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  1. New Labels for Old Ideas: Predictive Processing and the Interpretation of Neural Signals.Rosa Cao - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (3):517-546.
    Philosophical proponents of predictive processing cast the novelty of predictive models of perception in terms of differences in the functional role and information content of neural signals. However, they fail to provide constraints on how the crucial semantic mapping from signals to their informational contents is determined. Beyond a novel interpretative gloss on neural signals, they have little new to say about the causal structure of the system, or even what statistical information is carried by the signals. That means that (...)
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  • Representation in Cognitive Science: Replies.Nicholas Shea - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (3):402-412.
    In their constructive reviews, Frances Egan, Randy Gallistel and Steven Gross have raised some important problems for the account of content advanced by Nicholas Shea in Representation in Cognitive Science. Here the author addresses their main challenges. Egan argues that the account includes an unrecognised pragmatic element; and that it makes contents explanatorily otiose. Gallistel raises questions about homomorphism and correlational information. Gross puts the account to work to resolve a dispute about probabilistic contents in perception, but argues that a (...)
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  • Consciousness.Tony Cheng - 2019 - In Heather Salazar (ed.), Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy of Mind. Quebec: Rebus Foundation Publishing. pp. 41-48.
    The term “consciousness” is very often, though not always, interchangeable with the term “awareness,” which is more colloquial to many ears. We say things like “are you aware that ...” often. Sometimes we say “have you noticed that ... ?” to express similar thoughts, and this indicates a close connection between consciousness (awareness) and attention (noticing), which we will come back to later in this chapter. Ned Block, one of the key figures in this area, provides a useful characterization of (...)
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  • Deflationary Realism: Representation and Idealisation in Cognitive Science.Dimitri Coelho Mollo - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Debate on the nature of representation in cognitive systems tends to oscillate between robustly realist views and various anti-realist options. I defend an alternative view, deflationary realism, which sees cognitive representation as an offshoot of the extended application to cognitive systems of an explanatory model whose primary domain is public representation use. This extended application, justified by a common explanatory target, embodies idealisations, partial mismatches between model and reality. By seeing representation as part of an idealised model, deflationary realism avoids (...)
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  • Syntax, Semantics, and Computer Programs.William J. Rapaport - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):309-321.
    Turner argues that computer programs must have purposes, that implementation is not a kind of semantics, and that computers might need to understand what they do. I respectfully disagree: Computer programs need not have purposes, implementation is a kind of semantic interpretation, and neither human computers nor computing machines need to understand what they do.
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  • A Deflationary Account of Mental Representation.Frances Egan - forthcoming - In Joulia Smortchkova, Krzysztof Dolega & Tobias Schlicht (eds.), Mental Representations. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Among the cognitive capacities of evolved creatures is the capacity to represent. Theories in cognitive neuroscience typically explain our manifest representational capacities by positing internal representations, but there is little agreement about how these representations function, especially with the relatively recent proliferation of connectionist, dynamical, embodied, and enactive approaches to cognition. In this talk I sketch an account of the nature and function of representation in cognitive neuroscience that couples a realist construal of representational vehicles with a pragmatic account of (...)
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  • Content is Pragmatic: Comments on Nicholas Shea's Representation in Cognitive Science.Frances Egan - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (3):368-376.
    Nicholas Shea offers Varitel Semantics as a naturalistic account of mental content. I argue that the account secures determinate content only by appeal to pragmatic considerations, and so it fails to respect naturalism. But that is fine, because representational content is not, strictly speaking, necessary for explanation in cognitive science. Even in Shea’s own account, content serves only a variety of heuristic functions.
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  • Towards a Cognitive Neuroscience of Intentionality.Alex Morgan & Gualtiero Piccinini - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (1):119-139.
    We situate the debate on intentionality within the rise of cognitive neuroscience and argue that cognitive neuroscience can explain intentionality. We discuss the explanatory significance of ascribing intentionality to representations. At first, we focus on views that attempt to render such ascriptions naturalistic by construing them in a deflationary or merely pragmatic way. We then contrast these views with staunchly realist views that attempt to naturalize intentionality by developing theories of content for representations in terms of information and biological function. (...)
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  • Neural Representations Observed.Eric Thomson & Gualtiero Piccinini - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (1):191-235.
