The systematicity challenge to anti-representational dynamicism

Synthese 192 (3):701-722 (2015)
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After more than twenty years of representational debate in the cognitive sciences, anti-representational dynamicism may be seen as offering a rival and radically new kind of explanation of systematicity phenomena. In this paper, I argue that, on the contrary, anti-representational dynamicism must face a version of the old systematicity challenge: either it does not explain systematicity, or else, it is just an implementation of representational theories. To show this, I present a purely behavioral and representation-free account of systematicity. I then consider a case of insect sensorimotor systematic behavior: communicating behavior in honey bees. I conclude that anti-representational dynamicism fails to capture the fundamental trait of systematic behaviors qua systematic, i.e., their involving exercises of the same behavioral capacities. I suggest, finally, a collaborative strategy in pursuit of a rich and powerful account of this central phenomenon of high cognition at all levels of explanation, including the representational level



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Víctor M. Verdejo
Universitat Pompeu Fabra