Publication 5823

Garzón F. C. (2008) Towards a general theory of antirepresentationalism. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59(3): 259–292. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/5823
This work represents an attempt to stake out the landscape for dynamicism based on a radical dismissal of the information-processing paradigm that dominates the philosophy of cognitive science. In Section 2, after setting up the basic toolkit of a theory of minimal representationalism, I introduce the central tenets of dynamic systems theory (DST) by discussing recent research in the dynamics of embodiment (Thelen et al. [2001]) in the perseverative-reaching literature. A recent proposal on the dynamics of representation – the dynamic field approach (Spencer and Scho ̈ner [2003]) – according to which the alleged representational gap between DST and representational theories of cognition needs to be bridged in order to explain higher-order cognitive activity will then be reviewed. In Section 3 I shall argue that Spencer and Scho ̈ ner’s attempt to bridge the representational gap may jeopardize the whole (antirepresentationalist) spirit of the DST project. In order to show why, I shall introduce the key concepts of ‘‘reliability of environment’’ and ‘‘primagenesis’’, and argue that DST can account for de-coupled, offline cognitive activity with no need of positing representational resources. Conclusions and directions for future research will follow.

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