Perception, Representation, and Reference: Some Thoughts on an Essential Structure

Dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1987)

Ralph Kenyon
University of Massachusetts, Amherst (PhD)
The terms 'reference', 'representation', and 'perception', have not been univocally used. This thesis provides a new theory which explains reference, representation and perception by showing that each has primary and derived forms, related more-or-less recursively. The primary forms are located in a simple model which is based on the structure of a computer. The structure presented is a 'minimal' model, that is, the smallest structure in which the simplest kinds of reference, representation, and perception occur. An analogical relation constructed between the simple model and a person in the world provides an account of the simplest forms of, and an explanation for the derived forms of each. The relation presented sheds light on our corresponding ordinary notions and shows that they can all be explained or accounted for entirely within the cause-effect paradigm. In effect, this thesis presents the 'essence' of each of reference, representation, and perception.
Keywords reference  representation  perception  epistemology  metaphysics  computer science
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