I propose a specification for being a digital state in a digital system, especially a digital computational system. The specification shows that identification of digital states requires functional directedness, either for someone or for the system of which it is a part. In the case or digital (...)
  28. Philosophy of Mental Representation.Hugh Clapin (ed.) - 2002 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Five leading figures in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science debate the central topic of mental representation. Each author's contribution is specially written for this volume, and then collectively discussed by the others. The editor frames the discussions and provides a way into the debates for new readers. An exciting feature of this collection is the transcribed discussion among all the contributors following each exchange. This is the latest thinking on mental representation carefully and critically analysed by the leading (...)
  29. Meaning and Mental Representations.Umberto Eco, Marco Santambrogio & Patrizia Violi (eds.) - 1988 - Indiana University Press.
    "... an excellent collection... " —Journal of Language & Social Psychology An important collection of original essays by well-known scholars debating the questions of logical versus psychologically-based interpretations of language.
  30. Using Proper Names as Intermediaries Between Labelled Entity Representations.Hans Kamp - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (2):263-312.
    This paper studies the uses of proper names within a communication-theoretic setting, looking at both the conditions that govern the use of a name by a speaker and those involved in the correct interpretation of the name by her audience. The setting in which these conditions are investigated is provided by an extension of Discourse Representation Theory, MSDRT, in which mental states are represented as combinations of propositional attitudes and entity representations . The first half of the paper presents the (...)
  31. Representation and Distortion: On the Construction of Rationality and Irrationality in Early Modern Modes of Representation.Dieter Mersch - 2008 - In Jan Lazardzig, Ludger Schwarte & Helmar Schramm (eds.), Theatrum Scientiarum - English Edition, Volume 2, Instruments in Art and Science: On the Architectonics of Cultural Boundaries in the 17th Century. De Gruyter. pp. 20-37.
  32. Selfhood as Self Representation.Kenneth Taylor - manuscript
    This essay In this essay develops and defends the view that a “self “ is nothing but a creature that bears the property of selfhood, where bearing selfhood is, in turn, nothing but having the capacity to deploy self-representations. Self-representations, it is argued, are very special things. They are distinguished from other sorts of representations,not by what they represent – mysterious inner entities called selves, say -- but by how they represent what they represent. A self-representation represents nothing but a (...)
  33. Theories of Representation.James Kinch - 1994
  34. Representation Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices.Stuart Hall - 1997
  35. Representation as Function-Hiding.Christopher James Thornton - 1993 - School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences, University of Sussex.
  36. Concepts and Symbols: The Semantics and Syntax of Mental Representation.Andrew W. Pessin - 1993 - Dissertation, Columbia University
    This study focuses on concepts and, ultimately, their possible implementation in brains. Especially salient is analysis of Jerry Fodor's work. The view of concepts found therein is one where many of both are "simple": to be ascribed or to token most concepts doesn't require being ascribed or tokening any other concepts, and most symbols lack "parts" which are themselves symbols. This is, I think, a very popular, and mistaken, view. ;In chapter 1, I argue that Fodor's theory of content is, (...)
  37. Tools, Symbols, and Other Selves: I, II.Alfred Duhrssen - 1957 - Review of Metaphysics 11:411.
  38. Seiki Akama, Ed., Logic, Language and Computation. [REVIEW]Barbara Abbott - 1998 - Philosophy in Review 18:313-314.
  39. Isomorphism in Mind.Virgil Gale Whitmyer - 2000 - Dissertation, The University of Connecticut
    Many models of the mind, both philosophical and psychological, invoke the mathematician's concept of isomorphism. Various theories posit that representation consists in isomorphism between a representation and that which it represents, that spatially distributed sensory states are realized in brain states to which they are isomorphic, or that psychological state spaces are realized in neural state spaces to which they are isomorphic. Among these theories, isomorphism is sometimes used as a methodological guide or constraint, and other times it plays a (...)
