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  1. Tolerant Enactivist Cognitive Science.Thomas Raleigh - 2018 - Philosophical Explorations 21 (2):226-244.
    Enactivist (Embodied, Embedded, etc.) approaches in cognitive science and philosophy of mind are sometimes, though not always, conjoined with an anti-representational commitment. A weaker anti-representational claim is that ascribing representational content to internal/sub-personal processes is not compulsory when giving psychological explanations. A stronger anti-representational claim is that the very idea of ascribing representational content to internal/sub-personal processes is a theoretical confusion. This paper criticises some of the arguments made by Hutto & Myin (2013, 2017) for the stronger anti-representational claim and (...)
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  • Functions and Mental Representation: The Theoretical Role of Representations and its Real Nature.Miguel Ángel Sebastián - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (2):317-336.
    Representations are not only used in our folk-psychological explanations of behaviour, but are also fruitfully postulated, for example, in cognitive science. The mainstream view in cognitive science maintains that our mind is a representational system. This popular view requires an understanding of the nature of the entities they are postulating. Teleosemantic theories face this challenge, unpacking the normativity in the relation of representation by appealing to the teleological function of the representing state. It has been argued that, if intentionality is (...)
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  • Teleosemantics, Infotel-Semantics and Circularity.Marc Artiga - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (4):583-603.
    Peter Godfrey-Smith and Nicholas Shea have argued that standard versions of teleosemantics render explanations of successful behavior by appealing to true beliefs circular and, consequently, non-explanatory. As an alternative, Shea has recently suggested an original teleosemantic account (that he calls ?Infotel-semantics?), which is supposed to be immune to the problem of circularity. The paper argues that the standard version of teleosemantics has a satisfactory reply to the circularity objection and that, in any case, Infotel-semantics is not better off than standard (...)
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  • Representation in Cognitive Science.Nicholas Shea - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    How can we think about things in the outside world? There is still no widely accepted theory of how mental representations get their meaning. In light of pioneering research, Nicholas Shea develops a naturalistic account of the nature of mental representation with a firm focus on the subpersonal representations that pervade the cognitive sciences.
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  • Teleosemantics, Selection and Novel Contents.Justin Garson & David Papineau - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (3):36.
    Mainstream teleosemantics is the view that mental representation should be understood in terms of biological functions, which, in turn, should be understood in terms of selection processes. One of the traditional criticisms of teleosemantics is the problem of novel contents: how can teleosemantics explain our ability to represent properties that are evolutionarily novel? In response, some have argued that by generalizing the notion of a selection process to include phenomena such as operant conditioning, and the neural selection that underlies it, (...)
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  • Mental Evolution: A Review of Daniel Dennett’s From Bacteria to Bach and Back. [REVIEW]Charles Rathkopf - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1355-1368.
    From Bacteria To Bach and Back is an ambitious book that attempts to integrate a theory about the evolution of the human mind with another theory about the evolution of human culture. It is advertised as a defense of memes, but conceptualizes memes more liberally than has been done before. It is also advertised as a defense of the proposal that natural selection operates on culture, but conceptualizes natural selection as a process in which nearly all interesting parameters are free (...)
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  • What Kind of Information is Brain Information?Charles Rathkopf - 2017 - Topoi:1-8.
    Neural systems process information. This platitude contains an interesting ambiguity between multiple senses of the term “information.” According to a popular thought, the ambiguity is best resolved by reserving semantic concepts of information for the explication of neural activity at a high level of organization, and quantitative concepts of information for the explication of neural activity at a low level of organization. This article articulates the justification behind this view, and concludes that it is an oversimplification. An analysis of the (...)
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  • Beyond Cognitive Myopia: A Patchwork Approach to the Concept of Neural Function.Philipp Haueis - 2018 - Synthese 195 (12):5373-5402.
    In this paper, I argue that looking at the concept of neural function through the lens of cognition alone risks cognitive myopia: it leads neuroscientists to focus only on mechanisms with cognitive functions that process behaviorally relevant information when conceptualizing “neural function”. Cognitive myopia tempts researchers to neglect neural mechanisms with noncognitive functions which do not process behaviorally relevant information but maintain and repair neural and other systems of the body. Cognitive myopia similarly affects philosophy of neuroscience because scholars overlook (...)
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  • Neural Information and the Problem of Objectivity.Charles Rathkopf - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (3):321-336.
    A fascinating research program in neurophysiology attempts to quantify the amount of information transmitted by single neurons. The claims that emerge from this research raise new philosophical questions about the nature of information. What kind of information is being quantified? Do the resulting quantities describe empirical magnitudes like those found elsewhere in the natural sciences? In this article, it is argued that neural information quantities have a relativisitic character that makes them distinct from the kinds of information typically discussed in (...)
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  • Structural Representations: Causally Relevant and Different From Detectors.Paweł Gładziejewski & Marcin Miłkowski - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (3):337-355.
