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Representation in Cognitive Science

Oxford University Press (2018)

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  1. Representing the Mind as Such in Infancy.Peter Carruthers - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (4):765-781.
    Tyler Burge claims in a recent high-profile publication that none of the existing evidence for mental-state attribution by children prior to the age of four or five really supports such a conclusion; and he makes this claim, not just for beliefs, but for mental states of all sorts. In its place, he offers an explanatory framework according to which infants and young children attribute mere information-registering states and teleologically-characterized motivational states, which are said to lack the defining properties of the (...)
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  • What Makes Neurophysiology Meaningful? Semantic Content Ascriptions in Insect Navigation Research.Kelle Dhein - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (5):1-22.
    In the course of investigating the living world, biologists regularly attribute semantic content to the phenomena they study. In this paper, I examine the case of a contemporary research program studying the navigation behaviors of ants and develop an account of the norms governing researchers’ ascriptions of semantic content in their research practices. The account holds that researchers assign semantic content to behaviors that reliably achieve a difficult goal-directed function, and it also suggests a productive role for attributions of semantic (...)
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  • Does Proper Function Come in Degrees?John Matthewson - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (4):1-18.
    Natural selection comes in degrees. Some biological traits are subjected to stronger selective force than others, selection on particular traits waxes and wanes over time, and some groups can only undergo an attenuated kind of selective process. This has downstream consequences for any notions that are standardly treated as binary but depend on natural selection. For instance, the proper function of a biological structure can be defined as what caused that structure to be retained by natural selection in the past. (...)
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  • The State Space of Artificial Intelligence.Holger Lyre - 2020 - Minds and Machines 30 (3):325-347.
    The goal of the paper is to develop and propose a general model of the state space of AI. Given the breathtaking progress in AI research and technologies in recent years, such conceptual work is of substantial theoretical interest. The present AI hype is mainly driven by the triumph of deep learning neural networks. As the distinguishing feature of such networks is the ability to self-learn, self-learning is identified as one important dimension of the AI state space. Another dimension is (...)
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  • The Descent of Preferences.David Spurrett - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz020.
    More attention has been devoted to providing evolutionary accounts of the development of beliefs, or belief-like states, than for desires or preferences. Here I articulate and defend an evolutionary rationale for the development of psychologically real preference states. Preferences token or represent the expected values available actions given discriminated states of world and agent. The argument is an application of the ‘environmental complexity thesis’ found in Godfrey-Smith and Sterelny, although my conclusions differ from Sterelny’s. I argue that tokening expected utilities (...)
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  • A Role for Representations in Inflexible Behavior.Todd Ganson - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (4):1-18.
    Representationalists have routinely expressed skepticism about the idea that inflexible responses to stimuli are to be explained in representational terms. Representations are supposed to be more than just causal mediators in the chain of events stretching from stimulus to response, and it is difficult to see how the sensory states driving reflexes are doing more than playing the role of causal intermediaries. One popular strategy for distinguishing representations from mere causal mediators is to require that representations are decoupled from specific (...)
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  • 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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  • Two Kinds of Information Processing in Cognition.Mark Sprevak - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (3):591-611.
    What is the relationship between information and representation? Dating back at least to Dretske, an influential answer has been that information is a rung on a ladder that gets one to representation. Representation is information, or representation is information plus some other ingredient. In this paper, I argue that this approach oversimplifies the relationship between information and representation. If one takes current probabilistic models of cognition seriously, information is connected to representation in a new way. It enters as a property (...)
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  • The Self, Self-Knowledge, and a Flattened Path to Self-Improvement.Robert D. Rupert - manuscript
    This essay explores the connection between theories of the self and theories of self-knowledge, arguing (a) that empirical results strongly support a certain negative thesis about the self, a thesis about what the self isn’t, and (b) that a more promising account of the self makes available unorthodox – but likely apt – ways of characterizing self-knowledge. Regarding (a), I argue that the human self does not appear at a personal level the autonomous (or quasi-autonomous) status of which might provide (...)
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  • In Defense of the Semantic View of Computation.Oron Shagrir - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):4083-4108.
    The semantic view of computation is the claim that semantic properties play an essential role in the individuation of physical computing systems such as laptops and brains. The main argument for the semantic view rests on the fact that some physical systems simultaneously implement different automata at the same time, in the same space, and even in the very same physical properties. Recently, several authors have challenged this argument. They accept the premise of simultaneous implementation but reject the semantic conclusion. (...)
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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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  • 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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  • The Descent of Preferences.David Spurrett - manuscript
    [A slightly revised version of this paper has been accepted by the BJPS] More attention has been devoted to providing evolutionary scenarios accounting for the development of beliefs, or belief-like states, than for desires or preferences. Here I articulate and defend an evolutionary rationale for the development of psychologically real preference states. Preferences token or represent the expected values of discriminated states, available actions, or action-state pairings. The argument is an application the ‘environmental complexity thesis’ found in Godfrey-Smith and Sterelny, (...)
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  • Mental Structures.Kevin J. Lande - 2020 - Noûs.
    An ongoing philosophical discussion concerns how various types of mental states fall within broad representational genera—for example, whether perceptual states are “iconic” or “sentential,” “analog” or “digital,” and so on. Here, I examine the grounds for making much more specific claims about how mental states are structured from constituent parts. For example, the state I am in when I perceive the shape of a mountain ridge may have as constituent parts my representations of the shapes of each peak and saddle (...)
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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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