    The historical debate on representation in cognitive science and neuroscience construes representations as theoretical posits and discusses the degree to which we have reason to posit them. We reject the premise of that debate. We argue that experimental neuroscientists routinely observe and manipulate neural representations in their laboratory. Therefore, neural representations are as real as neurons, action potentials, or any other well-established entities in our ontology.
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  • Representational Kinds.Joulia Smortchkova & Michael Murez - forthcoming - In Joulia Smortchkova, Krzysztof Dolega & Tobias Schlicht (eds.), What are Mental Representations? New York, État de New York, États-Unis:
    Many debates in philosophy focus on whether folk or scientific psychological notions pick out cognitive natural kinds. Examples include memory, emotions and concepts. A potentially interesting type of kind is: kinds of mental representations (as opposed, for example, to kinds of psychological faculties). In this chapter we outline a proposal for a theory of representational kinds in cognitive science. We argue that the explanatory role of representational kinds in scientific theories, in conjunction with a mainstream approach to explanation in cognitive (...)
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  • Communities of Judgment : Towards a Teleosemantic Theory of Moral Thought and Discourse.Karl Bergman - 2019 - Dissertation, Uppsala University
    This thesis offers a teleosemantic account of moral discourse and judgment. It develops a number of views about the function and content of moral judgments and the nature of moral discourse based on Ruth Millikan’s theory of intentional content and the functions of intentional attitudes. Non-cognitivists in meta-ethics have argued that moral judgments are more akin to desires and other motivational attitudes than to descriptive beliefs. I argue that teleosemantics allows us to assign descriptive content to motivational attitudes and hence (...)
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  • Content Pragmatism Defended.Dimitri Coelho Mollo - 2020 - Topoi 39 (1):103-113.
    In the literature on the nature and role of cognitive representation, three positions are taken across the conceptual landscape: robust realism, primitivism, and eliminativism. Recently, a fourth alternative that tries to avoid the shortcomings of traditional views has been proposed: content pragmatism. My aim is to defend pragmatism about content against some recent objections moved against the view. According to these objections, content pragmatism fails to capture the role played by representation in the cognitive sciences; and/or is an unstable view (...)
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  • Bodily Skill and Internal Representation in Sensorimotor Perception.David Silverman - 2018 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17 (1):157-173.
    The sensorimotor theory of perceptual experience claims that perception is constituted by bodily interaction with the environment, drawing on practical knowledge of the systematic ways that sensory inputs are disposed to change as a result of movement. Despite the theory’s associations with enactivism, it is sometimes claimed that the appeal to ‘knowledge’ means that the theory is committed to giving an essential theoretical role to internal representation, and therefore to a form of orthodox cognitive science. This paper defends the role (...)
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  • The Nature and Function of Content in Computational Models.Frances Egan - 2018 - In Mark Sprevak & Matteo Colombo (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Computational Mind. Routledge.
    Much of computational cognitive science construes human cognitive capacities as representational capacities, or as involving representation in some way. Computational theories of vision, for example, typically posit structures that represent edges in the distal scene. Neurons are often said to represent elements of their receptive fields. Despite the ubiquity of representational talk in computational theorizing there is surprisingly little consensus about how such claims are to be understood. The point of this chapter is to sketch an account of the nature (...)
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  • Representation in Cognitive Science.Nicholas Shea - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    How can we think about things in the outside world? There is still no widely accepted theory of how mental representations get their meaning. In light of pioneering research, Nicholas Shea develops a naturalistic account of the nature of mental representation with a firm focus on the subpersonal representations that pervade the cognitive sciences.
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  • Just How Conservative is Conservative Predictive Processing?Paweł Gładziejewski - 2017 - Hybris. Revista de Filosofía 38:98-122.
    Predictive Processing (PP) framework construes perception and action (and perhaps other cognitive phenomena) as a matter of minimizing prediction error, i.e. the mismatch between the sensory input and sensory predictions generated by a hierarchically organized statistical model. There is a question of how PP fits into the debate between traditional, neurocentric and representation-heavy approaches in cognitive science and those approaches that see cognition as embodied, environmentally embedded, extended and (largely) representation-free. In the present paper, I aim to investigate and clarify (...)
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  • Toward a Mature Science of Consciousness.Wanja Wiese - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • Explaining Representation: A Reply to Matthen.Frances Egan - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (1):137-142.
