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7.1i. Representation in Cognitive Science (Representation in Cognitive Science on PhilPapers)

Balog, Katalin (2009). Jerry Fodor on Non-conceptual Content. Synthese 167 (3).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Proponents of non-conceptual content have recruited it for various philosophical jobs. Some epistemologists have suggested that it may play the role of “the given” that Sellars is supposed to have exorcised from philosophy. Some philosophers of mind (e.g., Dretske) have suggested that it plays an important role in the project of naturalizing semantics as a kind of halfway between merely information bearing and possessing conceptual content. Here I will focus on a recent proposal by Jerry Fodor. In a recent paper he characterizes non-conceptual content in a particular way and argues that it is plausible that it plays an explanatory role in accounting for certain auditory and visual phenomena. So he thinks that there is reason to believe that there is non-conceptual content. On the other hand, Fodor thinks that non-conceptual content has a limited role. It occurs only in the very early stages of perceptual processing prior to conscious awareness. My paper is examines Fodor’s characterization of non-conceptual content and his claims for its explanatory importance. I also discuss if Fodor has made a case for limiting non-conceptual content to non-conscious, sub-personal mental states.
Gangemi, Aldo (2009). What’s in a Schema? A Formal Metamodel for ECG and FrameNet. Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
Garzon, Francisco Calvo & Rodriguez, Angel Garcia (2009). Where is cognitive science heading? Minds and Machines.   (Google)
Abstract: According to Ramsey (Representation reconsidered, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2007), only classical cognitive science, with the related notions of input–output and structural representations, meets the job description challenge (the challenge to show that a certain structure or process serves a representational role at the subpersonal level). By contrast, connectionism and other nonclassical models, insofar as they exploit receptor and tacit notions of representation, are not genuinely representational. As a result, Ramsey submits, cognitive science is taking a U-turn from representationalism back to behaviourism, thus presupposing that (1) the emergence of cognitivism capitalized on the concept of representation, and that (2) the materialization of nonclassical cognitive science involves a return to some form of pre-cognitivist behaviourism. We argue against both (1) and (2), by questioning Ramsey’s divide between classical and representational, versus nonclassical and nonrepresentational, cognitive models. For, firstly, connectionist and other nonclassical accounts have the resources to exploit the notion of a structural isomorphism, like classical accounts (the beefing-up strategy); and, secondly, insofar as input–output and structural representations refer to a cognitive agent, classical explanations fail to meet the job description challenge (the deflationary strategy). Both strategies work independently of each other: if the deflationary strategy succeeds, contra (1), cognitivism has failed to capitalize on the relevant concept of representation; if the beefing-up strategy is sound, contra (2), the return to a pre-cognitivist era cancels out.
Garzón, Francisco Calvo & Rodríguez, Ángel García (2009). Where is cognitive science heading? Minds and Machines 19 (3).   (Google)
Abstract: According to Ramsey (Representation reconsidered, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2007 ), only classical cognitive science, with the related notions of input–output and structural representations, meets the job description challenge (the challenge to show that a certain structure or process serves a representational role at the subpersonal level). By contrast, connectionism and other nonclassical models, insofar as they exploit receptor and tacit notions of representation, are not genuinely representational. As a result, Ramsey submits, cognitive science is taking a U-turn from representationalism back to behaviourism, thus presupposing that (1) the emergence of cognitivism capitalized on the concept of representation, and that (2) the materialization of nonclassical cognitive science involves a return to some form of pre-cognitivist behaviourism. We argue against both (1) and (2), by questioning Ramsey’s divide between classical and representational, versus nonclassical and nonrepresentational, cognitive models. For, firstly, connectionist and other nonclassical accounts have the resources to exploit the notion of a structural isomorphism, like classical accounts (the beefing-up strategy); and, secondly, insofar as input–output and structural representations refer to a cognitive agent, classical explanations fail to meet the job description challenge (the deflationary strategy). Both strategies work independently of each other: if the deflationary strategy succeeds, contra (1), cognitivism has failed to capitalize on the relevant concept of representation; if the beefing-up strategy is sound, contra (2), the return to a pre-cognitivist era cancels out
Gauker, Christopher (2007). A critique of the similarity space theory of concepts. Mind and Language 22 (4):317–345.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: A similarity space is a hyperspace in which the dimensions represent various dimensions on which objects may differ. The similarity space theory of concepts is the thesis that concepts are regions of similarity spaces that are somehow realized in the brain. Proponents of such a theory of concepts include Paul Churchland and Peter Gärdenfors. This paper argues that the similarity space theory of concepts is mistaken because regions of similarity spaces cannot serve as the components of judgments. It emerges that although similarity spaces cannot model concepts, they may model a kind of nonconceptual representation