  40. The Duplicity of Representation: A Critique.Kerstin Behnke - 1997 - Dissertation, Stanford University
    The dissertation researches the conditions of possibility of representation both in terms of original theoretical considerations of the nature of the mathematical and the function of projection inspired by Martin Heidegger and through close readings of some of his and other representative literary, philosophical, and critical French and German texts on the topic ranging from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. ;The thesis demonstrates that representation of objects is not grounded in a principle of likeness such as resemblance or structural (...)
  41. Foundations of Mental Representation.Timothy Allan Schroeder - 1998 - Dissertation, Stanford University
    There is a familiar if disputed theory of mental representations which holds that to be a mental representation is to be a structure whose states are supposed to stand in correspondence to states of the world . The present work defends this so-called teleosemantic approach to mental representations against Stampian and Fodorian approaches, and develops a novel approach to the normativity underlying mental representation. It is argued that, while appealing to evolutionary functions in attributing normativity to neural structures results in (...)
  42. The Meaning of Some Ancient Symbols. Grey - 1924 - Hibbert Journal 23:107.
  43. Situated Representation: Solving the Handcoding Problem with Emergent Structured Representation.Clayton Thomas Morrison - 1998 - Dissertation, State University of New York at Binghamton
    Cognitive science and artificial intelligence currently lack a robust account of the emergence and change of structured representation. This is a result of limiting assumptions about the nature of representation: what makes a representation about something else. These limiting assumptions are reflected in methodological approaches to the modelling of cognitive agents that require any representational components of the agent to be placed in the model--handcoded--by the creator of the model. This handcoding precludes the possibility of an explanation of representation emergence (...)
  44. Cognitive Representation of the Role of the Profession as a Determinant of Psychical Features' Assessment.Rafal Gorczyca - 1982 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 30 (4):30.
  45. Representational Content in Cognitive Psychology.Lawrence Andrew Shapiro - 1992 - Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
    Against Stich's recommendation that we purge cognitive psychology of content I argue that ascriptions of representational content are both scientifically legitimate and essential to the continuing success of the cognitive sciences. Yet it is not the ordinary folk notion of content that informs many of these sciences, e.g. experimental cognitive psychology, cognitive ethology, and theory of perception. I develop an approach to representation that builds upon a Dretske-style analysis of representation. However, I reject Dretske's requirement that representational states must covary (...)
  46. Semantic Properties and the Computational Model of Mind.Randall Kirk Campbell - 1990 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
    Much of the contemporary research in cognitive psychology presupposes an information processing or computational model of human cognitive processes. On this view cognitive states are characterized as relations to internally inscribed representations. Jerry Fodor and Zenon Pylyshyn have argued that those representations have a combinatorial syntax and a compositional semantics, and Fodor has argued that the individuation of representations according to semantic type corresponds, roughly, to individuation according to syntactic type. ;I investigate whether this computational model requires us to appeal, (...)
  47. Descartes's Representation of the Self.Amy Morgan Schmitter - 1993 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    While Descartes's status as a "representationalist" is often a subject of vehement debate, what exactly he means by "representation" is not. I look to Descartes's early work to show that he first conceives of representation through signification, in which the sign and the signified are isomorphic; on this view, relations of representation can be arbitrary and are to be distinguished from relations of resemblance. I then examine images to show the possibility of an image constructing a relation to its viewer, (...)
  48. Distributed Representation.Timothy John van Gelder - 1989 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    An important part of the picture of mind developing with the recently resurgent connectionist paradigm in cognitive science is a radical view of mental representation. On this view, knowledge is represented in distributed form in patterns of synaptic strengths and neural activations in the brain. But what exactly is distribution? Surprisingly, this question has never been given a general and systematic answer, yet the issue is at the heart of many current debates, such as the proper characterization and relative merits (...)
  49. La Représentation de l'Espacechez l'Enfant.Jean Piaget & Bärbel Inhelder - 1948 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 4 (4):440-441.
  50. Representation and Behavior.Fred Keijzer - 2004 - Mind 113 (451):555-559.
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