    Mohan Matthen has failed to understand the position I develop and defend in “How to Think about Mental Content.” No doubt some of the fault lies with my exposition, though Matthen often misconstrues passages that are clear in context. He construes clarifications and elaborations of my argument to be “concessions.” Rather than dwell too much on specific misunderstandings of my explanatory project and its attendant claims, I will focus on the main points of disagreement.RepresentationalismMy project in the paper is to (...)
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  • Structural Representations: Causally Relevant and Different From Detectors.Paweł Gładziejewski & Marcin Miłkowski - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (3):337-355.
    This paper centers around the notion that internal, mental representations are grounded in structural similarity, i.e., that they are so-called S-representations. We show how S-representations may be causally relevant and argue that they are distinct from mere detectors. First, using the neomechanist theory of explanation and the interventionist account of causal relevance, we provide a precise interpretation of the claim that in S-representations, structural similarity serves as a “fuel of success”, i.e., a relation that is exploitable for the representation using (...)
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  • Enacting Anti-Representationalism. The Scope and the Limits of Enactive Critiques of Representationalism.Pierre Steiner - 2014 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies (2):43-86.
    I propose a systematic survey of the various attitudes proponents of enaction (or enactivism) entertained or are entertaining towards representationalism and towards the use of the concept “mental representation” in cognitive science. For the sake of clarity, a set of distinctions between different varieties of representationalism and anti-representationalism are presented. I also recapitulate and discuss some anti-representationalist trends and strategies one can find the enactive literature, before focusing on some possible limitations of eliminativist versions of enactive anti-representationalism. These limitations are (...)
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  • The Fallacy of the Homuncular Fallacy.Carrie Figdor - 2018 - Belgrade Philosophical Annual 31:41-56.
    A leading theoretical framework for naturalistic explanation of mind holds that we explain the mind by positing progressively "stupider" capacities ("homunculi") until the mind is "discharged" by means of capacities that are not intelligent at all. The so-called homuncular fallacy involves violating this procedure by positing the same capacities at subpersonal levels. I argue that the homuncular fallacy is not a fallacy, and that modern-day homunculi are idle posits. I propose an alternative view of what naturalism requires that reflects how (...)
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  • Vanilla PP for Philosophers: A Primer on Predictive Processing.Wanja Wiese & Thomas Metzinger - 2017 - Philosophy and Predictive Processing.
    The goal of this short chapter, aimed at philosophers, is to provide an overview and brief explanation of some central concepts involved in predictive processing (PP). Even those who consider themselves experts on the topic may find it helpful to see how the central terms are used in this collection. To keep things simple, we will first informally define a set of features important to predictive processing, supplemented by some short explanations and an alphabetic glossary. -/- The features described here (...)
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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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  • Representation and Mental Representation.Robert D. Rupert - 2018 - Philosophical Explorations 21 (2):204-225.
    This paper engages critically with anti-representationalist arguments pressed by prominent enactivists and their allies. The arguments in question are meant to show that the “as-such” and “job-description” problems constitute insurmountable challenges to causal-informational theories of mental content. In response to these challenges, a positive account of what makes a physical or computational structure a mental representation is proposed; the positive account is inspired partly by Dretske’s views about content and partly by the role of mental representations in contemporary cognitive scientific (...)
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  • Prospects of Enactivist Approaches to Intentionality and Cognition.Tobias Schlicht & Tobias Starzak - forthcoming - Synthese:1-25.
    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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  • Competence to Know.Lisa Miracchi - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (1):29-56.
    I argue against traditional virtue epistemology on which knowledge is a success due to a competence to believe truly, by revealing an in-principle problem with the traditional virtue epistemologist’s explanation of Gettier cases. The argument eliminates one of the last plausible explanation of Gettier cases, and so of knowledge, in terms of non-factive mental states and non-mental conditions. I then I develop and defend a different kind of virtue epistemology, on which knowledge is an exercise of a competence to know. (...)
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  • The Content of Marr’s Information-Processing Framework.J. Brendan Ritchie - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (7):1078-1099.
    ABSTRACTThe seminal work of David Marr, popularized in his classic work Vision, continues to exert a major influence on both cognitive science and philosophy. The interpretation of his work also co...
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  • A Competence Framework for Artificial Intelligence Research.Lisa Miracchi - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (5):588-633.
