Why there are no mental representations

Minds and Machines 1 (1):1-30 (1991)
I argue that there are no mental representations, in the sense of “representation” used in standard computational theories of the mind. I take Cummins' Meaning and Mental Representation as my stalking-horse, and argue that his view, once properly developed, is self-defeating. The argument implicitly undermines Fodor's view of the mind; I draw that conclusion out explicitly. The idea of mental representations can then only be saved by appeal to a Dennett-like instrumentalism; so I argue against that too. Finally, I argue that there is no good metaphysical reason in favour of believing in mental representations and that cognitive science can manage perfectly well without them
Keywords Artificial intelligence  content  cognitive science  mind-body problem  representation  semantic  syntax
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