Representation

Edited by Zoe Drayson (University of California, Davis, Bristol University)
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. Seiki Akama, Ed., Logic, Language and Computation Reviewed By.Barbara Abbott - 1998 - Philosophy in Review 18 (5):313-314.
  2. Seiki Akama, Ed., Logic, Language and Computation. [REVIEW]Barbara Abbott - 1998 - Philosophy in Review 18:313-314.
  3. On Knowledge Representation in Belief Networks.Bruce Abramson - 1991 - In B. Bouchon-Meunier, R. R. Yager & L. A. Zadeh (eds.), Uncertainty in Knowledge Bases. Springer. pp. 86--96.
  4. Symbolic Value.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1997 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 21 (1):1-15.
  5. From Kanizsa Back to Benussi: Varieties of Intentional Reference. [REVIEW]Liliana Albertazzi - 2003 - Axiomathes 13 (3-4):239-259.
    The essay analyses the mereological structure of an act of intentional presentation, on the basis of Benussi' and Kanizsa's works. Several aspects are discussed, among which: The existence of diverse formats of representation, their eventual continuity, the presence of subjective integrations at primary levels, and the identification of phrases in the phenomenic structure of an act of presentation. It is argued that the difference between perceptual and mental presence, as elaborated by Kanizsa, proves to be a valid instrument for the (...)
  6. Can Representations Be Identical with Anything?Virgil C. Aldrich - 1981 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 41 (3):401-404.
  7. Natural Language Processing Using a Propositional Semantic Network with Structured Variables.Syed S. Ali & Stuart C. Shapiro - 1993 - Minds and Machines 3 (4):421-451.
    We describe a knowledge representation and inference formalism, based on an intensional propositional semantic network, in which variables are structures terms consisting of quantifier, type, and other information. This has three important consequences for natural language processing. First, this leads to an extended, more natural formalism whose use and representations are consistent with the use of variables in natural language in two ways: the structure of representations mirrors the structure of the language and allows re-use phenomena such as pronouns and (...)
  8. Representation, Representativeness, and Non-Representational Art.Charles Altieri - 2001 - In Ananta Charana Sukla (ed.), Art and Representation: Contributions to Contemporary Aesthetics. Praeger. pp. 243.
  9. Assessing the Contribution of Representation to Results.Karen Anderson, Jeanne Milostan & Garrison W. Cottrell - 1998 - In M. A. Gernsbacher & S. J. Derry (eds.), Proceedings of the 20th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Lawerence Erlbaum. pp. 48--53.
  10. Representation as the Representation of Experience.F. R. Ankersmit - 2000 - Metaphilosophy 31 (1-2):148-168.
    This essay deals, mainly, with the notion of representation. Representation is associated with texts and, as such, is contrasted to the true singular statement. It is argued that the relationship between the text and what the text represents can never be modeled on the relationship between a true singular statement and what the statement is true of, and, furthermore, that the former relationship is aesthetic while the latter is epistemological in nature. This aesthetic relationship between the represented and its representation (...)
  11. Notes on Symbols.R. Assagiol - 1972 - Humanitas 8 (2):161-167.
  12. Nshan, Hamakarg, Haghordaktsʻum: Hodvatsneri Zhoghovatsu Nvirvats Ēdvard Atʻayani Hishatakin.Ė Atai͡an & A. S. Abrahamyan (eds.) - 2011 - Eph Hratarakchʻutʻyun.
  13. Le Discours de la Représentation.Jacques Aumètre, Josiane Boulad Ayoub & Groupe de Recherche En Idéologie-Uqam - 1989
  14. 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 (...)
  15. Representation".Lynne Rudder Baker - unknown
    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..
  16. Animals, Representation, and Reality.Steve Baker - 2001 - Society and Animals 9 (3):189-201.
  17. Knowled-Ge Representation.J. F. Baldwin, T. P. Martin & B. W. Pilsworth - 1998 - In Enrique H. Ruspini, Piero Patrone Bonissone & Witold Pedrycz (eds.), Handbook of Fuzzy Computation. Institute of Physics.
  18. Revisiting the Mental Models Theory in Terms of Computational Models Based on Constructive Induction.Stefania Bandini, Gaetano A. Lanzarone & Alessandra Valpiani - 1998 - Philosophica 62.
  19. Transfer From Verbal-Discrimination to Paired-Associate Learning.William F. Battig, John M. Williams & John G. Williams - 1962 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 63 (3):258.
  20. Antoine Culioli: Cognition and Representation in Linguistic Theory.T. Bearth - 2001 - Pragmatics and Cognition 9 (1):135-146.