    ABSTRACTWhile over the last few decades AI research has largely focused on building tools and applications, recent technological developments have prompted a resurgence of interest in building a genuinely intelligent artificial agent – one that has a mind in the same sense that humans and animals do. In this paper, I offer a theoretical and methodological framework for this project of investigating “artificial minded intelligence” that can help to unify existing approaches and provide new avenues for research. I first outline (...)
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  • Predictive Processing and the Representation Wars.Daniel Williams - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (1):141-172.
    Clark has recently suggested that predictive processing advances a theory of neural function with the resources to put an ecumenical end to the “representation wars” of recent cognitive science. In this paper I defend and develop this suggestion. First, I broaden the representation wars to include three foundational challenges to representational cognitive science. Second, I articulate three features of predictive processing’s account of internal representation that distinguish it from more orthodox representationalist frameworks. Specifically, I argue that it posits a resemblance-based (...)
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  • From Symbols to Icons: The Return of Resemblance in the Cognitive Neuroscience Revolution.Daniel Williams & Lincoln Colling - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):1941-1967.
    We argue that one important aspect of the “cognitive neuroscience revolution” identified by Boone and Piccinini :1509–1534. doi: 10.1007/s11229-015-0783-4, 2015) is a dramatic shift away from thinking of cognitive representations as arbitrary symbols towards thinking of them as icons that replicate structural characteristics of their targets. We argue that this shift has been driven both “from below” and “from above”—that is, from a greater appreciation of what mechanistic explanation of information-processing systems involves, and from a greater appreciation of the problems (...)
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  • Predictive Processing and the Representation Wars: A Victory for the Eliminativist.Adrian Downey - 2018 - Synthese 195 (12):5115-5139.
    In this paper I argue that, by combining eliminativist and fictionalist approaches toward the sub-personal representational posits of predictive processing, we arrive at an empirically robust and yet metaphysically innocuous cognitive scientific framework. I begin the paper by providing a non-representational account of the five key posits of predictive processing. Then, I motivate a fictionalist approach toward the remaining indispensable representational posits of predictive processing, and explain how representation can play an epistemologically indispensable role within predictive processing explanations without thereby (...)
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  • Generative Explanation in Cognitive Science and the Hard Problem of Consciousness.Lisa Miracchi - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 31 (1):267-291.
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  • Pragmatism and the Predictive Mind.Daniel Williams - 2018 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17 (5):835-859.
    Predictive processing and its apparent commitment to explaining cognition in terms of Bayesian inference over hierarchical generative models seems to flatly contradict the pragmatist conception of mind and experience. Against this, I argue that this appearance results from philosophical overlays at odd with the science itself, and that the two frameworks are in fact well-poised for mutually beneficial theoretical exchange. Specifically, I argue: first, that predictive processing illuminates pragmatism’s commitment to both the primacy of pragmatic coping in accounts of the (...)
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  • What Are the Contents of Representations in Predictive Processing?Wanja Wiese - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (4):715-736.
    Paweł Gładziejewski has recently argued that the framework of predictive processing postulates genuine representations. His focus is on establishing that certain structures posited by PP actually play a representational role. The goal of this paper is to promote this discussion by exploring the contents of representations posited by PP. Gładziejewski already points out that structural theories of representational content can successfully be applied to PP. Here, I propose to make the treatment slightly more rigorous by invoking Francis Egan’s distinction between (...)
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  • Idiolects.Alex Barber - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An idiolect, if there is such a thing, is a language that can be characterised exhaustively in terms of intrinsic properties of some single person at a time, a person whose idiolect it is at that time. The force of ‘intrinsic’ is that the characterisation ought not to turn on features of the person's wider linguistic community. Some think that this notion of an idiolect is unstable, and instead use ‘idiolect’ to describe a person's incomplete or erroneous grasp of their (...)
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  • The Computational Theory of Mind.Steven Horst - 2005 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Over the past thirty years, it is been common to hear the mind likened to a digital computer. This essay is concerned with a particular philosophical view that holds that the mind literally is a digital computer (in a specific sense of “computer” to be developed), and that thought literally is a kind of computation. This view—which will be called the “Computational Theory of Mind” (CTM)—is thus to be distinguished from other and broader attempts to connect the mind with computation, (...)
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