Publication 4897

Clark A. & Toribio J. (1994) Doing without representing? Synthese 101(3): 401–431. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/4897
Connectionism and classicism, it generally appears, have at least this much in common: both place some notion of internal representation at the heart of a scientific study of mind. In recent years, however, a much more radical view has gained increasing popularity. This view calls into question the commitment to internal representation itself. More strikingly still, this new wave of anti-representationalism is rooted not in ‘armchair’ theorizing but in practical attempts to model and understand intelligent, adaptive be-havior. In this paper we first present, and then critically assess, a variety of recent antirepresentationalist treatments. We suggest that so far, at least, the sceptical rhetoric outpaces both evidence and argument. Some probable causes of this premature scepticism are isolated. Nonetheless, the anti-representationalist challenge is shown to be both important and progressive insofar as it forces us to see beyond the bare representa-tional/non-representational dichotomy and to recognize instead a rich continuum of degrees and types of representationality.

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