Representation and the active consumer

Synthese:1-18 (forthcoming)
Authors
Patrick Butlin
King's College London
Abstract
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 by systems which are capable of independent action. This paper defends this claim; discusses more precise, naturalistic formulations; and shows how it can illuminate the explanatory payoffs which science achieves by appealing to representation.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-01941-9
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References found in this work BETA

Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Toward an Informational Teleosemantics.Karen Neander - 2013 - In Dan Ryder, Justine Kingsbury & Kenneth Williford (eds.), Millikan and Her Critics. Wiley. pp. 21--40.
Consumers Need Information: Supplementing Teleosemantics with an Input Condition.Nicholas Shea - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):404-435.

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