Kirsh, Marvin (ms). Apparency and Actuality.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Apparency and actuality are discussed with respect to science, genetics, evolution, cognition and perception. Rules for a (sub)set of actual/allowable sets of entities and objects from a total set that is based on differences and contrasts extracted from perceptual experience of the world elucidate tenable combinations/recombinations from a total of the transparent(history/past dependant) and the apparent as they can be construed to comprise the actual/real faces of perception. The elements of dreams, language, symbolisms, abstractions are proposed to encompass to encompass a total set of plausible apparencies. Nature from which both internal and external life is mirrored at the simplest structural level is propose to be constructed similarly-to physically possess also concepts and abstractions as states that reflect differences/combinations/recombinations parametrically that are emerged from the parameters associated with particular circumstances. This view is dependant upon, for its' conceptual soundness, a total construction of the world that descends, rather than ascends, in structural complexity and diversity and which is innately divided and compartmentalized in sequence from a more complex uniquely existing state describable singularly as a place of force and proximities form which all processes ensue. Integration of sound, light, into sensory experience and language is proposed to be a natural process of the accomplishment of new proximities/states from total apparent plausibility’s (past and actual combined) verses the actually(past and present) existing. Two potential important aspects of this scheme exist with regards to evolution theory: 1) a very relative dynamic state of change and emergence is plausible 2) a consistent identity of objects and entities is resolvable that is not based on apparent observations or partial history of events but on a set of total states and processes occurred during the progression to an actual condition. This is suggested to be unique for each and every actual situation as an identifier and is proposed to account for allowances with respect to new potentials. "Self" in this sense can assume more involved relations with self more than with the more distant, hence alien, otherwise arrived at proximal components, components of the environment, inert or otherwise. An example is presented with respect to solar energies and their toxicity to cause disturbances/disease upon internal exposure-as an unnaturally arrived imbalance/proximity between the transparent (history dependant) and the apparent-together comprising, in this situation, a disturbed actual state that can encompass also distortions in the perception of time. Time is proposed to be delineated as a contrast of proximal and distal factors mutually involved with both transparent (genealogically) oriented parameters, and empirically apparent factors that together comprise the actual, as well as those more immediate proximal and distal components(e.g. solar radiation, light-the less structured ambient verse those elements that comprise visual perceptions) as they influence the senses. Each entity species in this scheme possesses its’ own characteristic sense of time along with contemporary factors that influence the perception of time state, state of health and disturbance.
Kirsh, David (2003). Implicit and Explicit Representation. In Implicit and Explicit Representation.   (Google)
Abstract: The degree to which information is encoded explicitly in a representation is related to the computational cost of recovering or using the information. Knowledge that is implicit in a system need not be represented at all, even implicitly, if the cost of recovering it is prohibitive.
Kirsh, Marvin Eli (2008). Induction, space and positive ethics. Ludus Vitais (30):225-228.   (Google)
Abstract:      One may purport that ones awareness of space for scientific purposes comes about from a potential awareness of its'absence that is derived from times when ones attention is not focused on it. Yet simply one might extract the notion that space and entailed properties of it are elemental - i.e. conceptually non reducible and that from which all emanates. The words non-ethical induction, entailing the existence of ethical induction, if compared in a corresponding manner (to indivisible space and the attentive awareness of it), also entail that the ethics of induction in science are dependant on attentive focus. In the following description I will attempt to draw some logical conclusions employing this analogy regardless of its' potential validity or invalidity and then relate these conclusions to actual circumstances in order to lend them substance
Kirsh, David (2009). Projections, Problem Space, and Anchoring. In N. A. Taatgen & H. van Rijn (eds.), Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.   (Google)
Abstract: When people make sense of situations, illustrations, instructions and problems they do more than just think with their heads. They gesture, talk, point, annotate, make notes and so on. What extra do they get from interacting with their environment in this way? To study this fundamental problem, I looked at how people project structure onto geometric drawings, visual proofs, and games like tic tac toe. Two experiments were run to learn more about projection. Projection is a special capacity, similar to perception, but less tied to what is in the environment. Projection, unlike pure imagery, requires external structure to anchor it, but it adds ‘mental’ structure to the external scene much like an augmented reality system adds structure to an outside scene. A person projects when they look at a chessboard and can see where a knight may be moved. Because of the cognitive costs of sustaining and extending projection, humans make some of their projections real. They create structure externally. They move the piece, they talk, point, notate, represent. Much of our interactivity during sense making and problem solving involves a cycle of projecting then creating structure.
