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Doing without representing?

Synthese 101 (3):401-31 (1994)

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  1. A Continuum of Intentionality: Linking the Biogenic and Anthropogenic Approaches to Cognition.Matthew Sims - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (6):1-31.
    Biogenic approaches investigate cognition from the standpoint of evolutionary function, asking what cognition does for a living system and then looking for common principles and exhibitions of cognitive strategies in a vast array of living systems—non-neural to neural. One worry which arises for the biogenic approach is that it is overly permissive in terms of what it construes as cognition. In this paper I critically engage with a recent instance of this way of criticising biogenic approaches in order to clarify (...)
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  • RECkoning with the Stakes in Overcoming Representation-Hungry Problem Domains.Rasmus Gahrn-Andersen - 2021 - Acta Analytica 36 (4):517-532.
    The paper reviews the current state of play around anti-representationalist attempts at countering Clark and Toribio’s representation-hunger thesis. It introduces a distinction between different approaches to Chemero’s Radical embodied cognition thesis in the form of, on the one hand, those pushing a hard line and, on the other, those who are more relaxed about their anti-representationalist commitments. In terms of overcoming Clark and Toribio’s thesis, hardliners seek to avoid any mentioning of mental content in the activity they purport to explain. (...)
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  • From Something Old to Something New: Functionalist Lessons for the Cognitive Science of Scientific Creativity.Guilherme Sanches de Oliveira - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 12.
    An intuitive view is that creativity involves bringing together what is already known and familiar in a way that produces something new. In cognitive science, this intuition is typically formalized in terms of computational processes that combine or associate internally represented information. From this computationalist perspective, it is hard to imagine how non-representational approaches in embodied cognitive science could shed light on creativity, especially when it comes to abstract conceptual reasoning of the kind scientists so often engage in. The present (...)
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  • Foregrounding Sociomaterial Practice in Our Understanding of Affordances: The Skilled Intentionality Framework.Ludger van Dijk & Erik Rietveld - 2017 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
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  • Towards the Naturalization of Agency Based on an Interactivist Account of Autonomy.Argyris Arnellos, Thomas Spyrtou & Ioannis Darzentas - 2010 - New Ideas in Psychology 28 (3):296-311.
    This paper attempts to provide the basis for a broader naturalized account of agency. Naturalization is considered as the need for an ongoing and open-ended process of scientific inquiry driven by the continuous formulation of questions regarding a phenomenon. The naturalization of agency is focused around the interrelation of the fundamental notions of autonomy, functionality, intentionality and meaning. Certain naturalized frameworks of agency are critically considered in an attempt to bring together all the characteristic properties that constitute an autonomous agent, (...)
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  • Meaning and Other Non-Biological Categories.Josefa Toribio - 1998 - Philosophical Papers 27 (2):129-150.
    In this paper I display a general metaphysical assumption that characterizes basic naturalistic views and that is inherited, in a residual form, by their leading teleological rivals. The assumption is that intentional states require identifiable inner vehicles and that to explain intentional properties we must develop accounts that bind specific contents to specific vehicles. I show that this assumption is deeply rooted in representationalist and reductionist theories of content and I argue that it is deeply inappropriate. I sketch the main (...)
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  • Reasons, Robots and the Extended Mind.Andy Clark - 2001 - Mind and Language 16 (2):121-145.
    A suitable project for the new Millenium is to radically reconfigure our image of human rationality. Such a project is already underway, within the Cognitive Sciences, under the umbrellas of work in Situated Cognition, Distributed and De-centralized Cogition, Real-world Robotics and Artificial Life1. Such approaches, however, are often criticized for giving certain aspects of rationality too wide a berth. They focus their attention on on such superficially poor cousins as.
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  • Trading Spaces: Computation, Representation, and the Limits of Uninformed Learning.Andy Clark & Chris Thornton - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):57-66.