  21. Review of “Cognition and Representation in Linguistic Theory” by Antoine Culioli. [REVIEW]Thomas Bearth - 2001 - Pragmatics and Cognitionpragmatics and Cognition 9 (1):135-147.
  22. Representing Time of Day in Circadian Clocks.William Bechtel - unknown
    Positing representations and operations on them as a way of explaining behavior was one of the major innovations of the cognitive revolution. Neuroscience and biology more generally also employ representations in explaining how organisms function and coordinate their behavior with the world around them. In discussions of the nature of representation, theorists commonly differentiate between the vehicles of representation and their content—what they denote. Many contentious debates in cognitive science, such as those pitting neural network models against symbol processing accounts, (...)
  23. 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 (...)
  24. Metarepresentation and Human Capacities.Teresa Bejarano - 2003 - Pragmatics and Cognitionpragmatics and Cognition 11 (1):93-140.
    Both metarepresentation and cultural learning have an identical origin. The imitation of new and complex motor patterns is a crucial skill not only because it enables cultural transmission but also because its high requisites give rise to the exclusively human mind. The premotor plan at the base of such imitation requires the ability to fictionalize bodily postures, which implies a second line of awareness. Only by means of this second line can the human being deal with situations different from his (...)
  25. Review of “Poetic Effects: A Relevance Theory Perspective” by Adrian Pilkington. [REVIEW]Motti Benari - 2004 - Pragmatics and Cognitionpragmatics and Cognition 12 (1):181-189.
  26. Representationalism, First-Person Authority, and Second-Order Knowledge.Sven Bernecker - 2011 - In Anthony E. Hatzimoysis (ed.), Self-Knowledge. Oxford University Press. pp. 33-52.
    This paper ties in with my longstanding project of using representationalism to dispel Cartesian superstitions about the scope of first-person authority. While my earlier work dealt with privileged self-knowledge of one’s belief states, this paper is concerned with privileged self-knowledge of one’s knowledge states. Is it a priori knowable, from a first-person perspective, that one knows that p? I argue that one cannot know a priori that one knows that p as opposed to being incapable of having any knowledge states; (...)
  27. Mechanism is Not Enough.Mark H. Bickhard - 2007 - Pragmatics and Cognitionpragmatics and Cognition 15 (3):573-585.
    I will argue that mechanism is not sufficient to capture representation, thus cognition. More generally, mechanism is not sufficient to capture normativity of any sort. I will also outline a model of emergent normativity, representational normativity in particular, and show how it transcends these limitations of mechanism. To begin, I will address some illustrative attempts to model representation within mechanistically naturalistic frameworks, first rather generally, and then in the cases of the models of Fodor and Millikan.
  28. Mind as Process.Mark H. Bickhard - 2002 - In F.G. Riffert & Marcel Weber (eds.), Searching for New Contrasts. Vienna: Peter Lang. pp. 285-294.
    assumptions about the phenomena of interest with process models. Thus, phlogiston has been replaced by combustion, caloric by random thermal motion, and vital fluid by far- from-equilibrium self-reproducing organizations of process. The most significant exceptions to this historical pattern are found in studies of the mind. Here, substance assumptions are still ubiquitous, ranging from models of representation to those of emotions to personality and psychopathology. Substance assumptions do pernicious damage to our ability to understand such phenomena. In this discussion, I (...)
  29. Autonomy, Function, and Representation.Mark H. Bickhard - 2000 - Communication and Cognition-Artificial Intelligence 17 (3-4):111-131.
  30. Information and Representation in Autonomous Agents.Mark H. Bickhard - 2000 - Cognitive Systems Research 1 (2):65-75.
    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 (...)
  31. Levels of Representationality.Mark H. Bickhard - 1998 - Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 10 (2):179-215.
    The dominant assumptions -- throughout contemporary philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence -- about the ontology underlying intentionality, and its core of representationality, is that of encodings -- some sort of informational or correspondence or covariation relationship between the represented and its representation that constitutes that representational relationship. There are many disagreements concerning details and implementations, and even some suggestions about claimed alternative ontologies, such as connectionism (though none that escape what I argue is the fundamental flaw in these (...)
  32. On Certain Problems of Semantic Representations.Manfred Bierwisch - 1969 - Foundations of Language 5 (2):153-184.
  33. Meaning of the Symbols in Adolescence.Svetomir Bojanin, Ivona Milačić & Petar Opalić - 2000 - Theoria 43 (1-2):117-127.