    This paper centers around the notion that internal, mental representations are grounded in structural similarity, i.e., that they are so-called S-representations. We show how S-representations may be causally relevant and argue that they are distinct from mere detectors. First, using the neomechanist theory of explanation and the interventionist account of causal relevance, we provide a precise interpretation of the claim that in S-representations, structural similarity serves as a “fuel of success”, i.e., a relation that is exploitable for the representation using (...)
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  • Functional Information: A Graded Taxonomy of Difference Makers.Nir Fresco, Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-21.
    There are many different notions of information in logic, epistemology, psychology, biology and cognitive science, which are employed differently in each discipline, often with little overlap. Since our interest here is in biological processes and organisms, we develop a taxonomy of functional information that extends the standard cue/signal distinction. Three general, main claims are advanced here. This new taxonomy can be useful in describing learning and communication. It avoids some problems that the natural/non-natural information distinction faces. Functional information is​ ​produced (...)
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  • Liberal Representationalism: A Deflationist Defense.Marc Artiga - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (3):407-430.
    The idea that only complex brains can possess genuine representations is an important element in mainstream philosophical thinking. An alternative view, which I label ‘liberal representationalism’, holds that we should accept the existence of many more full-blown representations, from activity in retinal ganglion cells to the neural states produced by innate releasing mechanisms in cognitively unsophisticated organisms. A promising way of supporting liberal representationalism is to show it to be a consequence of our best naturalistic theories of representation. However, several (...)
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  • Rescuing Tracking Theories of Morality.Marc Artiga - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3357-3374.
    Street’s :109–166, 2006) Darwinian Dilemma purports to show that evolutionary considerations are in tension with realist theories of value, which include moral realism. According to this argument, moral realism can only be defended by assuming an implausible tracking relation between moral attitudes and moral facts. In this essay, I argue that this tracking relation is not as implausible as most people have assumed by showing that the three main objections against it are flawed. Since this is a key premise in (...)
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  • Representation and the Active Consumer.Patrick Butlin - forthcoming - Synthese:1-18.
    One of the central tasks for naturalistic theories of representation is to say what it takes for something to be a representation, and some leading theories have been criticised for being too liberal. Prominent discussions of this problem have proposed a producer-oriented solution; it is argued that representations must be produced by systems employing perceptual constancy mechanisms. However, representations may be produced by simple transducers if they are consumed in the right way. It is characteristic of representations to be consumed (...)
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  • Can Informational Theories Account for Metarepresentation?Miguel Ángel Sebastián & Marc Artiga - forthcoming - Topoi:1-14.
    In this essay we discuss recent attempts to analyse the notion of representation, as it is employed in cognitive science, in purely informational terms. In particular, we argue that recent informational theories cannot accommodate the existence of metarepresentations. Since metarepresentations play a central role in the explanation of many cognitive abilities, this is a serious shortcoming of these proposals.
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  • Teleosemantic Modeling of Cognitive Representations.Marc Artiga - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (4):483-505.
    Naturalistic theories of representation seek to specify the conditions that must be met for an entity to represent another entity. Although these approaches have been relatively successful in certain areas, such as communication theory or genetics, many doubt that they can be employed to naturalize complex cognitive representations. In this essay I identify some of the difficulties for developing a teleosemantic theory of cognitive representations and provide a strategy for accommodating them: to look into models of signaling in evolutionary game (...)
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  • Explaining the Reified Notion of Representation From a Linguistic Perspective.Farid Zahnoun - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-18.
    Despite the growing popularity of nonrepresentationalist approaches to cognition, and especially of those coming from the enactivist corner, positing internal representations is still the order of the day in mainstream cognitive science. Indeed, the idea that we have to invoke internal content-carrying, thing-like entities to account for the workings of mind and cognition proves to be particularly resilient. In this paper, my aim is to explain at least partially where this resilience of the reified notion of representation comes from. What (...)
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  • Signaling in the Brain: In Search of Functional Units.Rosa Cao - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):891-901.
    What are the functional units of the brain? If the function of the brain is to process information-carrying signals, then the functional units will be the senders and receivers of those signals. Neurons have been the default candidate, with action potentials as the signals. But there are alternatives: synapses fit the action potential picture more cleanly, and glial activities (e.g., in astrocytes) might also be characterized as signaling. Are synapses or nonneuronal cells better candidates to play the role of functional (...)
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  • Signaling Without Cooperation.Marc Artiga - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (3):357-378.
    Ethological theories usually attribute semantic content to animal signals. To account for this fact, many biologists and philosophers appeal to some version of teleosemantics. However, this picture has recently came under attack: while mainstream teleosemantics assumes that representational systems must cooperate, some biologists and philosophers argue that in certain cases signaling can evolve within systems lacking common interest. In this paper I defend the standard view from this objection.
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