    Some regularities enjoy only an attenuated existence in a body of training data. These are regularities whose statistical visibility depends on some systematic recoding of the data. The space of possible recodings is, however, infinitely large – it is the space of applicable Turing machines. As a result, mappings that pivot on such attenuated regularities cannot, in general, be found by brute-force search. The class of problems that present such mappings we call the class of “type-2 problems.” Type-1 problems, by (...)
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  • Evolving Artificial Minds and Brains.Alex Vereschagin, Mike Collins & Pete Mandik - 2007 - In Drew Khlentzos & Andrea Schalley (eds.), Mental States Volume 1: Evolution, function, nature. John Benjamins.
    We explicate representational content by addressing how representations that ex- plain intelligent behavior might be acquired through processes of Darwinian evo- lution. We present the results of computer simulations of evolved neural network controllers and discuss the similarity of the simulations to real-world examples of neural network control of animal behavior. We argue that focusing on the simplest cases of evolved intelligent behavior, in both simulated and real organisms, reveals that evolved representations must carry information about the creature’s environ- ments (...)
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  • Genic Representation: Reconciling Content and Causal Complexity.M. Wheeler & A. Clark - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (1):103-135.
    Some recent cognitive-scientific research suggests that a considerable amount of intelligent action is generated not by the systematic activity of internal representations, but by complex interactions involving neural, bodily, and environmental factors. Following an analysis of this threat to representational explanation, we pursue an analogy between the role of genes in the production of biological form and the role of neural states in the production of behaviour, in order to develop a notion of genic representation. In both cases an appeal (...)
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  • Representations Gone Mental.Alex Morgan - 2014 - Synthese 191 (2):213-244.
    Many philosophers and psychologists have attempted to elucidate the nature of mental representation by appealing to notions like isomorphism or abstract structural resemblance. The ‘structural representations’ that these theorists champion are said to count as representations by virtue of functioning as internal models of distal systems. In his 2007 book, Representation Reconsidered, William Ramsey endorses the structural conception of mental representation, but uses it to develop a novel argument against representationalism, the widespread view that cognition essentially involves the manipulation of (...)
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  • Networks with Attitudes.Paul Skokowski - 2007 - Artificial Intelligence and Society 22 (3):461-470.
    Does connectionism spell doom for folk psychology? I examine the proposal that cognitive representational states such as beliefs can play no role if connectionist models - - interpreted as radical new cognitive theories -- take hold and replace other cognitive theories. Though I accept that connectionist theories are radical theories that shed light on cognition, I reject the conclusion that neural networks do not represent. Indeed, I argue that neural networks may actually give us a better working notion of cognitive (...)
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  • The Hard Problem Of Content: Solved (Long Ago).Marcin Miłkowski - 2015 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 41 (1):73-88.
    In this paper, I argue that even if the Hard Problem of Content, as identified by Hutto and Myin, is important, it was already solved in natu- ralized semantics, and satisfactory solutions to the problem do not rely merely on the notion of information as covariance. I point out that Hutto and Myin have double standards for linguistic and mental representation, which leads to a peculiar inconsistency. Were they to apply the same standards to basic and linguistic minds, they would (...)
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  • Representation in Extended Cognitive Systems : Does the Scaffolding of Language Extend the Mind?Robert D. Rupert - 2010 - In Richard Menary (ed.), The Extended Mind. MIT Press.
    forthcoming in R. Menary (ed.), The Extended Mind.
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  • The Best Test Theory of Extension: First Principle(S).Robert D. Rupert - 1999 - Mind and Language 14 (3):321–355.
    This paper presents the leading idea of my doctoral dissertation and thus has been shaped by the reactions of all the members of my thesis committee: Charles Chastain, Walter Edelberg, W. Kent Wilson, Dorothy Grover, and Charles Marks. I am especially grateful for the help of Professors Chastain, Edelberg, and Wilson; each worked closely with me at one stage or another in the development of the ideas contained in the present work. Shorter versions of this paper were presented at the (...)
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  • Scaffolded Minds And The Evolution Of Content In Signaling Pathways.Tomasz Korbak - 2015 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 41 (1):89-103.
