Satisfaction conditions in anticipatory mechanisms

Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):709-728 (2015)
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The purpose of this paper is to present a general mechanistic framework for analyzing causal representational claims, and offer a way to distinguish genuinely representational explanations from those that invoke representations for honorific purposes. It is usually agreed that rats are capable of navigation because they maintain a cognitive map of their environment. Exactly how and why their neural states give rise to mental representations is a matter of an ongoing debate. I will show that anticipatory mechanisms involved in rats’ evaluation of possible routes give rise to satisfaction conditions of contents, and this is why they are representationally relevant for explaining and predicting rats’ behavior. I argue that a naturalistic account of satisfaction conditions of contents answers the most important objections of antirepresentationalists
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Computation and Cognition.Pylyshyn, Zenon W.

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