  34. Artifact and Artifact Categorization: Comparing Humans and Capuchin Monkeys.Stefano Borgo, Noemi Spagnoletti, Laure Vieu & Elisabetta Visalberghi - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (3):375-389.
    We aim to show that far-related primates like humans and the capuchin monkeys show interesting correspondences in terms of artifact characterization and categorization. We investigate this issue by using a philosophically-inspired definition of physical artifact which, developed for human artifacts, turns out to be applicable for cross-species comparison. In this approach an artifact is created when an entity is intentionally selected and some capacities attributed to it (often characterizing a purpose). Behavioral studies suggest that this notion of artifact is not (...)
  35. Meta-Representations and Paradigms. Boris & Hella Schapiro - 2009 - In Wolfgang Wildgen & Barend van Heusden (eds.), Metarepresentation, Self-Organization and Art. Peter Lang.
  36. Representation and Self-Awareness in Intentional Agents.Ingar Brinck & Peter Gärdenfors - 1999 - Synthese 118 (1):89 - 104.
    Several conditions for being an intrinsically intentional agent are put forward. On a first level of intentionality the agent has representations. Two kinds are described: cued and detached. An agent with both kinds is able to represent both what is prompted by the context and what is absent from it. An intermediate level of intentionality is achieved by having an inner world, that is, a coherent system of detached representations that model the world. The inner world is used, e.g., for (...)
  37. Symbols.K. W. Britton - 1976 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures 10:208-222.
  38. Lasting Representations and Temporary Processes.D. E. Broadbent - 1989 - In Henry L. I. Roediger & Fergus I. M. Craik (eds.), Varieties of Memory and Consciousness: Essays in Honor of Endel Tulving. Lawrence Erlbaum. pp. 211--227.
  39. A Furry Tile About Mental Representation.Deborah J. Brown - 1996 - Philosophical Quarterly 46 (185):448-66.
  40. Robert Cummins, Representations, Targets, and Attitudes.D. Browne - 1999 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (1):115.
  41. The Migration of Symbols. [REVIEW]M. C. - 1957 - Review of Metaphysics 10 (3):534-534.
  42. Portrait of a Philosopher.G. L. C. - 1963 - Review of Metaphysics 16 (4):809-810.
  43. 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, (...)
  44. Representation and Style.James D. Carney - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (4):811-828.
  45. Diagramas e Provas.Abel Lassalle Casanave, Bruno Vaz & Sérgio Schultz - 2010 - Doispontos 6 (2).
    A concepção padrão de prova é uma concepção lingüística de prova. No entanto, literatura recente reivindica a legitimidade de provas heterogêneas, isto é, que incorporem recursos visuais ou gráficos. Tal reivindicação implica em um melhor exame da distinção entre representação lingüística e representação gráfica ou visual; concomitantemente, ela também comporta uma análise da dualidade entre discursivo e intuitivo em filosofia da lógica e da matemática. Neste breve artigo examinamos dois exemplos canônicos de provas heterogêneas, salientando, no entanto, seu caráter discursivo. (...)
  46. Representational Advantages.Roberto Casati - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3):281–298.
    Descriptive metaphysics investigates our naïve ontology as this is articulated in the content of our perception or of our pre-reflective thought about the world. But is access to such content reliable? Sceptics about the standard modes of access (introspection, or language-driven intuitions) may think that investigations in descriptive metaphysics can be aided by the controlled findings of cognitive science. Cognitive scientists have studied a promising range of representational advantages, that is, ways in which cognition favours one type of entity over (...)
  47. Guyonne Leduc (éd.), Réalités et représentations des Amazones.Sophie Cassagnes-Brouquet - 2010 - Clio 2:280-281.
  48. Speech-Gesture Mismatches: Evidence for One Underlying Representation of Linguistic and Nonlinguistic Information: Evidence for One Underlying Representation of Linguistic and Nonlinguistic Information.J. Cassell - 1999 - Pragmatics and Cognition 7 (1):1-34.
  49. Speech-Gesture Mismatches: Evidence for One Underlying Representation of Linguistic and Nonlinguistic Information.Justine Cassell, David McNeill & Karl-Erik McCullough - 1999 - Pragmatics and Cognitionpragmatics and Cognition 7 (1):1-34.
    Adults and children spontaneously produce gestures while they speak, and such gestures appear to support and expand on the information communicated by the verbal channel. Little research, however, has been carried out to examine the role played by gesture in the listener's representation of accumulating information. Do listeners attend to the gestures that accompany narrative speech? In what kinds of relationships between gesture and speech do listeners attend to the gestural channel? If listeners do attend to information received in gesture, (...)
  50. 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 (...)
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