    Hutto and Myin famously argue that basic minds are not contentful and content exists only as far as it is scaffolded with social and linguistic practices. This view, however, rests on a troublesome distinction between basic and scaffolded minds. Since Hutto and Myin have to account for language purely in terms of joint action guidance, there is no reason why simpler communication systems, such as cellular signaling pathways, should not give rise to scaffolded content as well. This conclusion remains valid (...)
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  • Representations and Cognitive Explanations: Assessing the Dynamicist Challenge in Cognitive Science.William Bechtel - 1998 - Cognitive Science 22 (3):295-317.
    Advocates of dynamical systems theory (DST) sometimes employ revolutionary rhetoric. In an attempt to clarify how DST models differ from others in cognitive science, I focus on two issues raised by DST: the role for representations in mental models and the conception of explanation invoked. Two features of representations are their role in standing-in for features external to the system and their format. DST advocates sometimes claim to have repudiated the need for stand-ins in DST models, but I argue that (...)
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  • Sculpting the Space of Actions. Explaining Human Action by Integrating Intentions and Mechanisms.Machiel Keestra - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Amsterdam
    How can we explain the intentional nature of an expert’s actions, performed without immediate and conscious control, relying instead on automatic cognitive processes? How can we account for the differences and similarities with a novice’s performance of the same actions? Can a naturalist explanation of intentional expert action be in line with a philosophical concept of intentional action? Answering these and related questions in a positive sense, this dissertation develops a three-step argument. Part I considers different methods of explanations in (...)
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  • Why There Are No Epistemic Duties.Chase B. Wrenn - 2007 - Dialogue: The Canadian Philosophical Review 46 (1):115-136.
    An epistemic duty would be a duty to believe, disbelieve, or withhold judgment from a proposition, and it would be grounded in purely evidential or epistemic considerations. If I promise to believe it is raining, my duty to believe is not epistemic. If my evidence is so good that, in light of it alone, I ought to believe it is raining, then my duty to believe supposedly is epistemic. I offer a new argument for the claim that there are no (...)
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  • Skilled Activity and the Causal Theory of Action.Randolph Clarke - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (3):523-550.
    Skilled activity, such as shaving or dancing, differs in important ways from many of the stock examples that are employed by action theorists. Some critics of the causal theory of action contend that such a view founders on the problem of skilled activity. This paper examines how a causal theory can be extended to the case of skilled activity and defends the account from its critics.
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  • On the Relationship Between Naturalistic Semantics and Individuation Criteria for Terms in a Language of Thought.Robert D. Rupert - 1998 - Synthese 117 (1):95-131.
    Naturalistically minded philosophers hope to identify a privileged nonsemantic relation that holds between a mental representation m and that which m represents, a relation whose privileged status underwrites the assignment of reference to m. The naturalist can accomplish this task only if she has in hand a nonsemantic criterion for individuating mental representations: it would be question-begging for the naturalist to characterize m, for the purpose of assigning content, as 'the representation with such and such content'. If we individuate mental (...)
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  • A Comparison of Different Cognitive Paradigms Using Simple Animats in a Virtual Laboratory, with Implications to the Notion of Cognition.Carlos Gershenson - 2002
    In this thesis I present a virtual laboratory which implements five different models for controlling animats: a rule-based system, a behaviour-based system, a concept-based system, a neural network, and a Braitenberg architecture. Through different experiments, I compare the performance of the models and conclude that there is no best model, since different models are better for different things in different contexts. The models I chose, although quite simple, represent different approaches for studying cognition. Using the results as an empirical philosophical (...)
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  • Predictive Minds and Small-Scale Models: Kenneth Craik’s Contribution to Cognitive Science.Daniel Williams - 2018 - Philosophical Explorations 21 (2):245-263.
    I identify three lessons from Kenneth Craik’s landmark book “The Nature of Explanation” for contemporary debates surrounding the existence, extent, and nature of mental representation: first, an account of mental representations as neural structures that function analogously to public models; second, an appreciation of prediction as the central component of intelligence in demand of such models; and third, a metaphor for understanding the brain as an engineer, not a scientist. I then relate these insights to discussions surrounding the representational status (...)
