Representation and unexploited content

In Graham Macdonald & David Papineau (eds.), Teleosemantics. Oxford University Press (2006)

Authors
James Blackmon
San Francisco State University
Robert Cummins
University of California, Davis
Martin Roth
Drake University
Abstract
In this paper, we introduce a novel difficulty for teleosemantics, viz., its inability to account for what we call unexploited content—content a representation has, but which the system that harbors it is currently unable to exploit. In section two, we give a characterization of teleosemantics. Since our critique does not depend on any special details that distinguish the variations in the literature, the characterization is broad, brief and abstract. In section three, we explain what we mean by unexploited content, and argue that any theory of content adequate to ground representationalist theories in cognitive science must allow for it.1 In section four, we show that teleosemantic theories of the sort we identify in section two cannot accommodate unexploited content, and are therefore unacceptable if intended as attempts to ground representationalist cognitive science. Finally, in section five, we speculate that the existence and importance of unexploited content has likely been obscured by a failure to distinguish representation from indication, and by a tendency to think of representation as reference.
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Representation in Cognitive Science.Nicholas Shea - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
Objective Similarity and Mental Representation.Alistair M. C. Isaac - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):683-704.
Ahistorical Teleosemantics: An Alternative to Nanay.Mark Bauer - 2017 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (2):158-176.

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