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Mental Structures

Noûs (3):649-677 (2020)

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  1. On the Epistemic Significance of Perceptual Structure.Dominic Alford-Duguid - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 74 (1):1-23.
    Our awareness of the boundedness of the spatial sensory field—a paradigmatic structural feature of visual experience—possesses a distinctive epistemic role. Properly understood, this result undermines a widely assumed picture of how visual experience permits us to learn about the world. This paper defends an alternative picture in which visual experience provides at least two kinds of non-inferential justification for beliefs about the external world. Accommodating this justification in turn requires recognising a new way for visual experience to encode information about (...)
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  • Practical concepts and productive reasoning.Carlotta Pavese - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7659-7688.
    Can we think of a task in a distinctively practical way? Can there be practical concepts? In recent years, epistemologists, philosophers of mind, as well as philosophers of psychology have appealed to practical concepts in characterizing the content of know-how or in explaining certain features of skilled action. However, reasons for positing practical concepts are rarely discussed in a systematic fashion. This paper advances a novel argument for the psychological reality of practical concepts that relies on evidence for a distinctively (...)
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  • Pictorial Syntax.Kevin J. Lande - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    It is commonly assumed that images, whether in the world or in the head, do not have a privileged analysis into constituent parts. They are thought to lack the sort of syntactic structure necessary for representing complex contents and entering into sophisticated patterns of inference. I reject this assumption. “Image grammars” are models in computer vision that articulate systematic principles governing the form and content of images. These models are empirically credible and can be construed as literal grammars for images. (...)
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  • Contours of Vision: Towards a Compositional Semantics of Perception.Kevin J. Lande - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Mental capacities for perceiving, remembering, thinking, and planning involve the processing of structured mental representations. A compositional semantics of such representations would explain how the content of any given representation is determined by the contents of its constituents and their mode of combination. While many have argued that semantic theories of mental representations would have broad value for understanding the mind, there have been few attempts to develop such theories in a systematic and empirically constrained way. This paper contributes to (...)
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  • The linguistic fallacy & the complex content of emotion.Kris Goffin - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.
    Some argue that emotions represent so-called core relational themes. A core relational theme describes a relation between a particular event and an organism’s well-being. For instance, the core relational theme of anger is ‘a demeaning offense against me and mine’. I argue that a core relational theme is a summary or generalization of a more complex mental content. Defenders of the Simple Core Relational Theme View reject the idea that emotional content is complex. Instead, they argue that the content of (...)
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  • Compositionality and constituent structure in the analogue mind.Sam Clarke - 2023 - Philosophical Perspectives 37 (1):90-118.
    I argue that analogue mental representations possess a canonical decomposition into privileged constituents from which they compose. I motivate this suggestion, and rebut arguments to the contrary, through reflection on the approximate number system, whose representations are widely expected to have an analogue format. I then argue that arguments for the compositionality and constituent structure of these analogue representations generalize to other analogue mental representations posited in the human mind, such as those in early vision and visual imagery.
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  • Numbers, numerosities, and new directions.Jacob Beck & Sam Clarke - 2021 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 44:1-20.
    In our target article, we argued that the number sense represents natural and rational numbers. Here, we respond to the 26 commentaries we received, highlighting new directions for empirical and theoretical research. We discuss two background assumptions, arguments against the number sense, whether the approximate number system represents numbers or numerosities, and why the ANS represents rational numbers.
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  • The Formats of Cognitive Representation: A Computational Account.Dimitri Coelho Mollo & Alfredo Vernazzani - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Cognitive representations are typically analysed in terms of content, vehicle and format. While current work on formats appeals to intuitions about external representations, such as words and maps, in this paper we develop a computational view of formats that does not rely on intuitions. In our view, formats are individuated by the computational profiles of vehicles, i.e., the set of constraints that fix the computational transformations vehicles can undergo. The resulting picture is strongly pluralistic, it makes space for a variety (...)
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  • Compositionality and Context in Perception (draft).Kevin J. Lande - manuscript
    A compositional theory of perceptual representations would explain how the accuracy conditions of a given type of perceptual state depend on the contents of constituent perceptual representations and the way those constituents are structurally related. Such a theory would offer a basic framework for understanding the nature, grounds, and epistemic significance of perception. But an adequate semantics of perceptual representations must accommodate the holistic nature of perception. In particular, perception is replete with context effects, in which the way one perceptually (...)
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