Title

Must Cognition Be Representational?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-21-2015

Publication Title

Synthese

Volume

194

Issue

11

First page number:

4197

Last page number:

4214

Abstract

In various contexts and for various reasons, writers often define cognitive processes and architectures as those involving representational states and structures. Similarly, cognitive theories are also often delineated as those that invoke representations. In this paper, I present several reasons for rejecting this way of demarcating the cognitive. Some of the reasons against defining cognition in representational terms are that doing so needlessly restricts our theorizing, it undermines the empirical status of the representational theory of mind, and it encourages wildly deflationary and explanatorily vacuous conceptions of representation. After criticizing this outlook, I sketch alternative ways we might try to capture what is distinctive about cognition and cognitive theorizing.

Keywords

Cognition, Demarcation criteria, Marr’s levels, Representationalism, Representation demarcation thesis, Folk psychology

Language

eng

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