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  • Fictionalism About Neural Representations.Mark Sprevak - 2013 - The Monist 96 (4):539-560.
    This paper explores a novel form of Mental Fictionalism: Fictionalism about talk of neural representations in cognitive science. This type of Fictionalism promises to (i) avoid the hard problem of naturalising representations, without (ii) incurring the high costs of eliminating useful representation talk. In this paper, I motivate and articulate this form of Fictionalism, and show that, despite its apparent advantages, it faces two serious objections. These objections are: (1) Fictionalism about talk of neural representations ultimately does not avoid the (...)
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  • Integrating Structure and Meaning: A Distributed Model of Analogical Mapping.Chris Eliasmith & Paul Thagard - 2001 - Cognitive Science 25 (2):245-286.
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  • Representation Recovers Information.Chris Thornton - 2009 - Cognitive Science 33 (8):1383-1412.
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  • The Dynamical Challenge.Andy Clark - 1997 - Cognitive Science 21 (4):461-481.
    Recent studies such as Thelen and Smith, Kelso, Van Gelder, Beer, and others have presented a forceful case for a dynamical systems approach to understanding cognition and adaptive behavior. These studies call into question some foundational assumptions concerning the nature of cognitive scientific explanation and the role of notions such as internal representation and computation. These are exciting and important challenges. But they must be handled with care. It is all to easy in this debate to lose sight of the (...)
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  • Predictive Processing and Anti-Representationalism.Marco Facchin - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11609-11642.
    Many philosophers claim that the neurocomputational framework of predictive processing entails a globally inferentialist and representationalist view of cognition. Here, I contend that this is not correct. I argue that, given the theoretical commitments these philosophers endorse, no structure within predictive processing systems can be rightfully identified as a representational vehicle. To do so, I first examine some of the theoretical commitments these philosophers share, and show that these commitments provide a set of necessary conditions the satisfaction of which allows (...)
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  • Representations in Dynamical Embodied Agents: Re-Analyzing a Minimally Cognitive Model Agent.Marco Mirolli - 2012 - Cognitive Science 36 (5):870-895.
    Understanding the role of ‘‘representations’’ in cognitive science is a fundamental problem facing the emerging framework of embodied, situated, dynamical cognition. To make progress, I follow the approach proposed by an influential representational skeptic, Randall Beer: building artificial agents capable of minimally cognitive behaviors and assessing whether their internal states can be considered to involve representations. Hence, I operationalize the concept of representing as ‘‘standing in,’’ and I look for representations in embodied agents involved in simple categorization tasks. In a (...)
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  • World-Related Integrated Information: Enactivist and Phenomenal Perspectives.Mike Beaton & Igor Aleksander - 2012 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 4 (2):439-455.
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  • Information Processing and Dynamics in Minimally Cognitive Agents.Randall D. Beer & Paul L. Williams - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (1):1-38.
    There has been considerable debate in the literature about the relative merits of information processing versus dynamical approaches to understanding cognitive processes. In this article, we explore the relationship between these two styles of explanation using a model agent evolved to solve a relational categorization task. Specifically, we separately analyze the operation of this agent using the mathematical tools of information theory and dynamical systems theory. Information-theoretic analysis reveals how task-relevant information flows through the system to be combined into a (...)
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  • Dress Rehearsals, Previews, and Encores: A New Account of Mental Representation.Nancy Salay - 2014 - Theoria 80 (1):84-97.
    One of the central debates in cognitive science is the dispute over the role of representation in cognition: on computational/representational accounts, representations are theoretically central; on dynamic systems approaches in which cognition is investigated as a particular sort of physical process, representations play either no role, or, at best, a derivative one. But these two perspectives lead to a deeply unsatisfying theoretical divide: accounts situated in the representational camp are plagued by the inscrutable problem of intentionality, while those hedging towards (...)