Risjord, Mark (2004). The limits of cognitive theory in anthropology. Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):281 – 297.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The cognitive revolution in psychology was a significant advance in our thinking about the mind. Philosophers and social scientists have looked to the cognitive sciences with the hope that the social world will yield to similar explanatory strategies. Dan Sperber has argued for a programme that would conceptualize the entire domain of anthropological theory in cognitive terms. Sperber's 'epidemiology' specifically excludes interpretive, structuralist and functionalist theories. This essay evaluates Sperber's epidemiological approach to anthropological theory. It argues that as a programme for anthropological theorizing, Sperber's epidemiology could not be empirically grounded. Cognitive explanations depend on prior interpretations. While interpretation is a kind of theorizing, it cannot be assimilated to cognitive explanation. The essay concludes by sketching an explanatory coherence framework in which ethnographic interpretation and cognitive explanation are seen as parts of a unified body of anthropological theorizing
Rupert, Robert (2008). Frege’s puzzle and Frege cases: Defending a quasi-syntactic solution. Cognitive Systems Research 9:76-91.   (Google)
Schneider, Susan, Yes, it does: A diatribe on Jerry Fodor's the mind doesn't work that way.   (Google)
Abstract: The Mind Doesn’t Work That Way is an expose of certain theoretical problems in cognitive science, and in particular, problems that concern the Classical Computational Theory of Mind (CTM). The problems that Fodor worries plague CTM divide into two kinds, and both purport to show that the success of cognitive science will likely be limited to the modules. The first sort of problem concerns what Fodor has called “global properties”; features that a mental sentence has which depend on how the sentence interacts with a larger plan (i.e., set of sentences), rather than the type identity of the sentence alone. The second problem concerns what many have called, “The Relevance Problem”: the problem of whether and how humans determine what is relevant in a computational manner. However, I argue that the problem that Fodor believes global properties pose for CTM is a non-problem, and that further, while the relevance problem is a serious research issue, it does not justify the grim view that cognitive science, and CTM in particular, will likely fail to explain cognition
Thomas, Nigel (ms). A note on "schema" and "image schema".   (Google)
Abstract: The term schema (plural: schemata, or sometimes schemas) is widely used in cognitive psychology and the cognitive sciences generally to designate "psychological constructs that are postulated to account for the molar forms of human generic knowledge" (Brewer, 1999). The vagueness of this definition is no accident (and no sort of failing on Brewer's part). In fact schema is used in such very different ways by different cognitive theorists that the term has become quite notorious for its ambiguity (Miller, Polson, & Kintsch, 1984 p. 6). However, a concept of..
Thomas, Nigel J. T. (ms). Are There People Who Do Not Experience Imagery? (And why does it matter?).   (Google)
Abstract: To the best of my knowledge, with the exception of Galton's original work (1880, 1883), Sommer's brief case study (1978), and Faw's (1997, 2009) articles, this is the only really substantial discussion of the phenomenon of non-brain-damaged "non-imagers" available anywhere.
Vicente, Agustín & Martínez-manrique, Fernando (2008). Thought, language, and the argument from explicitness. Metaphilosophy 39 (3):381–401.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This article deals with the relationship between language and thought, focusing on the question of whether language can be a vehicle of thought, as, for example, Peter Carruthers has claimed. We develop and examine a powerful argument—the "argument from explicitness"—against this cognitive role of language. The premises of the argument are just two: (1) the vehicle of thought has to be explicit, and (2) natural languages are not explicit. We explain what these simple premises mean and why we should believe they are true. Finally, we argue that even though the argument from explicitness shows that natural language cannot be a vehicle of thought, there is a cognitive function for language