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  • Interactionally Situated Cognition: A Classroom Example.Stanton Wortham - 2001 - Cognitive Science 25 (1):37-66.
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  • A Non-Representational Approach to Imagined Action.I. van Rooij - 2002 - Cognitive Science 26 (3):345-375.
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  • A Non‐Representational Approach to Imagined Action.Iris Rooij, Raoul M. Bongers & F. G. Haselager - 2002 - Cognitive Science 26 (3):345-375.
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  • Challenges to the Hypothesis of Extended Cognition.Robert D. Rupert - 2004 - Journal of Philosophy 101 (8):389-428.
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  • Don't Ask, Look! Linguistic Corpora as a Tool for Conceptual Analysis.Roland Bluhm - 2013 - In Migue Hoeltje, Thomas Spitzley & Wolfgang Spohn (eds.), Was dürfen wir glauben? Was sollen wir tun? Sektionsbeiträge des achten internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie e.V. DuEPublico. pp. 7-15.
    Ordinary Language Philosophy has largely fallen out of favour, and with it the belief in the primary importance of analyses of ordinary language for philosophical purposes. Still, in their various endeavours, philosophers not only from analytic but also from other backgrounds refer to the use and meaning of terms of interest in ordinary parlance. In doing so, they most commonly appeal to their own linguistic intuitions. Often, the appeal to individual intuitions is supplemented by reference to dictionaries. In recent times, (...)
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  • A Practical and Practice-Sensitive Account of Science as Problem-Solving.Frédéric-Ismaël Banville - unknown
    Philosophers of science have recently begun to pay more attention to scientific practice, moving away from the discipline’s focus on theories. The creation of the Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice in 2006, as well as the emergence of scholarship on experimental practice as well as on the tools scientists use to construct explanations and theories all point to a disciplinary shift towards a more practice-conscious philosophy of science. In addition, scholars are realizing the potential social relevance of philosophy (...)
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  • Structural Representations Do Not Meet the Job Description Challenge.Marco Facchin - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):5479-5508.
    Structural representations are increasingly popular in philosophy of cognitive science. A key virtue they seemingly boast is that of meeting Ramsey's job description challenge. For this reason, structural representations appear tailored to play a clear representational role within cognitive architectures. Here, however, I claim that structural representations do not meet the job description challenge. This is because even our most demanding account of their functional profile is satisfied by at least some receptors, which paradigmatically fail the job description challenge. Hence, (...)
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  • Language and Reality.Menno Lievers - 2021 - In Second Thoughts. Tilburg, Netherlands: pp. 261-277.
    An introduction to philosophy of language since Frege, focusing on the 20th century.
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  • Make Up Your Mind: Octopus Cognition and Hybrid Explanations.Sidney Carls-Diamante - 2019 - Synthese 199 (Suppl 1):143-158.
    In order to argue that cognitive science should be more accepting of explanatory plurality, this paper presents the control of fetching movements in the octopus as an exemplar of a cognitive process that comprises distinct and non-redundant representation-using and non-representational elements. Fetching is a type of movement that representational analyses can normally account for completely—but not in the case of the octopus. Instead, a comprehensive account of octopus fetching requires the non-overlapping use of both representational and non-representational explanatory frameworks. What (...)
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  • Reflective Situated Normativity.Jasper C. van den Herik & Erik Rietveld - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3371-3389.
    Situated normativity is the ability of skilled individuals to distinguish better from worse, adequate from inadequate, appropriate from inappropriate, or correct from incorrect in the context of a particular situation. Situated normativity consists in a situated appreciation expressed in normative behaviour, and can be experienced as a bodily affective tension that motivates a skilled individual to act on particular possibilities for action offered by a concrete situation. The concept of situated normativity has so far primarily been discussed in the context (...)
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  • Scaling-Up Skilled Intentionality to Linguistic Thought.Julian Kiverstein & Erik Rietveld - 2020 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 1):175-194.
    Cognition has traditionally been understood in terms of internal mental representations, and computational operations carried out on internal mental representations. Radical approaches propose to reconceive cognition in terms of agent-environment dynamics. An outstanding challenge for such a philosophical project is how to scale-up from perception and action to cases of what is typically called ‘higher-order’ cognition such as linguistic thought, the case we focus on in this paper. Perception and action are naturally described in terms of agent-environment dynamics, but can (...)
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  • Horizons of the Word: Words and Tools in Perception and Action.Hayden Kee - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19 (5):905-932.
    In this paper I develop a novel account of the phenomenality of language by focusing on characteristics of perceived speech. I explore the extent to which the spoken word can be said to have a horizonal structure similar to that of spatiotemporal objects: our perception of each is informed by habitual associations and expectations formed through past experiences of the object or word and other associated objects and experiences. Specifically, the horizonal structure of speech in use can fruitfully be compared (...)
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  • A Match Made in Heaven: Predictive Approaches to (an Unorthodox) Sensorimotor Enactivism.María Jimena Clavel Vázquez - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19 (4):653-684.
    It has been pointed out that Sensorimotor Enactivism, a theory that claims that perception is enacted and brought about by movement, says very little about the neural mechanisms that enable perception. For the proponents of the predictive approach to Sensorimotor Enactivism, this is a challenge that can be met by introducing predictive processing into the picture. However, the compatibility between these theories is not straightforward. Firstly, because they seem to differ in their stand towards representations: while Sensorimotor Enactivism is said (...)
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  • It Just Doesn’t Feel Right: OCD and the ‘Scaling Up’ Problem.Adrian Downey - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19 (4):705-727.
    The ‘scaling up’ objection says non-representational ecological-enactive accounts will be unable to explain ‘representation hungry’ cognition. Obsessive-compulsive disorder presents a paradigmatic instance of this objection, marked as it is by ‘representation hungry’ obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior organized around them. In this paper I provide an ecological-enactive account of OCD, thereby demonstrating non-representational frameworks can ‘scale up’ to explain ‘representation hungry’ cognition. First, I outline a non-representational account of mind— a predictive processing operationalization of Sean Kelly’s theory of perception. This (...)
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  • Radical Embodied Cognitive Science and “Real Cognition”.Guilherme Sanches de Oliveira, Vicente Raja & Anthony Chemero - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 1):115-136.
    A persistent criticism of radical embodied cognitive science is that it will be impossible to explain “real cognition” without invoking mental representations. This paper provides an account of explicit, real-time thinking of the kind we engage in when we imagine counter-factual situations, remember the past, and plan for the future. We first present a very general non-representational account of explicit thinking, based on pragmatist philosophy of science. We then present a more detailed instantiation of this general account drawing on nonlinear (...)
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  • Prospects of Enactivist Approaches to Intentionality and Cognition.Tobias Schlicht & Tobias Starzak - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 1):89-113.
    We discuss various implications of some radical anti-representationalist views of cognition and what they have to offer with regard to the naturalization of intentionality and the explanation of cognitive phenomena. Our focus is on recent arguments from proponents of enactive views of cognition to the effect that basic cognition is intentional but not representational and that cognition is co-extensive with life. We focus on lower rather than higher forms of cognition, namely the question regarding the intentional and representational nature of (...)
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  • Radical Views on Cognition and the Dynamics of Scientific Change.Pierre Steiner - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 1):547-569.
    Radical views on cognition are generally defined by a cluster of features including non-representationalism and vehicle-externalism. In this paper, I concentrate on the way radical views on cognition define themselves as revolutionary theories in cognitive science. These theories often use the Kuhnian concepts of “paradigm” and “paradigm shift” for describing their ambitions and the current situation in cognitive science. I examine whether the use of Kuhn’s theory of science is appropriate here. There might be good reasons to think that cognitive (...)
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  • Interface Theory Vs Gibson: An Ontological Defense of the Ecological Approach.Andrew D. Wilson - 2021 - Philosophical Psychology 34 (7):989-1010.
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